Images: island*atelier
Wonka could never have imagined a place such as this.

Like wonderland for chocolate and art lovers is the Zotter production facility in Riegersburg, Austria.  Opened in 2007, the state-of-the-art facility is one of the few European chocolate factories to process its cocoa directly.  Housed in a beautifully designed, light-filled modern structure, the Choco Shop Theatre allows visitors to immerse themselves in the world of chocolate, starting with an introduction to the origins of Zotter's organic and fair trade chocolate and continuing with the manufacturing process.  The tour is far from ordinary.  As you wander along the paths of glass and art, there are numerous tasting stations at which you can sample the goods being produced in their various stages and try never-ending morsels to help you choose your favourites.  From bitter, unrefined beans to limitless dark, milk and white chocolate fountains and bars of fruit, nut and other exotic flavours, half way along the tour you stop at a glass-walled bar to sample the drinking chocolate of your choice plucked off of miniature airborne conveyances. 

The fun doesn't end with the tour: the facility is located in parkland  complete with meandering river and includes a petting zoo, play area and farmers' golf.  Eat at either an outdoor cafe serviced by a gleaming silver Airstream trailer or the restaurant clad in warm wood, both of which have gorgeous views over the park and the main building.  



Images: island*atelier

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