Friday, June 26, 2015

More Chocolate Fun…

My name is Anne, and I’m a chocoholic.  I embrace any opportunity to see, smell, make, or especially eat chocolate.

Now that school is out for summer, I have a little more time to explore some places that I’ve been meaning to visit.  My first field trip of the summer was to a place where I could satisfy my sweet tooth… the Zotter Chocolate Theater.

At the theater, I was able to see (and taste) how this Austrian chocolate company makes their goodies from bean to bar. 

When I first entered the theater I was warned that if I tried to pull a stunt like the founder on the wall, I would be forced to walk on the bund without cleaning my head.  According to Julia, the founder's daughter, everyone would attack me because I would look tasty. :)
The first part of the tour included a video which included info about the Zotter family, and a virtual trip to Nicaragua to see how the cocoa beans are grown.  The film also taught us the proper way to eat chocolate.  Tasters are supposed to let the chocolate melt then take a sip of air to experience all of the nodes in the candy.
After the movie Jack, a student at the British International School, took me on a tour of the plant.   The day I toured the plant, multiple students from different international schools were completing work study programs at the plant.

The tour started with a taste of a bitter cocoa bean.

Then I tried some of the processed beans.
The unsweetened chocolate syrup was extremely bitter...

...but I was able to sweeten it with a variety of sugars.
Zotter's vegan non dairy chocolate was surprisingly yummy.
I was ready to start tasting the more traditional chocolates when Jack encouraged me to taste a passion fruit lightbulb.  Apparently they will give you good ideas when you eat them.
After I nibbled on a lightbulb, I had a wonderful time smelling and guessing different ingredients the company uses in their chocolate.
I was quite excited to taste more chocolate, and make a take home treat in the mixing room!

First I selected my mold.

Then I chose a milk chocolate and caramel flavored liquid for the base of my cow.
Then I sampled and selected some goodies to add to my masterpiece.
When I finished decorating my chocolate with strawberry eyes, a passionfruit nose, and coconut fur I continued on with the tour.
After creating my candy, it was time for some serious tasting.  Chocolate dispensers lined the staircases and walls.  I was overwhelmed with the number of samples.
The crispy caramel chocolate was one of my favorites.

I was also a plan of the White Goddess.
There were signs all around the tasting room reminding us to savor the chocolate.  
After three or four samples, I was starting to get a little overwhelmed.
After sampling rounds of chocolate, it was time for a chocolate milk break.   Zotter sells chocolate bars that are specially designed for melting in warm milk.  At this point, I was starting to vibrate from the amount of chocolate I consumed.
I continued to feed my chocolate high with a trip to the amaretto nougat machine.  Zotter sells this treat in medicine syringes.  So yummy!!!
After the nougat, it was time to taste chocolate covered goodies.  The sour cherries were delicious.
Some restaurants have a sushi conveyor belts.  Zotter has a candy bar conveyor belt. 
By this time, I was one step away from hallucinating chocolate bunnies.  However, I had to try  a couple of Zotter's candy bars.  The Happy Birthday bar was DIVINE!
In case you don't eat enough chocolate on the tour, they have a gift shop with many go their products at the end.  The prices are high, but the product is good.
The tour was a lot of fun, but there are some things to consider before taking the tour.  While you eat a lot of chocolate, the tour is pricey.  (The tour costs 180 RMB per Adult plus 55 RMB for the mi-Xing-bar.)  Also, you may want to want to avoid all sweets before the tour, and plan to eat a salty meal when you wake from your post tour chocolate coma.  The tour has hundreds of combinations of chocolates and other goodies, so it is vital to take your time and PACE YOURSELF when tasting.

Have a great time in chocolate paradise!

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