I have to leave it to the junior reviewer of the family, Mr 8. Half-way through the visit, his face covered in chocolate, he turned to me and with a huge grin said: "this place is AWESOME."
I can't say that he took in much of the movie about choosing the best cacao beans for the fair trade label, spoon in hand, he was simply too excited to start what was, for him the main event - the many different stages of tasting.
Beginning with cacao beans - passing to the unsweetened cocoamass and visiting all Mr Zotter's wonderful inventions from couverture with different cacao content, for cooking, to balls of flavour explosion and drinking chocolate - you are in chocolate heaven for the entire adventure. You can taste many of the samples more than once, but a word to the wise, stick with what you know you will like, the greedier of us left feeling more than a little queasy.
We were glad to have left visiting the "edible zoo" until after our tour, it gave us a chance to wander around this beautiful pastureland and gardens and feel a bit more normal after the excitement of the chocolate factory. The kids were also thrilled to enjoy some of the activities there - including the giant slide and the balancing wires. The music coming up from the valley was also a lovely touch, especially sitting in the evening sun, to the smell of the old-fashioned roses.
The introduction is in German as is the introductory film, but you can ask the presenter for headphones in other languages including English, Czech and French. The audioguides also come in many different languages. Although the other guests were largely German-speaking. most of the staff speak English, one lovely guy speaks French (among other languages!).
We booked tickets for a specific time in the afternoon, but were running very late. This was not a problem, we were simply put on the tour available when we arrived.
Wear comfortable shoes as you are on your feet a lot. Parking could be a little tricky, too. I would have liked to come away with my tasting spoon at the end of the tour, it's not cheap, so a memento would have been good but otherwise, a truly perfect day.
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