Schokolade und Wein

Trip Start Sep 07, 2011
Trip End Jul 18, 2012

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What I did
Chocolate Factory and Wine Tasting.

Flag of Austria  , Styria,
Monday, October 10, 2011

This weekend I went on a trip with the international student group to the Styria state of Austria. Friday and Saturday was spent in the town of Steiermark and Sunday we went to Graz. I'm writing two different blogs for Steiermark and Graz so I can pinpoint them separately on the map, but it was all in the same trip/weekend.

Friday afternoon we left Linz towards Steiermark and arrived at our first destination around 5:30. It took a little longer to get there because we stopped in Graz to pick up the exchange students from the school there to join us. We didn't have very many people sign up for this trip at our school so I think that's why we converged with another school group.

That evening we toured the Zotter Chocolate Factory. It's supposed to be the best chocolate in Austria. It was fabulous, but I have to say I think ALL chocolate in Austria is incredible! As soon as we walked in we were given a cute little spoon to taste test the chocolate. I should have taken a picture of it but I didn't! We started the tour with a video of where the cocoa beans come from (South America) and the production, etc. It was all in German so I didn't really get a lot from it. Some of it was in Spanish (In the South American portion of the video) so my Spanish friend who was sitting by me translated some of it. :)

After the introduction video we began the tour. There were all kinds of chocolates. The beginning of the factory began with the beans, and the plain chocolate without any sugar or good stuff added so it was really bitter, but as we continued throughout the factory it got better and better. There were chocolate fountains, bars, pieces or bars, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, fruity chocolate, and pretty much any kind of chocolate you could think of! It was heaven. There was even chocolate with things you would never think of added to it. Since all the labels were in German I just picked one to try. It was all chocolate so nothing could be that bad... I wasn't too worried. One time I picked one and my Austrian friend who was with me just kinda looked at me and he said, "Tell me how that one is....". So I tried it, and it didn't taste bad. It was definitely different, but not bad. Afterward he told me that bacon and grapes were in it! Such strange ingredients to put in chocolate but it wasn't a real strong taste. After he told me what was in it though I could kind of taste it. Still good though, still chocolate.

One part of the tour included a room with different types of chocolate bars hooked to a moving rope going around the room. This place was really cool! But in this room there was a milk bar where you could get a glass of hot milk and then you choose a chocolate bar from the floating rope to put in the milk and mix it up. This was SO good!! Definitely the best part of the whole tour. Some people were having multiple glasses because it was so good, but at this point I had had so much already it was just too rich and too much to have another.

The last room in the tour had these things called "balloons" you could try. I don't really know what they were, but I didn't care for them much. They didn't taste like chocolate. The very first one I tried definitely had some kind of hot chili peppers in them! My mouth caught on fire and I frantically searched for another to get the taste out! The next one I had wasn't all that great either, but at least it wasn't burning my mouth. After that I left that room and didn't try anymore of those things!

That completed the tour and we ended in the shop of the factory where you could buy all kinds of treats to take home with you. I had had enough chocolate by then so I didn't buy anything, and it was pretty expensive.

After the factory we went to our hostel to unpack our stuff and have dinner. We had bread and wieners (hot dogs, basically). I was starving, but they tasted really weird though. It kind of made me sick feeling later too. Some people stayed up that night, but we had to get up early the following morning and didn't feel too well so I went to bed.

The next morning we had breakfast at 8am of bread, meat, and cheese. There was a little marmalade too that you could have with your bread. I also had a cup of juice and a cup of coffee. After breakfast we departed to our first destination called, "Genussregal". It's a venue that holds Austria's delicacies and specialties including oils, honeys, jams, and wines. It was a different place, but it was neat. We had a tour guide, but there were so many people we all just kind of went our own way.

After this we went to lunch at a typical Austrian restaurant in the area. On the way we stopped on the side of the road several times to take pictures of the vineyards. The Styria part of Austria is known for their wine and is why there are so many grapes in the area.

At lunch we had bread with the typical platter filled with different kinds of meats (salami, turkey, ham, and I don't even know what else), cheese, eggs, and a couple different 'sauces'. They aren't really sauces but I don't know what to call them. For dessert I had Apfelstrudel, another typical Austrian food.

After lunch we went to our next wine tasting venue. It was so pretty here! The building was very modern looking with all glass windows for walls overlooking all the vineyards. Beautiful! I felt very classy :) We would be served a glass of wine and then the man would give a little information about the wine we were tasting. I liked the first few wines, but after a while I started to get a little tired of wine so I let my friend have mine. The red wine at the end was really strong too, so I had one sip to try it and then was done. But it was really cool!

After the wine tasting we then went to the wine festival in town. Here we had free time to do as we'd like so first off a group of us went to a restaurant for dinner. I had Cordon Bleu mit Pommes (with fries)... Another typical meal. I had iced tea too which tasted great considering I hadn't had it since I've been here!

After dinner we just wondered around the festival. There were little booths set up by locals selling different things like jewelry, gloves, and all kinds of stuff. I again didn't buy anything though. Later that evening a band came on the stage set up in the middle of the festival. It was funny because some of the songs were American songs that we recognized, but the words were in German. The band wasn't all that great, but it was entertaining. We were supposed to stay pretty late at the festival, but we all decided to leave earlier because we were tired and it was really cold. It was probably in the upper 30s.

After we got back to the hostel I stayed up a little longer this time, but was still tired and knew we would have to get up early again the next morning to go to Graz so I went to bed pretty early.

The next day we went to Graz which is in my next entry....
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