Wednesday, September 17, 2014

In the chocolate world of Fazer

On September 17th, the sweet lovers are celebrating the anniversary of the opening of the first Fazer confectionery (1891) in downtown Helsinki. Karl Fazer, which his parents moved from Switzerland to Finland, studies baking in Berlin, Saint-Petersburg and Paris and became a pioneer in Finnish confectionery. Most of his products are still sold and are classics. Fazer Blue (milk chocolate) is the most emblematic chocolate of the assortment. But the oldest candy is the Fazer Pihlaja, a sugary berry-marmalade jelly candy. Finns love Fazer products. When asked about their favorite chocolate, they answer almost unanimously Fazer Sininen.

Fazer factory is far to look like the factory of Willy Wonka

What about visiting the chocolate factory? It is a child dream for many of us. It reminds also the story of "Charlie and the chocolate factory". Is the Fazer factory so colorful? Luckily, the Fazer factory is organizing guided tours for groups all year round. The factory is located in Vantaa, in the middle of nowhere at 40 minutes from Helsinki city center. The place is not very impressive. It is a group of concreate blocks from the post-war period. Outside, the smell of freshly baked bread is mouth watering. The main hall looks like the reception of an old hotel, in yellowish marble. A friendly lady is introducing the factory and tells more about the program of the one and a half hour visit.

In a cinema room with design seats, a short film tells about the history of the company and its innovations. Back in the old times, people had to be well dressed to enter the Fazer confectionery. Then, the visit continous along a long corridor with an exhibition about the origin of the products, how bread and chocolates are made. 

At the end, every sweet lover can enjoy an all-you-can-eat chocolate and candy buffet... without water. And of course, you cannot take anything with you. How much chocolate can you eat? When AmazingFinland visited the factory, people from Asia only ate a few sweets. Southern Europeans stayed a bit longer, then Northern Europeans. Only Austrians, Germans and Swiss people stayed to the end. Interesting cultural differences. 

Once the visit is over, every visitor gets a bag full of delicacies: newest candies and chocolate, bread and lollipops. And before leaving, a visit in the shop is almost mendatory. There, the chocolate and sweets are a bit cheaper that in the shops. Also when a new product is lauched, it is first sold in the factory shop.

Fazer gift bag

Unfortunately, it is not possible anymore to visit the production lines due to security reasons. 

If you wish to visit the factory, find 10 to 50 friends and book your tour by phone. As each year over 50.000 people are visiting the factory, book your tour a lot in advance (3 to 6 months). Tours are organized in Finnish, Swedish, English and Russian. Visits are free of charge!

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