Posted by Kanga. Please do not reblog.
We left the apartment at about 11 am on Saturday to travel by metro and foot to the Zotter Chocolate Factory. This is the best time to travel by metro. Not crowded at all.
From the metro stop we walked through an industrial/residential neighborhood. We saw lots and lots of laundry hanging everywhere. Some was on the sidewalks and looked more like it was for sale, except that is was usually one pair of panties, a bra, one shirt, and one pair of pants as if someone had just washed what they wore yesterday and hung it out to dry.
We passed the Shanghai Fashion Centre not realizing that this is where we needed to enter. The chocolate factory is at the back of this complex, near the river.
We reached this street and Google maps was telling us that the factory was down this street. DaddyBird double checked and we headed back to the proper entrance.
We found the factory and paid our entrance fee (180 yuan, $30 USD, 107 AED) each. The young woman at the counter was caucasian and spoke English. Later we found that she is the daughter of the factory owners. The tour starts with a short film about how the company started, and where they get their organic, free trade cocoa beans. Then it is on to tasting. The above picture is the roasted cocoa beans. Not bad even though they are bitter and have not been sweetened. Unfortunately, they did not sell bags of these in the store.
There were many forms of chocolate to taste. They give you a little ceramic spoon to do the tasting with and you can keep it as a souvenir. Our tour group consisted of our guide and just one other couple, so we got the real personal touch. A bigger group, consisting of several families caught up to us by the end and spoiled the relaxing atmosphere we had enjoyed for most of the tour.
We purchased a LOT of chocolate bars. Apparently, when you purchase over 1000 yuan of chocolate, you get a free insulated bag and two ice packs. Real customer service.
With our bag of chocolate in hand, we were off to find some very late lunch. We had passed a restaurant just around the corner that looked very good, but when we got there, it was clearly shut down for the afternoon. It was 3 pm, after all. We kept walking toward the nearest metro station until we found a restaurant that seemed to be open and serving. It was a hot pot restaurant. However, the menu was all in Chinese, there were no pictures to point to, and the waitress didn’t speak English any more than we speak Chinese.
DaddyBird attempted to use a translation app on his phone, but some of the translations were amusing and irrelevant. We figured out what to mark for a not spicy broth. We marked the items that said “garlic” and “chicken.” We marked three other items, one of which was something about “without stems” which we deduced was probably mushrooms. AND we took our chances. DaddyBird asked for shui (shway) meaning drinking water, but what she brought was a carafe of hot water, so he ordered two beers so that we would have something we could drink.
We ended up with two pots of food. The first was apparently what had been labeled “garlic” on the menu. It had meat, potatoes, garlic, and onions. Very tasty. The second pot contained chicken and, on closer examination, bullfrog. Yes, we ate the bullfrog. Not bad. Tender meat with light flavor. We also received mushrooms, an egg, and noodles. It was an interesting adventure and very tasty.
We paid 110 yuan ($18 USD, 66 AED) including the two large beers. DaddyBird tried to tip, but she insisted that we take that back.
To see all the pictures, click here.