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Chocolate Heaven – Three Reasons to Visit the Fazer Experience Visitor Centre

21.8.2018 Text: Henry Loveless Photos: Fazer
Fazer Visitor Centre (c) Valtteri Kantanen

In terms of famous Finnish icons, Fazer is as beloved as Moomins, Sibelius and Sauna. Whilst in Finland, you’ll probably see some of their cafes, and almost certainly taste their bread and chocolate, but in the northeast of Helsinki is Fazer’s recently built visitor centre. So, here are three reasons that you should make some time to visit the Fazer Experience Visitor Centre.

1. The delightful and accessible new building

It’s easy to arrive by public transport, just take the metro to Mellunmäki then one of the buses on the south side of the station with the destination Fazerila. After just a few stops, you’ll see the neat gardens with barley, oats, wheat and other crops typically used in the bakery, you’ll probably also see the robot lawn mowers busying away and, of course, you’ll also get the first sniff of the sweet chocolaty aroma.

Inside, the circular building is spacious and light and it’s all built on one level so there’s great access for wheelchairs and buggies. Round to the right is the excellent art deco style restaurant which serves a great lunch, worth it just for the fresh Fazer bread and coffee alone. It also has an agonisingly wide selection of delicious looking pastries.

2. The Tour

Since visiting the factory itself is no longer a practicality, the visitor centre offers a comprehensive and informative guided tour of the history and culture of chocolate, as well as a virtual tour of the modern and sustainable Fazer factory of today. First, there’s a walk through the humid tropical greenhouse where examples of the ingredients used in the Fazer products are grown. Then the guide explains the history of the Fazer family. There are also some interactive activities including a wish tree and a robot that helps you plan a healthy diet. There’s a fascinating collection of old packaging and products, as well as videos, scale models and VR headsets which show the workings of the various factories, you can even practice plaiting the bread dough. All the activities are very hands-on and perfect for children. 

3. The Chocolate

Of course, the main reason to visit a chocolate factory is to eat chocolate, lots of it. And although you’ll have to wait until the end of the tour, there is chocolate everywhere you from the moment you arrive; after all, 100 tons of chocolate is produced here every day. Chocolate is all around you. From the delicious smells drifting from the factories next door and the spinning chocolate cityscape, to the giant bunny made from the famous Fazer Easter eggs.

At the end of the tour your patience is rewarded with bowls full of all of the different Fazer chocolates and biscuits. And of course giant tubes full of chocolates, perfect for taking a selfie. Once you’ve tasted everything there’s just the small matter of navigating the huge gift shop, walls full of every Fazer product; chocolate bars, sweets, biscuits and breads, it’s a dizzying array. Remember also, as you’re leaving the shop, to pick up your goody bag full of, you guessed it, more chocolate.

So, if you’re in Helsinki, at any time of year, The Fazer Experience is a well-designed, fun visitors’ centre. Especially suitable for children and families. An informative guided tour with a great restaurant and shop and enough chocolate to last until your next visit.

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