The oldest chocolate manufacturer in Portugal was founded in 1914 in Viana do Castelo by José Lima, a local entrepreneur. A few years later, in 1922, the chocolate factory moved to its brand new premises specifically built for this purpose, a building at Rua do Gontim, near the beautifully well-kept historical centre of the city.
This building represents, to this day, a fine example of the modernist (art deco) architecture of José Fernandes Martins (1866-1945). The factory stopped its production in 2004, when the company was sold to a new owner, and it moved to larger premises in a neighbouring town (Barcelos).
The building was left vacant since then until it was acquired with the ambition to be renovated and converted into a tourism-related project: a chocolate themed Hotel, Restaurant and Museum.
"When passing the street, a sweet and delicious aroma could be smelt all over the place!"
Since the beginning of the construction works and the project opening, we have had the pleasure of being visited by many interested and emotive "friends" of the previously existing chocolate factory.
Some of these visitors had worked in the factory and others still leave nearby. They still remember, with impressive precision, what existed before and they recall the chocolates they used to buy for special family moments, such as the decoration of the Christmas tree.
Having the opportunity to listen to and share these memories, which are part of the collective memories of this community, has been a very enriching and inspiring experience to all of us who work in the 'Fábrica do Chocolate' - Hotel, Restaurant and Museum. Do not forget to come and share your memories with us!
The vision which oriented the project began with the conviction that this building, almost centenary, deserved to play a most important role within the urban organization: it should be an entertaining, educational and touristic venue which would aim to preserve the memory of chocolate in the local community, as well as contributing to the growth of inbound tourism, by offering unique chocolate themed experiences in the northern region and in the whole of the country.
The construction work of the 'Fábrica do Chocolate' and the incorporation of the previous building's facade into an emerging modern building were followed by the photographer Pako Guerrero. As a result, we can now see the gradual evolution of the entire process from three different perspectives.
Read here the testimony of the Architects
The objective of 'Fábrica do Chocolate' is to work as a dynamic educational facility, offering our customers complete and immersive tasting, learning and entertaining experiences. As we are a chocolate themed tourism project, and not a chocolate manufacturer, partnerships with renowned national and international brands
have been established to create and enrich these experiences.
More partnerships with international brands are being established, and information will be provided soon.
'Fábrica do Chocolate' is guided by a policy of quality, environment, safety and social responsibility.