But I had the next best thing: an invitation to a Milka chocolate factory.
My sister's got a really lucky hand when it comes to giveaways and this time she won a family trip to Bludenz for their annual chocolate festival plus an exclusive tour of the factory.
Milka - being awesome - decided that, even though they'd meant "two adults and their kids", 4 adults would be okay as well.
They also paid for us to get there, which in this case was by plane to Innsbruck and then on to Bludenz by train ... and the last bit by shuttle bus driven by a guy with apparently places to be.
We stayed at Hotel Traube Braz, which had nice big rooms with a lovely view (which you didn't even have to get out of the bed for.)
Waiting for us were some grab-bags filled with lots and lots of Milka goodness.
This much Milka goodness to be exact:
We had some welcome drinks (my mum got some special Hugo-like drink from the region, I forgot the name but it had a really nice colour) before wandering off to find one of the waterfalls we'd spotted from our balcony. On our way I think we passed a Hobbit's house.
In the evening we were invited to a 5-course dinner. The pictures for the first and last course don't quite match what it says on the menu, but they were fine with us changing stuff around.
Day two started with our tour of the factory. I thought you could actually book tours like that for special occasions, but apparently they don't do this anymore, which made our visit even more special.
First we had a quick intro about Milka and the factory we were at, and then came to the fun part: safety. For our (and the chocolate quality's) safety we had to don a special outfit consisting of closed and skid proofed shoes, a lab coat, a hair net (which in its unopened form looked somewhat like a garter .. which had me wondering for a moment), a beard net if needed, and ear plugs.
Next we came to a table were the ingredients plus various stages of chocolate were shown and could be tasted. Last in line was a chocolate fountain with biscuits, my favourite part here were the as-used-in-chocolate-bars Oreos.
After that we unfortunately (but not unexpectedly) were not allowed to take pictures, which is a pity because they have so much nice stuff in there. You'd think the most interesting part of a chocolate factory is the chocolate, but I loved the various machines and robots. (Yes, I also loved the chocolates we got to try, but still.)
We got to see two different production lines: one for filled 300g chocolate bars, and one for solid 300g bars.
The tour ended with us getting € 20,- to spend at the Lädele (their factory outlet shop) which also had a short History of Milka Walk-through in the back.
After that we were led through the chocolate festival to the VIP area.
I thought we were there for drinks, but it was much better:
Obviously there were drinks too (with it being summer and somewhere around 36°C) and they got refilled as soon as the glass was empty. They also had a buffet. But still, the best part were the lovely ladies with the chocolate.
Apparently, if we'd left later than we did, we would have gotten another goody bag. Because you can never have too much chocolate.
But we left pretty early, on account of it being way too hot. I spent the next hour being dead in our room, and the rest of the afternoon playing pool billiard with dad.
On the third day we tried to divide the chocolate as best we could between our bags (thinking maybe it was a good thing we didn't get those extra goody bags) and at about noon started our journey home.
Thanks Milka, that was fun :)