The Untold Truth Of Omnom Chocolate

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There are a lot of things you might not know about chocolate and chocolate brands. You might have noticed a new brand cropping up on store shelves: Omnom Chocolate. With a name like that, you can't help but wonder what this premier chocolate brand is all about. Founded by two friends in the heart of Iceland in Reykjavik, this chocolate brand has a tale unlike any other. Iceland is a unique place to create chocolate, and Omnom takes advantage of this. Its factory runs on Icelandic geothermal power, and the brand uses locally-sourced ingredients in its chocolate bars. 

From winning numerous chocolate awards and having an ice cream shop to being featured on Netflix (with Zac Efron, no less!), read on to learn more about Omnom Chocolate — and why perhaps you might want to pick up a bar of this chocolate to nom on. Omnom Chocolate is a unique gift for friends, family, relatives, and colleagues — and a perfect way to treat yourself!

Omnom Chocolate is a premier chocolate brand made in Iceland

Per Guide to Iceland, the land of fire and ice is known for many things, including beautiful waterfalls, the aurora borealis, puffin sightings, glaciers, geysers, and black sand beaches. But would you expect to find premier chocolate in this Nordic island nation? Omnom Chocolate, launched in Reykjavik in 2013, is a premier "bean-to-bar" chocolate created by chef Kjartan Gíslason and entrepreneur Óskar Þórðarson (via Forbes). 

But what does "bean-to-bar" mean? According to the company's website, the single-origin cocoa beans are from three countries: Madagascar, Nicaragua, and Tanzania. Omnom also uses organic sugar cane and Icelandic milk powder. Omnom Chocolate has an admirable mission to incorporate excellent ingredients in order to create the best chocolate. This sounds good to us! The environmental and social impact of chocolate-making is also important to Omnom Chocolate, so they also try to purchase ingredients through direct trade. 

They use cacao beans sourced from around the world

Omnom Chocolate has a distinct way of sourcing cacao beans. According to their website, their goal is to highlight the difference between cacao beans grown in different regions. Currently, the company buys beans from three sources: Madagascar, Tanzania, and Nicaragua. Omnom Chocolate first fell in love with Bertil Akesson's Madagascar beans. Bertil Akesson farms cacao beans on his own land in Madagascar, and the makers Omnom Chocolate used these beans as samples when they were first developing their products. The flavor combination in these beans is special, as Bertil's beans incorporate intense fruit and a good amount of acidity. That flavor combination is highly praised by the chocolate community. 

Omnom Chocolate buys their Madagascan beans from selected plots of Bertil Akesson's estate farm, which is located in the country's Sambirano valley. The beans gain their distinct flavor through a fermentation and drying process. This intricate procedure creates a flavor that has allowed a few bars of Omnom Chocolate to earn 28 international chocolate awards. That's quite an achievement! Although they started with Madagascar, Omnom Chocolate kept exploring other parts of the world with flavor and high-quality ingredients in mind.

They've won many, many chocolate awards

When you think of chocolate, you may think of Switzerland, Belgium, Italy, Ecuador, and the United Kingdom. Omnom is proving that Iceland can make chocolate just as well as those countries. The International Chocolate Awards (yes, there is such a thing!) hosts a World Final, and in 2018, Omnom Chocolate won awards in many categories. Most notably, Omnom Chocolate won gold in the "Best of competition: Plain/origin" milk bar category for their Milk of Nicaragua chocolate bar, along with placing gold, silver, and bronze in multiple other categories.

Sometimes, a product is so good that it can't help but win all of the awards, right? That's what it's like with Omnom Chocolate. For Icelanders, it's really no surprise that Omnom Chocolate has won so many accolades for its delightful chocolate. Hannah Jane Cohen wrote on The Reykjavik Grapevine that the artisanal chocolate brand "has taken the sugary heart of Iceland by storm," and we can definitely see why. It's clear that Omnom Chocolate is definitely one to try if you haven't already.

Omnom Chocolate has unique, exciting flavors like Lakkrís + Raspberry

If you're a fan of chocolate, then you probably have a favorite flavor of chocolate too, right? From milk chocolate with caramel and sea salt to dark chocolate with hazelnuts, there seems to be a chocolate flavor for every kind of chocolate lover. Omnom Chocolate has a variety of flavors that are certain to entertain your tastebuds, like Lakkrís + Raspberry, a fruity white chocolate bar spiked with licorice root.

Before you buy, make sure you know what you're getting into in terms of flavor. Amazon reviewer E. Miller says of the unique chocolate bar, "I personally LOVE Omnom's Lakkrís + Raspberry offering — the base is white chocolate (not overly sweetened), with a strong raspberry flavor and notes of anise. However, I can see why some people don't care for it — the flavors are unexpected, and because the base is white chocolate rather than milk or dark chocolate, there is no discernible chocolate flavor. For those expecting a traditional chocolate and raspberry bar, be warned – this isn't it! However, if you like deep raspberry flavors paired with hints of licorice, this is a wonderful treat." There you have it. If you're feeling a bit bold and looking for a new chocolatey flavor, this might be one for your consideration.

Omnom Chocolate has been featured in Zac Efron's Netflix show

Traveling around the world, meeting new people, and eating culinary perfection along the way sounds like our kind of a dream. That's exactly what Zac Efron did in the Iceland episode of his Netflix TV show, "Down to Earth with Zac Efron," where he actually visited Omnom Chocolate and tried a few bars himself (via Inverse). The result? A new fan (of Omnom, but okay, we're fans of Zac Efron, too) and a huge boost in sales for Omnom Chocolate. 

Omnom Chocolate's co-founder Kjartan Gíslason told Inverse that Zac Efron and Darin Olien, a wellness guru, visited the Omnom Chocolate factory in 2018 for a segment that would premiere the following year in 2019. After no updates, Gíslason explains how everything changed in 2020. "We heavily rely on tourism in the summer months and so we had to figure out a way to make it through. Sales were down, tourism was cut completely, and the world stood still. Until early July, when our marketing manager, Hanna, got an email that the Netflix series was set to launch in three days' time." The day the episode dropped, Omnom sales surged 30,000 percent. It's incredible how one TV episode can change the trajectory of a company!

There are excellent scary book and chocolate pairings

A lot of things go great in pairs. Peanut butter and jelly, spaghetti and meatballs, and butter and popcorn are all classic duos. We've even heard of red Zinfandel and Hershey's chocolate being paired together, but scary books and chocolate? That's a new one for us. Omnom Chocolate reached out to Icelandic writer of fiction Johann Thorsson for some scary good chocolate and book pairings for the Halloween season (although let's be real, we can read scary books and eat chocolate at any time of the year) and the selection does not disappoint. 

If you're interested in reading a spooky book with a bit of chocolatey comfort, Thorsson recommends reading Stephen Graham Jones's "My Heart is a Chainsaw" with Coffee + Milk, Laura Lippman's "Dream Girl" with Sea Salted Almonds, and Cynthia Pelayo's "Children of Chicago" with Lakkris + Sea Salt. There are a few more pairings on Omnom Chocolate's site if you're interested in more! If you decide to do this, let us know how it goes.

The Black n' Burnt Barley flavor was originally white chocolate

Accidental discoveries can be beautiful things. Penicillin, Post-It Notes, and pacemakers were all happy accidents (via Business Insider). To add to this list of beautiful discoveries, Omnom Chocolate has transformed the humble white chocolate bar. Kjartan Gíslason, chocolate maker and Omnom Chocolate founder, explains on Omnom Chocolate's website that they took the white chocolate bar and turned it into the Omnom black chocolate bar. But how did this happen? Everything from the recipe to packaging was ready, but then the unexpected twist of fate happened: a new ingredient. Yes, the simple beginning of "white chocolate with malt and crunchy cocoa nibs" as Gíslason explained, changed into something new thanks to visiting friends from Ölvisholt who left behind the most unusual of ingredients: toasted, almost burnt, barley. 

Gíslason added the barley to the mix, and the distinct flavor was "wonderfully toasted, grainy, almost coffee-like; the flavor reminded us of burned toast." Of course, overnight success doesn't actually happen overnight. It takes time to find the right balance of chocolate and flavor, time and patience. Gíslason's experiments with this new toasted barley flavor took months and months of experimentation until finally, an entire year passed and the original white chocolate bar morphed into a black chocolate bar. They say that patience is a virtue, and with chocolate, that patience can be well-rewarded.

There's an ice cream shop next to the chocolate factory

There's something special about chocolate and ice cream paired together. Thankfully, Omnom Chocolate got that memo loud and clear. In September 2020, Omnom Chocolate opened an ice cream parlor in their chocolate shop in Reykjavik, Iceland (via Forbes). According to Omnom Chocolate's website, the shop sells unique ice cream desserts that are definitely made with the same passion and zeal as Omnom's chocolate bars. 

You probably won't be surprised to know that everything from the ice cream blends to the toppings is all made from scratch. There are a variety of unique flavor combinations. In November 2021, they released "The Sarah" Ice cream. According to their website, this delightful ice cream combination incorporates Madagascar vanilla cream that gets dipped in coffee chocolate and topped with mandarin chocolate sauce. To add a bit of extravagance to this dessert, there's also a hazelnut crumble. They have a variety of specials shared on their social media platforms, and they're generally open from 1 pm to 10 pm, so if you're in Iceland, head on over and let us know what you get.

The factory runs on Icelandic geothermal power

Iceland is filled with numerous volcanoes. You may know this fact because of the eruptions of Eyjafjallajökull in 2010, which caused thousands of flights to be canceled in Europe and even more people to be stranded (via NPR). This volcanic eruption also caused a media sensation because many U.S. reporters had a difficult time pronouncing the volcano's name. We can't blame them — can you say Eyjafjallajökull without looking it up? Regardless, Iceland and volcanoes go hand in hand. So it makes sense that according to Omnom Chocolate's blog, their handmade chocolates are designed in Iceland in a facility that is run by volcanic, or geothermal, power. 

If that wasn't fascinating enough, this has cultural significance, too. Icelanders have been living on the island for hundreds of years, and locals have lived alongside volcanic activity for just as long. As we've explained already, the flavors at Omnom Chocolate are really unique, and that's in part due to the company being located in Iceland. Of course, Omnom Chocolate embraces the perspective that anything is possible in their home country. Making chocolate by using Icelandic geothermal power is just another way to honor the country's unique quirks.

Omnom Chocolate makes 2500 hand-wrapped chocolate bars every day

There are plenty of things that are commonly handmade, from knitted clothing to jewelry to soaps. But have you ever heard of a hand-wrapped bar of chocolate?  "We make 2500 bars of chocolate here each day. Each is wrapped individually by hand," Omnom Chocolate factory tour guide Kyle Clunies-Ross tells The Reykjavik Grapevine. Think of all the gifts you've wrapped over the years for the holidays, a friend's birthday, or even as an anniversary gift. That number probably doesn't even come close to what Omnom's workers wrap per day.

Not only are these bars all wrapped by hand, but each bar has a unique design aesthetic. According to Omnom Chocolate's website, the aesthetic is funky and eclectic, and inspired by, among other things, "fantastical creatures" and "contemporary Nordic architectural design." If you've ever unwrapped one of these handmade bars and looked at how the chocolate is designed, you will have noticed that these bars don't come in squares like most standard bars but in shards in a variety of geometric shapes. These bars are sure to appeal to both your sense of taste and your sense of style!

Omnom Chocolate is perfect as a gift

Some people are really hard to buy gifts for. There are many food gifts to give to the foodie in your life, like a movie night snack pack, fancy olive oil, or organic saffron, but have you considered gourmet chocolate? Fortunately for you, Omnom Chocolate really comes through during festive times of the year and during the cold winter months when chocolate is the perfect pick-me-up. 

Their winter collection for 2021 includes three delicious chocolate bars: Dark Nibs and Raspberry, Milk and Cookies, and Spiced White and Caramel. Those three chocolate bars sound like a delight to us, and hopefully will appeal to even the most discerning palate. Iceland has lovely holiday traditions, so it makes sense that the winter collection is inspired by the festive times on the island. According to Omnom Chocolate, Icelanders find comfort during the freezing Nordic winter under a comfy blanket at home. Chocolate to warm us up under a cozy blanket? Sounds good to us.