Chocolate From The Land Of Fjords?

03 Jan

What’s the first thing you think of when someone mentions Iceland?

Ice, snow and cold? The reality: the climate is warmed by the Gulf Stream and is quite temperate. But it has it’s share of magnificent fjords, glaciers and permanently snow-capped mountains.

Large expanses of empty land? True to a great extent; 320,000 people living in 40,000 square miles make it the most sparsely populated country in Europe. And yes, Iceland is part of Europe, not the Arctic.

A tongue-twisting language with a lot of accents, umlauts and consonants? Well, Icelandic is a Germanic language, descended from Old Norse and Norwegian dialects.

But would you think about chocolate?

Nói Síríus thinks you should. The company (, established in 1920, is the largest confectioner in Iceland, with 130 employees and a 30% total confectionery market share in that country. Most of their output involves sweets, such as the chocolate bars I found in one local shop (my Fresh Market store), chocolate-covered raisins, licorice, Easter eggs and jellied sweets, but they also import and distribute other products such as breakfast cereals.

If you’re concerned as I was about product quality, given the travel distance, don’t worry. I bought the four bars that were available: plain bars in the following percentages: 33%, 45%, 60% and 70%. The first surprise was opening the packages (For this tasting, I tried the 33% and 70%). Each package had two-150 gram (5.3 ounce) bars, which was a bonus for the price of $8 I paid for each package. Another bonus is the recipe printed on the outside of each package, in case you find you cannot simply eat all the contents.

The 33% should have been the lightest and creamiest, and indeed it was. Very smooth, slightly buttery and not very sweet, and sugar is listed as the first ingredient. It is a milk chocolate for adults, and it won’t send you running for a big glass of water afterwards. The 70% was slightly bitter with a slightly wood finish, but it’d definitely the kind of chocolate you’ll go back to.

The English-language version of the website is good when it comes to explaining what the company is about, but the product description is a little thin. There are online and brick-and-mortar sources, listed on the company’s website, where you can get Nói Síríus bars. Note that Whole Foods is listed as a source, but I have not encountered the product there. The Fresh Market ( is where I found my bars.And there is only one importer in the U.S., located in California (Nu-Breath Incorporated, 1-800-365-2177).

Sometimes, you get your chocolate wherever you can. Other times, you find it in the most unlikely places. Either way, it can be a good deal and great eating, along with some history. Pakka pér (thank you) Nói Síríus.

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Posted by on January 3, 2013 in Uncategorized


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