Across the stunning island of Iceland you’re bound to spy four things: glaciers, volcanos, waterfalls and counter side displays for Omnom Chocolate. You’ll see Omnom Chocolate units at Keflavík International Airport as soon as you arrive in Iceland. You’ll see them at little boutiques like Vínberið (a specialty shop focusing on gourmet delicacies in Reykjavík). In fact, you’ll see so much Omnom in Iceland that after a few weeks you’ll probably start to think that Omnom is a big brand, but you’d be wrong.
Omnom Chocolate is barely a college graduate. It was born four years ago. Even though Omnom has just 16 employees, it’s clear business is booming.
Last summer, Omnom moved into a new factory space nestled within Reykjavík’s recently revitalized Grandi Harbor (Old Harbor). Grandi is a maritime neighborhood that is home to loads of budding businesses and eateries like 17 Sortir. The larger space enables Omnom to produce between 1,000 to 2,000 bars per day. Omnom Chocolate is the vision of four friends: Kjartan Gíslason, Óskar Þórðarson, Karl Viggó Vigfússon and André Úlfur Visage. In Icelandic, Úlfur means wolf which is where rumor has it Omnom’s iconic wolf face logo originated from.
Omnom is known for taking cacao beans from a variety of different regions (including Brazil, Madagascar, Nicaragua and Tanzania) and mixing them into interesting flavor profiles.
Hinsegin Dagar (Reykjavík Pride) is celebrated in Iceland from August 8th through August 13th.
In addition to Omnom Chocolate, here’s a list of other neat little local spots we love across Iceland.
In honor of Reykjavík Pride, Omnom crafted a few limited edition versions of its chocolate with the proceeds from the sales supporting Reykjavík Pride.
Omnom Chocolate has a specially formulated chocolate covered popcorn as well as limited edition chocolate + caramel bar you can purchase to support Reykjavík Pride.
In Omnom Chocolate’s regular rotation there’s a delicious 70 percent cacao bar from Tanzania. The 70 percent bar originates from a pair of sisters (the Mbingu sisters) who own a convent and a 30 acre cocoa farm in Tanzania.
Clearly we’re suckers for creative local shop and restaurant owners. Curious about some of the other crazy places we’ve discovered around the globe? Here are some of our other favorite quirky spots in the world.
The bar consists of just three ingredients: organic cacao beans, raw cane sugar and cacao butter, but it tastes a bit like a gooey gooey chocolatey bowl of stone fruit. There’s also a hint of hazelnuts, raisins and apricots in the Omnom Chocolate 70 percent cacao Tanzania bar.
If you prefer to take your cacao percentage down a notch, the dark milk of Tanzania bar is made up of 65 percent cacao. The farmer that Omnom Chocolate works with to produce this bar is also from the Kilombero Valley region of Tanzania (the same area that the Mbingu sisters work in). Kokoa Kamili works with about 2,000 small farmers in the area to source the cacao Omnom uses in the bar. Given the lower cacao makeup of the bar, it has a fudge brownie type flavor that’s warmed up by notes of brown sugar and pear. As with the 70 percent cacao bar, the 65 percent contains premium cacao beans, raw cane sugar and cacao butter in addition to Icelandic milk powder and sunflower lecithin (E322).
Even lower on the cacao Richter scale you’ll find the sea salted almonds + milk bar. It weighs in at just 45 percent cacao and packs a punch given the addition of almonds with just the right amount of salt on them. In order to strike the right balance between nutty and salty, Omnom Chocolate tosses freshly roasted almonds in distilled Saltverk seawater (a salt producer based in the West fjords of Iceland). The cacao for the sea salted almonds + milk bar hails from Akesson’s farm in the Sambirano Valley of Madagascar.
In addition to celebrating causes and events like Reykjavík Pride, Omnom also teams up with other local Iceland based businesses from time to time to remix its chocolate. One such example is the coffee + milk bar that is a result of a partnership with Reykjavík Roasters. The baristas brought the unique blend of coffee and Omnom Chocolate dropped the beans into a rich creamy white chocolate. Omnom Chocolate’s coffee + milk bar is about as close as you can get to a creamy cappuccino in grab and go bar form. The tasting notes state that it has, “background notes of popcorn kernel and waffles,” but we think that description just makes us want to gorge on coffee + milk bars …and popcorn …and waffles all at the same time. The beans for this bar comes from Dona Nenem, Brazil. In addition to the primary ingredients found in most of Omnom’s bars, the coffee + milk also contains Icelandic milk powder, sunflower lecithin (E322) and of course those lovely beans from Dona Nenem, Brazil and roasted by Reykjavík Roasters.
There are also cute little tins of chocolate covered cereal crisp you can buy at Omnom Chocolate’s factory. You’ll find a white chocolate covered version as well as a milk of Madagascar flavor and even one that’s made with sea salt and licorice.
If you’re looking for fun unique things to do during your stay in Reykjavík, Omnom Chocolate offers a chocolate 101 class and factory tour every weekday at 2:00pm. You can reserve your spot online on Omnom’s site and all the classes are held at Omnom’s factory shop. The class goes through the chocolate making process taking you from the tree to the fully formed bar. You’ll learn how Omnom works with producers to grow the cacao that goes into its bars, how they cut it, how they ferment the cacao, how its dried, shipped, roasted, peeled, ground, tempered and then, of course, how to properly chow down on an Omnom bar. Helpful Tip: Should you choose to teleport yourself to the Omnom Chocolate Factory, the crew over there does note on its website that it grants, “free public tours for anyone who materializes in the building.”
If time is short and you can’t make chocolate 101, make sure you grab the tasting notecards from Omnom Chocolate registere. Not only do they feature lovely designs by Omnom Chocolate’s designer, André Úlfur Visage, on the front, the backside is chock full of background information on each chocolate bar.
While you can buy Omnom Chocolate at shops throughout Iceland, we’d highly recommend swinging by their one and only factory store. The price per chocolate bar is significantly lower at the factory (about 200 krona per bar or about $2.00 USD) and you’ll have an opportunity to quiz the employees about their budding small business. Plus these bars from a local Icelandic chocolate producer known for meticulous craftsmanship make great gifts, so long as you don’t end up gobbling down all your Omnom Chocolate goody gifts during your flight back home.
Address: Hólmaslód 4
101 Reykjavík, Iceland
Hours: Monday Through Friday 11:00am to 6:00pm, Saturdays Noon to 4:00pm
Phone: +354 519-5959
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
Prices (All in Icelandic Króna or ISK): Chocolate Bars 990, Chocolate Covered Popcorn 690, Factory Tour Tickets Adults 3.000, Children 7 to 15 years 1.500, Free for Children Under Seven