How cool is this? Chocolate from Iceland. The company is called Noi Sirius. I get so excited to try a new chocolate bar when I find it! These were found at Whole Foods. They had three different varieties of their bars. I purchased one from each end of the spectrum, the 33% Milk Chocolate bar and the 70% Extra-Bitter Chocolate bar. I believe the other choice was 55%, but I don’t recall and I don’t see anything but the 70% bar on their website.
It turns out the company has been around since 1920 and they specialize in candy. “While Iceland isn’t renowned for being a chocolate-loving country, a visitor concluded it is a mainstay of the culture and had never seen so many “people over 12″ eat so much candy. Eating a chocolate bar at 9 a.m. was culturally acceptable, “intellectuals offer bowls of candy as an appetizer before dinner”, and Nói Síríus produces 300,000 chocolate Easter eggs in a nation of 290,000 people.” (Quote form Wikipedia) I now have an intense love for the Icelandic people. People always look at me funny when I break out a dark chocolate bar for breakfast or a mid-morning snack. It seems a natural thing to do, but I digress.
Let me first start off by saying that I love the packaging of both of these bars. A simple, thin wrapper and a waxed paper without the wax (rice paper?). What I was concerned about is that chocolate is like a sponge. It picks up anything that has an odor. The vast majority of chocolate is wrapped in foil not only for freshness but to prevent the chocolate from picking up other smells/tastes. Both of these chocolate bars exceeded my expectations and I need to go back to Whole Foods to buy more, but since they are wrapped in paper, they do have a bit of a metallic taste at the finish. Perhaps from sitting on a metal shelf? Perhaps from absorbing the paper it’s wrapped in or shipped in? I’m not sure, but it won’t stop me from buying any in the future.
I, like most other people, can scarf down a milk chocolate bar in under 10 minutes. It’s the sugar and the milk that make your brain say “give me more”. That’s why I don’t indulge in milk chocolate all that often and when I do, I make sure to double up on the veggies that day. The 33% Noi Sirius actually took a bit longer to eat. Two days actually. It was incredibly rich, mild tasting and the creamy finish lingered on your tongue for an astounding lenght of time. I’m talking over an hour. The ingredients: sugar, cocoa butter, whole milk powder, skimmed milk powder, cocoa mass, lecithin and vanilla. Surprisingly, it had a bit of a snap when I was breaking it up. Pretty much unheard of with such a low cocoa content. What I really loved was the recipe included on the wrapper for Ice Cream. People forget that good chocolate can be cooked with in both sweet and savory recipes, so I thank them for that. No photo here, sorry. I got at it on the ride home and it wasn’t fit to be photographed by the time I got home. Next time.
Now for my favorite – the Noi Sirius 70% Extra-Bitter Dark Chocolate Bar. The ingredients: sugar, cocoa mass, cocoa butter, lecithin and vanilla. Now, I was a little alarmed that sugar was the first ingredient in the dark chocolate bar, but ironically this bar had no sugar taste and was still bitter. I had no urge to eat it until there was none left and it lasted for the standard three days. This bar had a beautiful dark purplish-brown color, a nice sharp snap and since it only has the paper you can smell it before you even open it. The flavor is fruity, filled with lots of berry notes and I noticed bits of honey and marzipan in the finish. Quite nice, light and not very bitter or acidic. It was quite splendid just letting it melt on your tongue. My whole mouth felt like it was bursting with delight! The recipe on this wrapper was for Chocolate Cake. God bless them. I’ve included the recipe below in the next post.