Dubai. To think of it conjures up images of wealth, deserts, baking sun, and lines of camels walking a sere landscape. Until now, chocolate would not have been part of my reverie, neither would camel’s milk. I had never even thought of such a substance, let alone paired it with chocolate. But life is full of surprises. Thankfully, those from Al nassma are wonderful.
Suddenly curious about the properties of camel’s milk, I looked it up on wikipedia and found:
Camel’s milk is considered to have medicinal benefits that can assist in the treatment of various illness due to its high vitamin, mineral, and immunoglobin content.
Well-documented properties include:
Ten times more iron than cow’s milk
Three to five times more vitamin C than cow’s milk
Rich in B vitamins
High in immunoglobins
High in protein
Low in fat – 1.8-2% fat compared to 3.5-4% in cow’s milk
Low in cholesterol
Six types of fatty acids including lanolin acid
And, if you really want to blow your mind consider this little tidbit, also from Wikipedia:
Studies in India and Tunisia support anecdotal evidence from Bedouin and camel herding communities that have long recognised the milk’s ability to treat diabetes. Although more research is required to attain the efficacy of this claim, is it believed that an insulin-like protein present in the milk, which does not get destroyed in the acid environment of the stomach, passes to the lower intestine where it can be absorbed and utilised by the body. This translates to 52 units of insulin being present in a quart of camel milk. If studies prove to be correct camel milk would be the first effective oral insulin treatment for diabetes.
Back to chocolate, where we belong. Al nassma uses Camelicious, the brand name of Emirates Industry for Camel Milk Products. In 2006 a complete dairy with all production under one roof was built on the outskirts of Dubai. Camelicious intensively farms 2,200 camels and milks 700 per day. Al nassma, producer of the world’s first camel milk chocolate, is a joint venture between Emirati Nationals and HM Holding GmbH from Austria. Camelicious is sole supplier of Al Nassma’s camel milk powder, which is processed in Vienna Austria.
I never thought my love for chocolate would educate me in such esoteric matters, but there you go.
I sampled their full range of five bars and a box of filled chocolates. All were extravagantly rich with a creaminess unlike typical milk chocolates, and enhanced with acacia honey and bourbon vanilla.
The 70% bar initially reminded me of Slitti’s 70% Latte Nero but the camel’s milk made this as creamy as if you had used heavy cream. An excellent choice for someone just delving into darker bars as it offered a very gentle profile and a soft finish.
The remaining four bars were all milk and delivered a super smooth texture that I will now always associate with camel’s milk.
The Dates bar (31%) had a wonderful, slightly chewy texture from a scattering of dried dates.
Arabia (36%) was flavored with a warm spice blend.
Whole Milk (36%) was a pure, gentle, velvety-textured bar allowing an opportunity to savor this rich milk chocolate experience in its essential, unalloyed state.
Macadamia-Orange (36%) was a very interesting merging of flavors with the orange’s acidity softened greatly by super rich and creamy milk chocolate. The macadamia presence was fairly unintrusive, offering a few small crunches in every bite.
A lovely 6″ square box houses the chocolate assortment. Its base was brown, with a stripe of shiny gold paper, and the top covered in a textured fabric mimicking a camel’s hide (at least as far as I can ascertain, not knowing what that would look like). All the chocolate squares were enrobed in thick milk shells. Fillings were: hazelnut nougat praline, coffee cream with camel’s milk, and pistachio marzipan–quite delicious. I enjoyed the unusually soft, delicate pistachio marzipan the best.
If you want to send a unique gift, try Al nassma’s beautiful hollow chocolates in camel shapes (available in 130 or 730 gram sizes). From the picture, they appear to be dusted in gold. While I didn’t sample these, they look very appealing and come in a special box for a memorable presentation.