Tag Archives: New Guinea chocolate

Omnom Organic Chocolate

Stylized origami-like designs of animals festoon the wrappers of Omnom’s organic chocolate bars in a winsome way. Each 60 gram bar, and there are seven to choose from, is encased in a hard cardboard reclosable envelope. The identifying paper sleeve has a multi-colored modernist drawing of a wolf’s head. I am already thinking of ways to re-purpose the envelopes. Bookmarks? Funky postcards? Or, open them up, connect them to each other and create a small abstract piece of art. As the background colors are subtle and elegant, this would be quite appealing, especially framed.

The company is based in Reykjavík, Iceland. Kjartan Gíslason, a chef-turned-chocolatier, is co-owner of Omnom Chocolate. With his three friends (Óskar Þórðarson, Karl Viggó Vigfússon, André Úlfur Visage) he has been creating beautiful chocolate bars out of a disused gas station. They source their organic chocolate from Madagascar, Papa New Guinea and the Dominican Republic.

If you were wondering about the name, it’s the sound the Cookie Monster makes: om nom nom.

I love the way each bar is scored into 24 small rectangular bites. The plain ones are comprised of only cacao, cacao butter and raw cane sugar, while the milk varieties contain Icelandic milk.

The aroma from the 70% Papua New Guinea bar is a heady concoction of leather, soil, tobacco, and coffee. After that initial fragrant fix I was expecting something a bit tannic, to say the least. Instead, I was met with a very smooth, gentle dark fruit and leather flavor profile whose lingering finish was redolent with what the chocolatier calls “buttery bourbon.” I could eat this well-tempered ebony bar all day.

The 66% Madagascar chocolate is lighter in color and intensity. It has a definite fruity presence enhanced by a slightly dry finish. Just to make matters a tad more complex, it leaves earthy afterimages on your tongue.

The Milk Madagascar, 41%, is quite rich and creamy, almost butterscotch in appearance.

Sea Salted Almonds with Milk, 45%, plays the added tang of salt against a lovely roasted flavor from the nuts. Again, a very smooth chocolate that is noteworthy for its gentleness on the palate.

Dark Milk with Burned Sugar, 55%, takes you on a supremely milky ride. It’s a subtle trip with a stop to Caramel Street. Naturally, Icelandic cows make Icelandic milk, which has a different taste from milk in the US. It’s slightly sweet, with a little less fatty mouth feel.

Lakkris, 38%, is made with 3% raw licorice and sea salt. Of the milk bars it is by far the most interesting and unusual. The combination of super-velvety light milk chocolate with sea salt and licorice is seductive and compelling.

Their Dirty Blonde bar is a 35% white chocolate with a unique almost smokey caramel taste. If you love white chocolate, this would be intriguing.

Do you know a chocophile who craves new tastes from organic bean-to-bar manufacturers? If so, Omnom is a great addition to their chocolate experience.

You can buy the bars individually or as a set of seven from their website.

Amano Morobe 70%

Art Pollard, the founder of Amano Chocolate, has a new offering for those of us who are dyed-in-the-wool fans of his beautiful, unique bars: Morobe. This time, the beans hail from Papua New Guinea.

Out of curiosity, I did a little internet sleuthing and learned how challenging it is to create an un-bitter bar from these particular beans. Fortnum and Mason, the famous food purveyors in England, makes one and a number of people have commented on its bitterness. Amano’s rendition wouldn’t know a bitter note if it tripped on it.

As I tasted another square of this beguiling bar, I was struck by its fruity aroma. The scent is mildly astringent, clean, and fresh, preparing your palate for the chocolate’s fruity bliss point ahead. (“Bliss point” is an economic term used to describe the exact place where your experience is optimized; before or beyond it your joy decreases.)

I don’t always notice the color of the chocolate I eat, as most dark bars are dark. This one is a bit lighter, which struck me as paradoxical, since the flavor is so full-bodied with leather, light smoke, dark berries, and a hint of citrus, all culminating in an un-dry finish. I mention the finish since so many dark bars have a characteristically dry aftertaste. If that has turned you away from the 70% range, let this one beckon with its complexity and lingering smoothness.

When one speaks of tempering, it is customary to use words like snap, but this chocolate requires a new lexicon. The sound it makes when you break off a piece is more like a crack than a snap. It’s as if the bar has its own little tectonic shift when you separate any part of it; but, it is not brittle. Somehow, there’s still a luscious creaminess to the texture. Quite a feat, and one that I have always admired in some other high end chocolates.