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Norwegian Chocolate

February 19, 2011

Chocolate. Just reading that word can make some people salivate. Most people probably do not think of chocolate when they think of Norway, but so far, I have tasted some of the best confections of my life here. It is so delicious that at any given time, I always see one of my friends breaking off a piece of chocolate during class breaks, after skiing, or after a meal. I wanted to introduce you to some of Norway’s confectionary delights listed in order of my favorite to least favorite. Below each photo, I will include a description of the chocolate from Wikipedia (if available) followed by my own comments. There are two major chocolatiers in Norway: Freia (remember the picture of the Freia clock tower from Oslo?) and Nidar. However, Freia is more popular and is an iconic Norwegian symbol.

Freia Melkesjokolade

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Freia was created in 1906 by the newly hired manager Johan Throne Holst (1868-1946). When he took over management, he realized that there was a potential market for edible milk chocolate, in addition to the dark chocolate and other minor products Freia were producing at the time. It became a success. However, it wasn’t until the 1920s that regular people had the money to buy chocolate, as it was a luxury product at the time. The chocolate is consistently marketed to create national romantic associations – as the essence of everything that is Norwegian.

This chocolate is simply wonderful. Smooth, rich, and creamy. Not a trace of any artificial tasting ingredients like those found in Hershey’s Milk Chocolate.

Freia Japp

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No Wikipedia entry on this one, but this is actually my favorite chocolate bar here. If you concoted a Milky Way and a Three Musketeers with higher quality ingredients/better chocolate and combined the two, you would get a Japp Bar. It is indeed the love child of those two American candies.

Freia Kwikk Lunsj

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An average Norwegian eats approxomately nine Kvikk Lunsjs every year, three of them at Easter. This means 4-500 tons of chocolate during the holidays. Kvikk Lunsj is for many Norwegians a symbol of national pride, therefore the producer Freia got to feel the wrath of the people when they changed the wrapping of the chocolate a couple of years ago. Several Facebook groups were established to show that the opposition of this reckless change stood strong among the Norwegian people. For some it was incomprehensible that Freia could remove a piece of Norwegians Cultural Heritage just to save a little bit of money. During the 1960s Freia printed “fjellvettreglene” (Norwegian for mountain sense/ hiking sense) on the back of the chocolate.

This is a Norwegian Kit-Kat bar. However, the Freia chocolate makes this bar smoother and creamier than its American counterpart. I don’t understand the marketing concept behind this chocolate (skiing chocolate, really?), but it is delicious, nonetheless. Incidentally, this is the cheapest chocolate to purchase in Norway.

Nidar Stratos

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I was really looking forward to this one thinking it would be like an Aero Bar. Several years ago, I tasted my first Aero Bar in Québec, Canada, and I fell in love. The Aero Bar is “flavored bubbles of air” coated in milk chocolate. Stratos is a similar concept, but the “air bubbles” are not very fluffy and they have a flaky, crumbly texture. The chocolate coating, however, is delicious.

Freia Twist

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Twist is a bite-sized confectionery produced by Freia/Kraft Foods, primarily for the Scandinavian market. Twist is sold in bags, and each bag contains a variety of pieces, mostly consisting of chocolates with some sort of filling in the center. New pieces are added and old ones discontinued frequently. Only two pieces, Lakris (licorice) and Cocos (coconut filled chocolate), have existed since the product was launched. The name Twist refers to the way each piece is wrapped.

These are not too bad, but not that delicious either. I found some of the fillings to be a bit too much for my palette (the coconut and banana in particular). At about 50 NOK ($10 per bag), I don’t think I will be buying these any time soon.

Nidar Troika

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Troika is a chocolate-based confection made by Nidar AS of TrondheimNorway (which also produces Bamsemums). It consists of three distinct layers, hence the name Troika. The top layer is soft raspberry jelly, the middle layer is truffle, and the bottom one is marzipan. It is also covered with dark chocolate. Troika was launched in 1939.

I was really excited to try this candy after tasting Jule marsipan several weeks ago. However, this candy was disappointing. My friend Heidi bought it for me and described it as a “luxury chocolate.” I can see how it gets this label as the Troika bar is rather complex. However, after taking one bite, the chocolate flakes off from the rest of the layers, and you’re left with a mess of jelly, soapy flavored marzipan, and an extremely thin layer of truffle.

Nidar Hobby

Soft light foam with banana jelly covered in milk chocolate.

Yuck. That is all I really have to say about this one. The banana jelly has sugar crystals that give it a gritty texture. Pair that with the marshmallow-like fluff, and you have one odd candy bar. Not even the chocolate coating can redeem the Hobby Bar (but thanks, Sharon, for letting me try a bite)!

I am leaving for Belgium on Monday. Thus, this is only the beginning of my posts about chocolate!

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Sharon permalink
    February 19, 2011 12:27 pm

    Yeah, kvikk lunsj!! I still need to try Japp. It just sounds amazing 🙂
    That’s a bummer that the troika bar was a bit of a let down. I was really glad you included the hobby bar, though. It needed to be documented that it basically SUCKS. So, you’re welcome for letting you try it? lol 🙂

    • February 19, 2011 12:29 pm

      I figured I needed to warn people about it. Nei to the Hobby. Ja to the Japp.

  2. Mom permalink
    February 19, 2011 1:38 pm

    mmmm, I would enjoy the first three bars! Was never a fan of Nestle Crunch so wouldn’t care for the Stratos. And the cow and the chocolate bubbles? LOL. And the last two bars I know I would not like. Never mix jelly with chocolate! Coconut, nuts, even raisins, but never jelly. You’re pictures are great!

  3. March 6, 2011 2:18 pm

    Hi

    I just found a website that offers norwegian chocolate to you abroad.
    Check out: http://www.colonialen.com for great chocolate offers:-)

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