If you would have asked me in the past (pre-2016) what Iceland was known for, I would have said, “Ice, naturally. Oh, and volcanoes.” (Such a contrast!) “And chess masters. Also, beautiful landscapes. Unless I’m mixing it up with Ireland. No, I’m pretty sure they’re both known for stunning landscapes.” Ask me now, and I’ll tell you a neat thing about Iceland: Omnom Chocolate

A Neat Thing About Iceland - Omnom Dark Milk Burned Sugar Chocolate

Intrigued by a number of factors (the novelty of bean-to-bar chocolate being made in Iceland, the reports of Omnom’s creative packaging, and the flavor “Dark Milk”), Omnom ended up very high on my list of must-try craft chocolates.

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New chocolate bars fascinate me.  The anticipation of the taste is a big part of the fascination, but there’s more to it than that.  Many chocolate companies are outdoing themselves in the packaging department, so the wrappers are quite a treat to inspect. Part of the intrigue are the names that the different chocolate makers have chosen (both for their company and for their chocolate), and the stories behind those names.

The fascination does not end when the chocolate that comes home with me (or home to me) is carefully inspected from front to back, photographed from every angle (remind me to tell you about my 154 GIGS of chocolate photos sometime) and sampled. The packaging is never thrown away.  Instead, it goes into my collection of wrappers to reference later, to use for other photo-ops, or to be re-purposed.  (A plastic insert with shallow indentations that had originally held pralines in place makes a perfect mold for dark chocolate mint thins!  And I really ought to look into decoupage. Only I’d need something big in order to use up the quantity of wrappers that just had to be rehoused because they were outgrowing their drawer.  Anyone ever decoupaged an entire wall of their house with chocolate wrappers?) (Disclaimer: I don’t have enough wrappers for a whole wall…yet.)

There Will Be a Test Afterwards - Craft Chocolate Photo

Pictured: Andean Lemon Verbena by Pacari, SeriousMilk Cacao by TCHO, Smoked Chai by Raaka, and Maple Coconut by Dick Taylor. (I’m making them sound like perfumes. Come to think of it, all of those would likely make nice scents!)

The taste, the wrappers, the packaging, re-purposing the packing…even after all of that, there’s at least one more thing that is fascinating, and that is: What will other people think of each chocolate?  There are usually a few squares leftover to share with this friend or that friend. I know, I know.  Leftover chocolate; is that even possible?  Trust me, it takes great restraint to keep my hands off the whole bar, box, or bag.  Sometimes it’s impossible; there is almost never any milk chocolate left to share (my apologies to my milk-chocolate loving friends)!

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There are a startling amount of chocolate brands that are either:

Hard or impossible to find outside of their country of origin
or
Not available in many flavors worldwide.

There is, of course, a solution (of sorts). If the chocolate can’t come to you, why not come to it?

If you happen to be planning a trip to Venezuela, you may want to do some research regarding which chocolates to sample during your visit. (You’ve probably heard; Venezuelan chocolate is rather famous.  Case in point: Two of the top eight chocolate bars mentioned in recent New York Time article were from….you guessed it!)  I’ll cheat and help you with your homework.  One of the many brands you should be on the lookout for is Mantuano Chocolate.

Those of us who have had the pleasure of sampling Mantuano (in my case, more times that I care to count) could technically keep our lips sealed.    However, that would be a “the less you buy, the more there is for me” mentality, and that is not my modus operandi.  I believe good things ought to be shared.

Mantuano Chocolate Review Photo 2

 

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