Excerpt from Ari’s Top 5 enews
Like a cool café latte from Iceland, you can carry in your car
Most all innovations seem so obvious once someone has made them. Here’s one that I can’t believe hasn’t made the mainstream for the last 150 years. And yet, I at least, have never heard of it till now. It’s a coffee and milk “chocolate” bar. Quite simply, it’s like a world class cappuccino enriched with cocoa butter, packed in lovely paper wrapping. You can nibble it after dinner, break off small bits for an afternoon snack, or have it in the morning with your coffee. In the spirit of the European tradition of bread and chocolate, stick a bit onto a piece of baguette, or push a bit into the corner of a butter croissant from the Bakehouse. Beautiful.
Omnom began back in 2013, started by a couple friends in Reykjavík, Iceland; Kjartan Gíslason was a chef with a love for chocolate; Óskar Þórðarson had a passion for sustainable business. Together they opened Iceland’s first bean-to-bar chocolate “factory” in a converted gas station on the edge of Reykjavik. A bunch of international awards and a lot of good press later, they’re still going strong. We’ve gotten a range of bars from them, but this Coffee Milk bar has been on my mind of late.
To be clear, the milk in the chocolate is a feature, not a filler. Icelandic milk has been acclaimed for a long time. Omnom buy theirs from over 700 different farms across the island. Like Niman Ranch, they have extensive protocols for animal husbandry as prerequisites for purchase. Icelandic cows spend most of their time inside for the cold winter, but graze openly when it’s warm enough. The milk comes to the Omnom plant where it’s pasteurized, then dried to powder so it can be used in the confectionary work. The Omnom plant, I should mention, is powered fully with carbon-free electricity. They also work with sustainably-grown cane sugar from Brazil that’s produced as part of the Native Green Cane Project. The coffee for the bar comes from Reykjavik Roasters. Can’t say I’ve been, but if and when I get to Iceland I know where I’m going first to get a good cup of coffee. In this case, the Omnom-ites use Rainforest Alliance approved Nicaragua coffee beans (instead of cacao), which they roast, grind, blend with milk, sweeten with sugar, and enrich it with cocoa butter.
The Coffee and Milk bar has a marvelously clean, caramelly, coffee milk flavor. Gentle as you’d expect from a good café latte. This time of year, as cold as it is, you can carry the Coffee Milk bar around with you in your shoulder bag or your glove box and pop a bite whenever you need a bit of bucking up to get through the day. I find myself going back regularly for another nibble. Just watch out for reindeer!