Reykjavik, the cosmopolitan heart of Iceland, is renowned for its captivating natural beauty, its enchanting history, and its eclectic culture. Among the myriad attractions, a hidden gem particularly intrigues both locals and tourists alike – the Omnom Chocolate Factory. In the world of artisan chocolates, Omnom is a name that is synonymous with dedication, authenticity, and innovation.
The Art of Omnom Chocolate Making
Omnom Chocolate Factory, located in the Grandi harbor district of Reykjavik, is the brainchild of Kjartan Gíslason, a former chef who turned his culinary skills and creativity towards the art of chocolate making. Launched in 2013, Omnom has since set new benchmarks in the chocolate industry with their “bean-to-bar” approach.
The magic begins with meticulously sourced cocoa beans. Omnom firmly believes in the power of the beans’ origin. That’s why they take great effort to select high-quality, organic beans from various regions like Madagascar, Tanzania, and Nicaragua, each with their unique flavor profiles. The beans are carefully harvested, fermented, and dried at the source by local farmers before they start their journey to Reykjavik.
Upon arrival, these beans undergo a rigorous quality check to ensure they meet the stringent standards set by Omnom. The approved beans are then roasted, with each origin having its roast profile to bring out the beans’ inherent flavors.
Post roasting, the beans are broken into nibs and separated from the husk. The nibs are then ground into a smooth paste known as chocolate liquor. The grinding process generates heat, melting the cocoa butter and resulting in a liquid, which is then mixed with sugar and, depending on the variant, milk powder.
After mixing, the mixture undergoes a process called conching – a prolonged mixing process, lasting several hours to days. Conching helps to develop flavors, reduces bitterness, and imparts the chocolate with a silky, melt-in-your-mouth texture. Once conched, the chocolate is tempered, a process where it is heated, cooled, and then gently reheated to give the final product a glossy finish, a perfect snap, and a stable shelf life.
A Taste of Sustainability
Omnom’s commitment goes beyond just creating exquisite chocolates. They take pride in being a responsible and sustainable business, focusing on ethical sourcing practices for their cocoa beans. They build direct relationships with the cocoa farmers, ensuring that they receive a fair price for their beans, thereby contributing positively to their livelihood and well-being.
Their packaging, a feast for the eyes with quirky and colorful illustrations, is also environmentally friendly, made from recycled and biodegradable materials.
Experiencing the Omnom Magic
For those planning to visit Reykjavik, a tour of the Omnom Chocolate Factory is an absolute must. Walk through the factory, be greeted by the intoxicating aroma of chocolate, witness the making process firsthand, and listen to the passionate guides as they narrate the tale of Omnom’s exquisite chocolates.
Tours are held multiple times a day, and booking in advance is recommended due to their popularity. The tour is a delight for all senses. Beyond seeing and learning about the process, visitors also get to taste the various chocolates, experiencing the difference in flavors brought about by different bean origins and processing techniques.
Tasting Omnom’s offerings is like embarking on a journey, where each bite tells a story of its origin, the craftsmanship, and the passion that goes into making each bar. From the fruity and tart Madagascan beans to the rich, robust Nicaraguan ones, it’s a sensory adventure you won’t forget.
Besides their signature single-origin bars, Omnom also offers a range of delectable flavored chocolates that showcase their creativity and innovation. From sea salted almond to black n’ burnt barley, licorice and raspberry, Omnom’s flavor combinations are a delightful surprise for the taste buds. Each creation is carefully crafted, striking a perfect balance between the richness of the chocolate and the complementary flavors.
During the tour, visitors will have the opportunity to witness the chocolate-making process up close, from the grinding of the cocoa beans to the final packaging. Knowledgeable guides will explain the intricacies of the craft, providing insights into the company’s commitment to sustainability and the importance of ethically sourced ingredients.
The factory itself is a sight to behold, with its contemporary design and an inviting atmosphere. The space blends the traditional aspects of a chocolate factory with a modern twist, making it an aesthetically pleasing and Instagram-worthy destination. The factory also houses a charming café where visitors can indulge in hot chocolate, chocolate pastries, and other treats, all made with Omnom’s finest chocolates.
For those looking to bring a piece of Omnom’s magic home, the factory’s gift shop is a treasure trove of chocolate delights. Stocked with an extensive selection of their chocolates, visitors can purchase bars and gift sets to savor or share with loved ones. The friendly staff is always available to offer recommendations and share their knowledge about the different flavors and origins.
Beyond the factory tour, Omnom actively participates in various events and collaborations within the local community and international chocolate community. They often host workshops and tastings to share their expertise and passion with chocolate enthusiasts. Keep an eye on their website and social media channels for updates on these exciting events.
In conclusion, the Omnom Chocolate Factory in Reykjavik is a haven for chocolate lovers, offering a unique and immersive experience into the world of artisanal chocolate making. From their dedication to sourcing the finest cocoa beans to their commitment to sustainability, Omnom has earned its reputation as a pioneer in the craft. So, whether you’re a local or a visitor to Iceland, be sure to add a tour of Omnom Chocolate Factory to your itinerary. Discover the flavors, embrace the artistry, and indulge in the enchantment of Omnom’s exquisite chocolates.