Nittedal Chocolate Factory: A Norwegian chocolate fairytale
TEXT: ANDRI PAPANICOLAS | PHOTOS: NITTEDAL SJOKOLADEFABRIKK
Nittedal Chocolate Factory is a hidden gem located half an hour from Oslo, and this is where something truly great happens for many a lover of the sweet treat. The chocolate made here is produced using cocoa beans imported from the most exclusive cocoa areas of the world. And the best part? The handmade chocolate is all cruelty-free and ethically grown.
“Why do we care about where our wine comes from? What country and region? It’s because of the quality, right? So why don’t we do the same with chocolate?” suggests chocolate maker Bjarne Nielsen.
From a bag of cocoa beans to a chocolate factory
Bjarne is a science teacher and has always loved to learn about how things are made. Years ago, he went to Madagascar to work on a charity project and, as a reward, he received a bag of raw cocoa beans. After he got home, he found himself confused, staring at the bag, thinking: ‘Well, this doesn’t look like chocolate – how do we make it into chocolate?’
His curiosity was ignited and he started making confectionery for friends and family for Christmas. Soon thereafter, he learnt how to make proper chocolate and started selling it to local cafes and bakeries, and today, the Norwegian Willy Wonka runs Nittedal Chocolate Factory with two Oompa Loompas. They are now preparing for the busiest time of year – Christmas.
Along Nielsen’s chocolate journey, he realised that making chocolate with true cocoa beans from ethically grown cocoa farms is simply the best way to go. “It’s about quality, not quantity. I know that larger chocolate producers buy chocolate en masse in big volumes. Unfortunately, in many cases, this leads to slavery. That, and the fact that the chocolate tastes way better, is the reason we use the bean-to-bar method,” he says.
Bean-to-bar means that there are no shortcuts in the production of chocolate. Nittedal Chocolate Factory imports high-quality cocoa beans that they roast and melt at the right temperatures to create the exact taste they want. They then play around with different flavours and create exciting combinations.
Christmas is around the corner, and the factory is well underway with producing this year’s festive chocolates. Maybe you might want to try one with liquorice and raspberry? Or have you ever tried Ecuadorian chocolate, made with only beans and sugar? The taste of that one in particular might surprise you!
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