Have you ever tried chocolate with brown cheese? Or maybe with blue cheese, from Norwegian goats?
Dedicated chocolate makers and skilled pastry chefs are experimenting with fantastic ingredients from Norwegian nature to create new flavours.
Like golden cloudberries. Wonderful on their own, excellent in combination with high quality chocolate.
And sea salt, sourced from the world's strongest maelstrom, Saltstraumen.
Who doesn't love the combination of salt and sweet?
Find out where to go for a taste of the best chocolate in Norway.
Your sweet tooth is guaranteed to be pleased ...
In 1889, a small chocolate factory opened at Rodeløkka in Oslo. Freia, named after the wife of one of the owners, had a slow start, but after introducing Norwegians to milk chocolate in 1906, the chocolate adventure took off. Later, in 1926, images of Norwegian cows grazing in summer adorned the wrapping, and the chocolate was promoted as a way of making people drink more milk, or "eat more milk", as Freia said.
Milk chocolate is still very popular in Norway, and there are now several factories using Norwegian milk to make the mild, velvety soft chocolate, with Freia and Nidar being the largest brands. But bolder flavours are also now entering the market.
Small, local factories making handmade chocolates, and pastry shops offering chocolate pralines, are taking Norwegian chocolate to a new level. Who doesn't want to taste sweets presented like beautiful works of art?
Let's go on a chocolate journey through Norway!
"My training is purely from France, so the focus is very much on French technique. But I get a lot of inspiration from Norwegian culture, and I try to use as many local ingredients as possible in my products," says pastry chef Craig Alibone.
Craig has been taught by some of the world's greatest pastry chefs, including Bruno Montcoudiol, Sébastien Serveau, and Jean-Marc Guillot, at the prestigious École Nationale Supérieure de Pâtisserie in Yssingeaux, France.
After falling in love with a girl from Bodø, he moved up north with her. In 2020, the Englishman introduced the city in Northern Norway to his award-winning chocolate when he opened his pastry shop, Craig Alibone Pâtisserie & Champagneria.
Did you know that Norwegians are among the biggest chocolate eaters in the world? On average, each Norwegian consumes 9 kilos of chocolate a year!
Norwegian supermarkets stock chocolate for every occasion. Check out these popular types:
Kvikk Lunsj, produced by Freia, was introduced to the Norwegian people in 1937. When it first came out, it was promoted as the ideal hiking snack, and it was even said to be just as nutritious as eating an egg and a slice of bread with butter. Although we now know that chocolate is more of a sweet snack than a meal in itself, Kvikk Lunsj is still a very popular hiking snack.
Kvikk Lunsj is similar to Kit Kat (but beware — Norwegians usually think Kvikk Lunsj tastes slightly better).
Twist is a big bag of chocolates for every taste. First produced in 1958, it became really popular in the 1960s, when the dance "The Twist" became a huge trend. 1960 was also the year when television was officially introduced to Norway, and Twist quickly became a favourite snack to enjoy in front of the TV.
"My girlfriend has family in Hamarøy, and they have a huge property with lots of berries and fruits. Every summer we're there foraging, and use what we find, like cloudberries and blueberries, in our pastries and chocolate," says Craig, adding that he's a big fan of using ingredients in season.
The people of Bodø have fallen in love with his salted caramel chocolate, his bestselling product. The small bite-sized chocolates are covered with a blue coating with white swirls, resembling Saltstraumen – the world's strongest tidal current, located outside the city. The chocolates also contain Arctic salt, which is produced from seawater sourced from Saltstraumen.
"I like to use flavours that are familiar to people, but that aren't necessarily familiar when combined with chocolate. The idea is to challenge how people perceive chocolate," says Craig.
Craig also offers some more unusual chocolate flavours. How about a chocolate bar that tastes like smoked oak? Although this flavoured dark chocolate might sound a bit odd, it did win the International AoC Bronze Award in 2019 and is definitely well worth a taste. Another flavour combination that might surprise you is chocolate with olive oil – a fantastic match.
"Olive oil just pairs wonderfully with chocolate, it gives it a nice mouthfeel," Craig says.
While in the north, why not continue your chocolate journey with a trip to Dønna island on the Helgeland coast, where Heidis Sjokoladedrøm ('Heidi's chocolate dream') is located.
It might be one of the smallest chocolate shops in the world, but it's worth a visit! Heidi makes her tasty chocolate by hand, and also offers freshly roasted coffee, locally produced rhubarb juice, and other local products. If you're interested in learning more about the craft of fine chocolate making and seeing the chocolate made before your eyes, book in advance.
Now, continue further south to the Trøndelag region. In the small village of Selbu, Jentene På Tunet makes extraordinary chocolates. Have a taste of their northern lights chocolate – a beautiful looking chocolate with flavours of blackcurrant, salted caramel, and mango.
Another place you won't want to miss is Geiranger Sjokolade, a chocolate factory beautifully located in a boathouse by the UNESCO World Heritage listed Geirangerfjord.
Visitors can book a tour of the boathouse production facility and try their hand at the process, as well as sample some amazing chocolates.
Geiranger Sjokolade experiments with lots of exciting flavours, including the Norwegian favourite, sweet brown cheese, which gives the chocolate a distinctively caramel-like taste. They also have a special chocolate called Kraftkar, named after the blue cheese Kraftkar – an award-winning, Norwegian blue cheese that has won both World Champion Cheese and Champion of Champions (2016).
Among their products, you will also find chocolate with the taste of the popular Norwegian aquavit Gammel Opland, and, of course, chocolate with liquorice (Norwegians do love liquorice!).
Another chocolate maker, located by another fjord, is Fjåk – the first bean-to-bar chocolate maker in Norway, located by the Hardangerfjord. Their bars are sold in several shops in Fjord Norway, and include delights such as milk chocolate and wild Norwegian mushroom, blueberry chocolate, and the exciting combination of reindeer moss and lingonberry! For the most exotic flavours, look for the Nordic collection.
If you are visiting Stavanger, go to the heart of the city centre, where you'll find the chocolate factory Chili Chocolate. Inside the shop, you can look right into the production site, and sample exclusive confectionery. As its name indicates, the factory also makes chilli products, including chilli marmalades and honey, and, of course, chocolate with chilli.
While in Stavanger, why not stop by another chocolate place? Sjokoladepiken offers handmade chocolates in a cosy environment.
Let's travel further south, to Eastern Norway, where you'll find several excellent chocolate factories and shops.
At Kvarstad in Ringsaker, close to the E6 motorway, you'll find Kvarstad Sjokolade – a family business offering freshly made confectionery. Kvarstad also has a cosy farm café with local treats on the menu.
A thirty-minute drive from Kvarstad, you'll find another chocolate shop, Gjøvik Chocolate. Here you can taste delicious handmade craft chocolate and Italian gelato.
In Norway's capital, Oslo, a visit to Pascal is a must for everyone who loves chocolate, cakes and pastries.
The famous Norwegian pastry chef Pascal has revolutionized pastries and confectionary in Norway, and is considered one of the world's best confectioners.
Have a taste of his heart-shaped chocolates with salted caramel filling, or spoil yourself with delicious petit fours.
While in Oslo, you should also check out Mathallen Food Hall, Oslo's favourite spot for speciality food items and ingredients. There, you'll find exciting products from small-scale producers, including lots of tasty chocolate.
If you're travelling through Norway, a good tip is to stop by a farm shop along the way! There, you'll find locally produced goodies, often including luxurious, handmade chocolate.
Find even more places to visit for food lovers in Norway.