Saturday, February 5, 2011

Nói Síríus Pure Icelandic Chocolate 70% Extra-bitter

7.05 oz bar
Ingredients: Sugar, cocoa mass, cocoa butter, lecithin, vanilla
11g sugar/1.4oz (39.69g) serving (27.7% by wt.)

I bought this bar for two reasons: 1. It was novel, and 2. It was relatively cheap. I don't remember the price exactly, but at $4.50 or so for a hefty seven ounce bar (full price, not on sale), it fell well below my $1/oz threshold for compunction-free chocolate purchases. If it's wonderful, it'll make for good eating and maybe baking, and even if it's not it can probably still suffice tempered by milk in my morning cocoa.

Corporate Info: Not a lot. Google Nói Síríus and you'll find the corporate website, a brief Wikipedia entry, personal reviews, and several puns on the word “serious.” Based on what little is out there, I'll just report that Nói Síríus was founded in 1920 and is now Iceland's largest confectionary company (with 130 employees, it's no Mars but is still significant), producing chocolate among a large assortment of other sweets. The website lists Whole Foods as the only brick-and-mortar U.S. retailer selling Nói Síríus products, though there are online resources as well. I see no claims regarding chocolate sourcing/fair trade/sustainability/choose-your-buzzword.

Appearance: The big ol' seven ounce brick is actually two regular bars stacked on top of each other, which is less awe-inspiring than the alternative but much easier to eat. My particular bars have gotten a bit banged up and broken, but it's all there in glossy medium brown.

Smell: Dried fruit, not dark caramel like raisins but something a little lighter, like stone fruits.

Taste: Dense and rich, not at all sour or bitter. Reminds me of figs. Lingers thick and a little chalky.

Final Thoughts: Before I finally got around to reviewing Nói Síríus I tried this bar in hot chocolate and found the combo to be very dull; I had to add other flavors to jazz it up. Without the milk to hide the flavor I still think it's bland, and without that super-milky smoothness that makes mild seem enjoyably decadent. On the other hand my co-taster, who was also disappointed with the cocoa, loved this chocolate on its own, coming back again and again for another piece. A glance at other blogs shows that many reviews love Nói Síríus, and perhaps you will too.

Conclusion: Nói Síríus Pure Icelandic Chocolate 70% Extra-bitter is dense and mild, not my favorite but possibly yours.

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