I recently watched an interview with the founder of Omnom chocolate, Kjartan Gíslason and learned some interesting things about him and his chocolate business. I found the interview intriguing and it piqued my curiosity to learn more about the chocolate, the company and the man behind it all.
As a chef, Kjartan says he has always had a curiosity for food and flavours combinations and a particular interest in desserts, which led him to chocolate. He started experimenting with making chocolate from scratch, learning about bean to bar chocolate through U.S. chocolate makers. He floated the idea of starting a chocolate making business by his friend Óskar Pórõarson, an entrepreneur, who thought this was a great idea, and together they created Omnom Chocolate.
When asked about how the name for the company came to be, Kjartan says he saw the serious approach taken by many other chocolate makers in chocolate craft movement, but he felt “chocolate should be fun”. He gave his ideas to a friend and asked him to work on some possible graphics. When he saw the name and graphics for Omnom, he immediately liked it. When spoken, Omnom sounds like someone enjoying food (think the Cookie Monster!) and this is fun! Kjartan also liked the way the name was written - perfectly balanced “om” on either sides of the larger N. The wolf icon comes from the Icelandic word for wolf, Úlfer, which is the middle name of André Visage, the man responsible for Omnom’s creative packaging.
Kjartan began his chocolate making with single origin bars. As with all his food creations, he is only interested in using the best ingredients. His search for quality cocoa beans organically led him to ethical sourcing and direct trade. All ingredients in Omnom bars are individually sourced with the same care and values as the cocoa beans.
From single origin bars, he quickly moved into experimenting with flavours and textures. After all, chocolate should be fun! Using Icelandic ingredients such as lakkris (liquorice), barley and the Icelandic milk, Omnom bars are truly representative of the what the country has to offer. The collection includes Black ’N Burnt Barley, Lakkris + Sea Salt and Caramel, a customer favourite.
The business was humming long…and then COVID hit. Sales dropped considerably. Iceland had no tourism, a big part of Omnom’s sales, and the company had to lay off some of their employees. While trying to figure out what to do to stay alive, something unexpected happened.
A Netflix show, “Down to Earth with Zac Efron” that was filmed in Iceland in 2018, aired in July 2020. A segment of the show has been filmed in the Omnom factory and Zac raved about the chocolate. Suddenly Omnom was flooded with orders from the U.S., a market they had started to build but not to this scale! The show and the segment made a world of difference to their business. New challenges presented themselves - making enough chocolate to fill orders, ramping up packaging production and having enough hands on deck to get it done - but these challenges were preferred over the lack of tourism sales! The team at Omnom is thankful for the “Power of Zac Efron”!
If you haven’t tried Omnom Chocolate, put it on your list. The bars are amazing, the choice of unique flavour combination is intriguing and the packaging is dazzling. This is our current stock of Omnom