NSFD: Not Safe For Dieters! The Norwegian chocolate to look out when visiting a supermarket in Norway.
I can't quite believe I've been running this site for so long without looking in detail at chocolate!
The two big Norwegian chocolate companies
The vast majority of chocolate on sale in most Norwegian stores comes from just two companies: Freia and Nidar. Of course, major brands like Mars, Twix and Kinder are also available on the shelves in Norway, but that's not what this article is about.
I think it's fair to say that Freia is Norway's most famous chocolate brand. For one thing, the illuminated sign on Karl Johans gate gets captured in so many photographs. There has been a Freia store on Karl Johans gate since 1913.
Nidar is the big rival to Freia and is based out of Trondheim in central Norway. The company began in 1912, with Christmas and Easter marzipan the first notable products.
In 1980 the company merged with a Bergen-based company to create ‘Beregene Nidar' but 17 years later, the Nidar name was restored and all Bergen production moved to the Trondheim facility. Today the company is part of the giant Orkla corporation.
Large chocolate bars
Many Norwegians prefer to buy their chocolate in large bar form to share or keep for a while. They're super easy to spot in the supermarkets, and are often found with a discount.
The most popular is Freia's Melkesjokolade, a creamy, sweet, milk chocolate. Simple, but a classic. I know several readers of this website like Walters Mandler, which adds in chopped, caramelised, salted almonds into the standard milk chocolate bar.
The Freia bars with pieces of Kvikk Lunsj (more on that later) are also popular. Just recently we discovered a new variant from Freia: Tutti Frutti. This delightful variant includes tiny pockets of fruit jelly buried inside the milk chocolate. I’m really hoping this one sticks around for good!
These salty-sweet tornadoes are my absolute favourite Norwegian chocolate! Smash from Nidar are simply corn chips covered in chocolate.
Most commonly sold in bags, Smash is also available in bar form. That's simply a regular chocolate bar containing bits of Smash, rather than being one big Smash bar!
I will have caused outrage among my Norwegian readers for not starting with Freia's Kvikk Lunsj, the most iconic chocolate in Norway. It has such status because it's synonymous with the one true love of all Norwegians: the outdoors.
Ever since it was launched in 1937, the four-finger chocolate-covered wafer has been marketed as a hiking or skiing tour snack. Wait, did I say four-finger chocolate-covered wafer? Isn't that the same as the KitKat? Funny you should ask!
Nestle, maker of KitKat, has argued in European courts since 2002 that it has the right to trademark the shape. The courts disagreed as KitKat isn't commonplace cross the continent. Freia couldn't buy that kind of publicity.
Because of the court cases, interest in Kvikk Lunsj has increased outside of Norway too. British newspapers the Guardian and Independent both rated the Norwegian bar higher in blind taste tests. They key? The chocolate-to-wafer ratio is higher in the KL.
Freia has introduced a dark chocolate version of the Kvikk Lunsj that is just as tasty, albeit a few kroner more expensive. It goes great with a black coffee.
The history of Stratos is so long and varied that its maker Nidar has a webpage dedicated to it. The short version: Nidar launched Stratos in 1936, a year after the Aero. It cost 25 øre, which is a quarter of one krone!
It was engineer Jørgen Holmsen who discovered the ‘airy' Aero chocolate bar at a trade fair in Germany, and returned to the Nidar factory to try to create something similar.
While the chocolate itself has stayed fairly consistent over the years, the size of the product and design of the packaging have changed a lot.
These days, Stratos is best known for its commercials featuring the bright blue happy cow you can see on the wrapper. Just look at those udders go…
Launched in 1969, Freia's Toppris Kubbe is similar to the Toffee Crisp or Lion Bar. This chocolate bar is filled with light toffee and rice, so it's chewy with a slightly crispy texture to it.
It reminds me a little of the rice crispy cakes I used to make as a kid (definitely not as an adult though, no, not, definitely not)
There has also a peanut version round and about called ‘Peanøtt Kubbe' although I haven't seen it for a while. The peanut taste is much more overpowering than the rice of the original. However, I'm not sure whether that's because that's the genuine taste, or because I really don't like peanuts very much!
I've never quite been able to make up my mind about Troika. There's a lot of flavour packed into the three layers of soft raspberry jelly, truffle and marzipan, all coated in dark chocolate, but to my taste it's a somewhat strange combination.
I'm told some people nibble away the chocolate and other layers leaving the jelly to the end. Now while I used to do the same with Jaffa Cakes, I can't imagine doing that with Troika. I'd love to know if any of you do!
At the moment an orange edition is available in stores, which replaces the raspberry jelly with an orange jelly.
Small chocolate companies
Of course, it would be wrong to stop just with the big two. Norway has its fair share of entrepreneurs trying to make it in the chocolate world. Up in Bodø, British chef Craig Alibone has made quite the name for himself with his premium chocolate brand and shop. Read this interview with him to find out more.
Located inside a former boathouse, the cozy Geiranger Sjokolade café serves rich hot chocolate made in the factory downstairs. The store sells nicely packaged sets of chocolates that make great gifts. For a unique flavor, try the famed blue cheese chocolates, or a bar flavored with sweet berries from the region’s valleys.
On my recent trip to Svalbard, I stumbled upon Fruene cafe which did a roaring trade in its homemade chocolate. I did my bit for the cause and tested out a couple. My favourite? The creamy white chocolate bar complete with polar bear print!
This has been without doubt one of the most enjoyable posts I've ever researched for Life in Norway. Now though, if you'll excuse me, I need to call my dentist.
19 thoughts on “Norwegian Chocolate Bars You Must Try”
Yes I have to reply you on this one! Yes I am a Chocolate addict 😉 and I find Norwegian chocolate one of the best, probably because I’m Norwegian 🙂
When I’m traveling, and i do a lot as I work as a travel consultant for East Africa the first thing I do when I reach a new destination is to look for chocolate.
A comment about Troika: Some yrs ago when I lived in Norway my favorite chocolate was Troika and I was one of those nibbling away the chocolate and other layers leaving the jelly to the end.
Btw I love your website!
My favorite Norwegian chocolate is Freia and so I ate it almost every day while traveling on the Hurtigruten and got more at the duty free store at the airport in Oslo to take home. Unfortunately too expensive to order to have sent to the U.S. I can taste it now as I think about it.
Love Norwegian Chocolate! But how could you not mention Diams? I’ve been hooked since I first tasted them over 40 years ago. I get Freia Chocolate at Cost Plus World Markets or Ikea.
Because Daim is Swedish 🙂
Hey, could You tell me which chocolate bar (200g) will be from the best to the most worse in taste?
Want to know Your opinion. I was thinking to buy lots of chocolate to my family.
The chocolates are: kvikk lunsj in 200gram form or 250 (duty free), Melkesjokolade milk chocolate (plain clean), daim chocolate 200gram, firkløver 200gram, japp chooclate which is not avaible in 250 gram neither in duty free (airport)
Firklover everyday while I lived in Manglerud. MS GO!
Great post! I’ve could have fun feeling the passion through which you’ve written with good humor.
I’ve tasted both melkesjokolad and kvikk lunsj, and they are really amazing.
I’ll try the Troika as soon as I can visit this great country again.
Regards from a Brazilian fellow.
Good overview over the industrial Norwegian chocolate. You forgot to mention Fjåk Chocolate, which is one of the only small chocolate producers that actually makes the chocolate in Norway from the cocoa beans 🙂
Hi! I lived in Norway in the early 1980’s and ate an amazing chocolate marzipan bar almost every day. It was packaged in a thin aluminum foil with a yellow wrapper. I think it was called marzipan brod. I wonder if it still exists and if yes, if you know it. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a Nidar Gullbrod product, but I can’t remember the maker.
The name is Gullbrød and its made by nidar. Dark chocolate and marzipan.
Well, speaking as a Kvikk Lunsj fan, I seem to have missed out on the other tasty treats. Next time!
For Jul this year my cousins in Stavanger sent Friea Melkehjertes, Marzipan shokkalade, and Frielle coffee! The chocolate was gone by the evening and I am still enjoying the coffee.
Nice article, I actually didn’t know that Stratos was that old. But as far as small chocolate businesses go, you left out “Den lille sjokoladefabrikken” in Bærums Verk. Outstanding chocolate, with proprietary standard recipes and seasonal special items, and it’s located in the repurposed iron works in Bærum. A must try if you are in the area!
CUBA bar made I think by Bergens ?
Loved that !!!
I also ate too much melkesjokolade with family…it gives more tastes. Amazing 👌…but sometimes we will be having when gets low coast and offer prize…..from Norway ….I’m Indian
Anyone knows where to buy dark chocolate kviklunch ? Couldn’t find them now
I love them all. Smash is my latest favourite. The kviklunsj does beat the Kit Kat and I do love a Danae Mums. I. My later years I love the salt licorice too. Can you please do an article on chips. Paprika Maarud will always be my true love! And those nuts lol
In the beginning of Freia, there was a rather small company called “KRAFFT Schokolade og Senneps fabrikker”, they sold their recipes to Freia. One can still see one or two of their boxes on a shelf at the grocery store at the Folkemuseum on the island of Bygdøy, just West of the center of Oslo.
My favourite chocolates are the Melkesjokolade,
Mandelstang and Peanøttkubbe…
Best wishes to all!
I would like to find some Nero Candy Bars. I bought some when I was in Oslo in 2005 and loved them. Love the name too🥰. Does anyone carry them in the USA?