Iceland’s First Cacao Fruit Made Into Chocolate

Iceland cacao fruit

The first cacao fruit ever grown in Iceland was harvested and made into a chocolate bar recently, RÚV programme Landinn reports. It took 10 years of cultivation at the Horticultural School at Reykir for the cacao plants to mature and bear their first fruit. The dark chocolate made from the fruit at Omnom’s chocolate factory tasted surprisingly like coffee.

Unclear how cacao flower was fertilised

“Cacao plants start to blossom when they become mature around 7-10 years of age. We got the first blossoms three years ago, and since then the plants have gotten more and more blossoms. But it really surprised us when we saw the first fruit this summer,” Guðríður Helgadóttir, a horticulturist at the school told RÚV. “As far as we know, this is the first cacao fruit that has fully ripened in Iceland.”

The cacao seeds were planted at Reykir, located near Hveragerði, South Iceland, in 2013. In their natural environment, cacao plants are fertilised by tiny flies. “The flowers are tiny, and you can see that regular bees couldn’t do the job,” Guðríður explains. Since no such flies exist in Iceland, it’s not clear how the flower that grew into Iceland’s first cacao fruit was fertilised.

Smoky coffee flavour

“It’s really exciting,” said chocolatier and Omnom co-founder Kjartan Gíslason. “There are somewhat fewer beans than I’m used to seeing in a fully-ripe fruit, but considering that it’s the first cacao fruit that has grown in Iceland, it’s very normal that it’s not totally perfect in the first go, but we can definitely do something with it.”

The beans were fermented for nine days, and then taken to the Omnom chocolate factory, where they were roasted and hand-made into small dark chocolates. Guðríður was invited to taste the chocolate. She agreed with Kjartan’s analysis that the flavour was somewhat smoky and reminiscent of coffee, but said the chocolate was “really good!”

Genki Instruments Win First Prize at Icelandic Design Awards

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The annual Icelandic Design Awards were held last night at Iðnó in Reykjavík. The Reykjavík-based Genki Instruments received the main prize for Wave: a wearable MIDI controller that allows users to control sound through motion.

Every year since 2014, the Icelandic Design Awards have honoured the best in Icelandic design and architecture. This year, Genki Instruments – a music technology hardware company based in Reykjavík – received the main prize for Wave.

In a statement by the Design Awards’ panel of judges, Genki Instruments is described as a, “progressive and design-driven music company where design, technology, engineering, and music meld into one.” Commenting on Wave, the judges concluded that the product was a, “unique example of a startup building upon a progressive idea, where research, development, and testing – throughout the entire design process – results in a completely new experience for the user.”

Genki Instruments is comprised of Ólafur Bogason, Haraldur Þór Hugoson, Jón Helgi Hólmgeirsson, and Daníel Grétarsson.

Other winners this year include Omnom, an artisan chocolate maker based in Reykjavík, which received an award for “best design investment,” and Manfreð Vilhjálmson, who received a Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to Icelandic architecture.

The Icelandic Design Awards is a collaboration between the Iceland Design Centre and the Iceland University of the Arts, with support from the National Power Company of Iceland (Landsvirkjun) and the Federation of Icelandic Industries (SI).

(For additional information on Wave, see below video.)

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