Gluten-Free Norway Part 5: A (cheap) Chocolate Tour
In Trondheim, at least, there seem to be two companies that completely dominate the supermarket-level chocolate and candy market: Freia and Nidar. Freia also corners the market on baking chocolate, chocolate sauce, chocolate, cream, fruit sauces, etc. in the local grocery stores. Unfortunately, nearly every single one of their products carries a “kan inneholde spor av gluten” warning (may contain traces of gluten). The one exception is a set of heart-shaped milk chocolate pieces, which I have only seen in one store (the Meny in Solsiden). There are also a few specialty gourmet chocolate bars (usually dark) offered in most allergen-free sections of stores, and some fancy/expensive items with the regular chocolate/candy selection. If you can tolerate trace amounts of gluten, then your go-to for milk chocolate should be Kinder, which is a deliciously creamy milk truffle dipped in high-quality milk chocolate.
If you want something that is both free from trace gluten, widely available, and inexpensive, though, your options become limited. Nidar is pretty much the go-to, because they offer a detailed allergen chart of their products:
- Visit their allergen information page here.
- Click on the link to “Allergentabell” on the right hand side of their website to open it in a spreadsheet program such as Excel or Libre Calc.
- The product name is on the left. Each allergen is marked as “Resept,” if the allergen is a primary ingredient (such as nuts in a peanut butter bar), or “Spor” if traces of the allergen may be present, even if not part of the regular ingredients.
A few warnings:
- Nidar maintains a separate English-language site, also with an allergen table, but the table on their English site is dated 2012, and may have out-of-date information. The Norwegian-language site’s table is from 2015.
- It is worth running the allergen information page through Google Translate for additional information. For instance, they mention that their marzipan contains glucose syrup made from wheat. So while it is technically gluten-free, those who are otherwise wheat-sensitive may still react.
Now that the technical information is out of the way, let’s get to the chocolate itself! After months of very little chocolate, I have taken the Nidar allergy list to the store and bought one of everything they had that was chocolate and not marked as having any trace of gluten.
Or licorice. There is a Norwegian obsession with licorice (including in the first brand of toothpaste I tried when we arrived) and that’s just not going to happen for me. If you’re the sort that actually likes it, you’re on your own. Ditto with the salt candy.
#1 Nidar Smørbukk Bar
Score: 4 stars (out of 5)
#2 Nidar Cuba
Score: 4 stars (out of 5)
#3 Nidar Stratos Melky
Score: 3.75 stars (out of 5)
#4 Nidar Troika
Score: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
#5 Nidar Gullbrød
Score: 3 stars (out of 5)
#6 Nidar Stratos
Score: 2.5 stars (out of 5)
#7 Nidar Hobby
Score 2.5 stars (out of 5)
#8 Nidar Kremtopper
Score: 2 stars (out of 5)
The takeaway from this exploration for me is that we are thoroughly spoiled by high-quality milk chocolate in the U.S. It really isn’t one of the Norwegian specialty foods. The best chocolates I’ve found here are imported, and if you really want a chocolate treat your best bet is to grab a Snickers. They have a surprisingly wide market here, unlike any other candy we’re used to seeing in the U.S.