Out with sheep – in with chocolate
Mr. and Mrs. Nesset are throwing out their sheep, and rebuilding their barn for production of chocolate. Fine confectionery will soon be for sale at Nordre Nesset gård.
"We were on a study trip in Norway and discovered how many producers there actually were of cheese and cured ham. There’s a lot of competence in this, and many excellent products in Norway, not the least in the area where we live. We wanted to choose another road." The couple knew nothing of chocolate production when they contacted the finest expert environment they could think of to teach them – the food researchers at Nofima Mat at Ås.
"We were lucky to get in touch with Nofima Mat. The people here know their stuff and have taught us so much," say the happy couple about people like bakers and confectioners Kent André Svensson and Hans Helge Raae Olsen, and about their first meeting with counsellor Arvid Landaas. They have also taken part in a large chocolate trade fair in France with experts from Nofima Mat, organised by Enterprise Europe Network.
Chocolates filled with tastes from nature
"This is our second visit. The first time, we learned about tempering of chocolate, both to ensure a high quality and to get the perfect sheen. This time, we’re testing different types of fillings for chocolates," say Elise and Håkon Edvard Nesset. Their selected product is filled chocolates with tastes from Norwegian nature and shapes like the mountains at Rondane, as their farm lies right next to Rondane National Tourist Route.
"Today we’re producing many different types of fillings. We’ve made fillings from strawberries, basil, coffee, tea, oranges and cardamom," say the chocolate founders, who are aiming to give their chocolates a taste of Norwegian nature, ie. fillings tasting of blueberries, crowberries, cloudberries, herbs and perhaps even bark and spruce shoots.
"Chocolate is in a way a so-called cross-over food. We can mix tastes as we like, and we test different combinations of tastes. Our challenge is to find the right combinations. This makes chocolate a fun product to work with," says confectioner Kent André Svensson.
Tourism and confectioneries
The famous painting "Winter night in Rondane" by painter Harald Sohlberg was in fact painted from Nordre Nesset. The painting is currently on display at the Norwegian National Gallery, and is one of the reasons why tourists visit the farm.
"We plan to make boxed chocolates with the Sohlberg painting on the lid, and to sell chocolates in individual pieces at our farm and at sales outlets in the area," says Elise Nesset.
The chocolate farm will probably be ready during the fall of 2009, and their aim is to have the first delivery ready for Christmas.