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If you’ve seen a lot of Licorice and Lingonberry chocolate bars around lately, it’s not by chance.

In the past five years, countries like Sweden, Iceland, Denmark, Finland and Norway have given birth to some of the most stylish, modern and appreciated brands on the craft chocolate market. With unique Nordic inclusions such as buckthorn, licorice root, wild berries, spruce sprouts and mushrooms, these chocolate makers have built a solid reputation by crossing the boundaries of sweet and savory in chocolate. This is precisely their unique selling proposition: even when they use the same cacao that other makers are using (Akesson’s, Kokoa Kamili, Uncommon Cacao, etc.), their creations are distinctive from anything else on the market thanks to the use of local ingredients that are traditional to their Nordic cuisines.

Chocoholics don’t seem to be intimidated by such novelties, but actually enjoy having their palates challenged by these new flavor combinations. So much so that these craft chocolate makers from the North have an exceptionally widespread distribution, from the US to Australia, from Europe to Japan, encountering the favor of many international retailers eager to have them in their assortments. Needless to say, the majority of these Nordic creations is abundantly rewarded every year by the most prestigious chocolate competitions.

But what EXACTLY has made brands like Omnom Chocolate from Iceland, Friis-Holm from Denmark, Svenska Kakaobolaget and Standout Chocolate from Sweden, Fja?k Chocolate from Norway and Goodio Chocolate from Finland so popular?

Here are the elements that these brands have in common that are probably playing a major role in their growing success.

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