March is International Women’s Month, so for the next few weeks we are celebrating a few of our amazing female craft chocolate makers. Of the 100+ makers we sell at Cocoa Runners, almost half of them were founded in part or wholly by women. If only this ratio was as high in other crafts and industries.
First up is Fjak, the creation of a Basque (Agur) and a Korean (Siv) living in Norway. The company name comes from the way people in their local Hardanger district, with their own dialog, use “Fjak” as a term of endearment, implying “loveable” and “honest”.
And, appropriately, Fjak’s bars are honest to their beans – the distinctive notes of their different origins shine through. All their dark bars have a crisp note and clean finish that reveals the different estates’ characteristics. See, for example, their berry-like Madagascan and malty Indian dark bars.
Food scientists sometimes have to create new words to help articulate taste. Two such words are “kiki” and “bouba”, borrowed from the psychologist Wolfgang Köhler. Most people associate “kiki” with sharp and spiky foods such as lemons. “Bouba”, by contrast, has more rounded and mellow associations. What’s wonderful about Fjak’s bars is that they are both mellow and sharp, illustrating how craft chocolate is a wonderful tool to describe tastes and refine one’s palate.
In addition to their single estate bars, Fjak also experiments with local ingredients grown near their factory. These bars have won awards galore. Some of their combinations sound a trifle strange (for example their Milk and Brown Cheese bar), while others epitomise Siv and Agur’s unique surroundings (Reindeer Moss and Lingonberry). But we wholeheartedly recommend them, and they too are interesting experiments for “bouba” and “kiki”.
We hope you enjoy!