Last Updated: Tue Nov 02, 2010 20:10 pm (KSA) 17:10 pm (GMT)

Dubai's camel-milk chocolate goes global

Al Nassma plans to expand to Japan and the UK
Al Nassma plans to expand to Japan and the UK

Dubai based Al Nassma, the world's first camel milk chocolate brand, plans a global expansion, its general manager told Al Arabiya Wednesday.

Martin Van Almsick said Al Nassma is finalizing a contract with a Jeddah-based distributor and that the company is set to deliver a first shipment of camel milk chocolates to Saudi Arabia in the next few days to launch the product there.

The United Arab Emirates chocolate company said it plans to enter Saudi Arabia first, followed by Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait and the United States.

 The world of chocolate is open to many exotic possibilities 
Jack Epstein, owner of Chocolate Covered

Chocolate Covered, a San Francisco-based gourmet market, said it is in talks with Al Nassma to sell its unique product.

Jack Epstein, owner of Chocolate Covered, told Al Arabiya that the market for exotic chocolates is strong in the United States.

"The world of chocolate is open to many exotic possibilities," said Epstein. "Camel milk chocolate would definitely spark an interest in gourmet circles."

Epstein said he has been selling goat's milk and sheep's milk chocolate and that both have been met with great success.

Mideast's Godiva

Al Nassma's camel caravan chocolates

Almsick said Al Nassma is being marketed as a luxury product and plans to be "the Godiva of the Middle East."

"We want the Al Nassma brand to be recognized for outstanding quality and exquisite taste," he stressed.

Almsick added that all Al Nassma chocolates are produced without preservatives or chemical additives and use a range of local spices, nuts and honey.

"Camels are mystical and graceful and our chocolate's image reflects that" he added.

Al Nassma, established last October, manufactures its chocolates in partnership with Austrian chocolate maker Manner in a Dubai government-controlled farm with 3000 camels.

 We want the Al Nassma brand to be recognized for outstanding quality and exquisite taste 
Martin Van Almsick, general manager for Al Nassma

Currently the company sells chocolates through its farm-attached store as well as in luxury hotels and private airlines.

The company is also in talks with mall operator Majid al-Futtaim and others regarding plans to open a second store in the UAE. Almsick said the company plans to launch an online store within a month.

Japan and London's high-end department store Harrods have made offers to carry the new line of Middle Eastern chocolates.

"The product is receiving a lot of attention because of its distinct nature," Almsick explained.

The health benefits of camel milk exceed those of cow milk, making the new brand more attractive to health conscious customers, he said.

Al Nassma's hollow figure chocolates

"Camel milk contains five times more vitamin C than cow milk, less fat, less lactose and more insulin," Almsick explained.

However, educating people on the benefits of camel milk chocolate would require some effort, Chocolate Covered's Epstein said.

"The product would receive a lot of free press because of its oddity but additional marketing would be required to educate Americans on camel milk since camels are quite foreign to us."

So is there any kind of chocolate that would not sell? "I've been offered horse milk chocolate but I refused," said Epstein. Too exotic it seems, even for the exotic world of chocolate.

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