International chocolate producers dominate prestigious chocolate awards

Rosanna Frost

Royal Academy of Culinary Arts

Premium Supplier 27th July 2018

International chocolate producers dominate prestigious chocolate awards

The world’s most innovative and exciting chocolatiers from across the globe were celebrated at a glittering party held at Claridges Hotel, London, on Wednesday 25th July.

One producer, Canada based Qantu Chocolate, achieved double success in the prestigious Golden Bean category. Its Chuncho 70% and Morropon 70% bars, using rare beans from Peru, were tied at the end of the blind tasting before the judges found them to be from the same chocolate house.

The Golden Bon Bon award was won by Chocolat Grace for its Maracaibo & Cranberry Caramel and follows the producer’s 2017 International Rising Star win.

As with Qantu, it was only the second year Chocolat Grace entered the awards and both are relatively new producers. It was also the second time the Golden Bon Bon was awarded after it was created last year to celebrate the quality and creativity increasingly achieved in the popular filled chocolates category.

Meanwhile all four winners of this year’s Rising Star awards were debut entries and relative newcomers to the world of chocolate altogether.

The UK Rising Star accolade was awarded to Tosier Chocolatemaker, whose founder Deanna Tilston was trained by Academy of Chocolate co-founder Chloe Doutre-Roussel, while Norway’s first bean to bar producer Fjåk Chocolate, whose flavoured bars include Lingonberry and Reindeer Lichen, took home the European Rising Star award.

Wisconsin-based CocoVaa Chocolatier, which creates filled chocolates and bars, and Taiwan’s Fu Wan Chocolate, which was notable for bean to bar brilliance matched by bold flavour combinations, were joint winners of the International Rising Star award.

All but one of the special awards winners were women chocolate makers and in a number of instances these women had an arduous journey to success and demonstrated great determination as well as skill.

Another female duo who continue to shine are last year’s UK Rising Star Dormouse Chocolates, with several winning bars. Also fulfilling their promise are the 2016 UK Newcomers Eponine, carrying away multiple Gold awards for their bonbons.

Academy Chairman Sara Jayne Stanes OBE said: “We are particularly happy about the overall quality, craftsmanship and enthusiasm shown in the entries. We are thrilled at the talent and creativity of newcomers, and we applaud the constant brilliance and expertise of regular entrants.”

The panel of expert judges assessed a record-breaking number of entries from across the world. Sara Jayne added: “With so many incredible entries, the task of determining our winners was harder than ever. We were looking for complexity and innovation, stunning appearance and a beautiful melt. And in our special award winners this is precisely what we found.”

A special Brand Experience packaging award was created this year to honour the contribution of first time entrants ca ca o from Japan and it will become an official category next year.

Marie-Pierre Moine, Academy of Chocolate Board member and Awards Ambassador, said: “The Brand Experience is a new idea. It’s the first year we’ve awarded it and the reason ca ca o won it is that our judges loved the complete experience - from looking at the product and handling it, to opening and enjoying the chocolate.

“Our packaging experts mentioned the concept of brand experience as the enjoyment in chocolate starts from the wrapping to the eating. The enjoyment begins with the eyes. Judges this year particularly admired the bar packaging. They enthused over the beautiful use of traditional design and material, the fusion of old and witty modern, the provenance and chocolate information given, the super attention to packaging details, the ways the chocolate is kept fresh, the clever portioning. “

Among the delegates at this year’s awards ceremony were Mr John Coleman, Quebec Agent-General in London; Jaime Cardenas and Luisa Fuster of the Commercial Office, Embassy of Peru; Mr Felipe Angel Campo of the Pro Colombia Government Trade Office and Consul Rommel Romato and Zay Arguelles from the Philippine Embassy in London.

Managed and run by Silvija Davidson, this year’s award entries demonstrated the international recognition of the Awards. Entries were received from Argentina, Australia, Austria, Brazil, USA, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dubai, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Madagascar, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Qatar, South Africa, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Trinidad and Tobago, UAE, the UK and Vietnam.