Record number of entries for the prestigious chocolate awards signals major growth in the fine chocolate market
A record-breaking 1,200 entries were judged at the 2018 Academy of Chocolate Awards - 400 more than last year, rising from 12 when it first launched in 2005.
The entries, made up of chocolate produced in more than 45 countries, included a significant increase in chocolate made by smaller producers - reflecting growing awareness of the origin, craft and sustainability of real chocolate.
The awards aim to recognise and showcase great-tasting chocolate and its producers. Entries were received from traditional chocolate-making producers in the UK, Europe, Canada and the USA, as well as newer producers from countries such as Colombia, Croatia and Korea.
Leading chocolatiers from across the industry, including Luke Frost of Valrhona and Keith Hurdman from Felchlin, came together to judge the awards, and were joined by Andrew Baker of The Telegraph, Charles Metcalfe MW and Spencer Hyman of Cocoa Runners, as well as some of the UK’s most prominent chocolate bloggers and food writers.
Held at Westminster Kingsway College, London, industry experts took part in 15 days of judging - deliberating over key categories including Bean to Bar, Tree to Bar, Flavoured, Milk and White Bars, Filled chocolates, Spreads and Packaging. Further judging by a Supreme Jury considered Gold winners and determined Special Award winers.
A full list of gold, silver and bronze awards can be found below. The winners of the famous Golden Bean and other special Academy of Chocolate 2018 Awards were announced at a glittering ceremony at Claridge’s in July. Qantu Chocolate achieved double success in the Golden Bean category with its Chuncho 70% and Morropon 70% bars. The Golden Bon Bon award was won by Chocolat Grace for her Maracaibo & Cranberry Caramel .
The UK Rising Star accolade was awarded to Tosier Chocolatemaker, while Norway’s first bean to bar producer Fjåk Chocolate took home the European Rising Star award. Wisconsin-based CocoVaa Chocolatier and Taiwan’s Fu Wan Chocolate were joint winners of the International Rising Star award.
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.
Sara Jayne Stanes OBE, chair, Academy of Chocolate, said: “We are thrilled to have had a wider global spread than ever before, including innovative producers from the Far and Middle East.
“This year’s entrants really raised the bar and we saw some very wild and innovative flavours.
“Consumer interest in craft chocolate is undoubtedly on the up and, as such, so too is the number of small-scale B2B producers, which make up the majority of entries this year.
“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.”
“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.”
To view a gallery of photos of winners and of the Awards party www.aocawardsparty.co.uk
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The awards have been organised by Silvija Davidson and Marie-Pierre Moine, who head up the Academy’s awards committee.