The 47 ‘gold’ accreditations have marked a significant increase from previous years, signalling a major shift in the quality of bean to bar production in particular, the judges said in a joint statement.
The newly awarded bars have seen a rise in the use of Indian cacao, notably from the Idukki region of Kerala, with its ideal cacao growing conditions. Ecuadorean, Madagascan and Peruvian cacao continues to shine, often inspiring great social enterprise partnerships.
With classic flavour profiles such as coffee or rum present, the awards have seen continued experimentation and use of less usual ingredients such as chanterelle mushrooms, black garlic and shrimp curry.
Sara Jayne Stanes OBE, founder, Academy of Chocolate, said: “Having started the Awards with some of my fellow judges back in 2005 with a handful of products from Europe, I could not be more inspired to have so many exceptional chocolates – and I mean exceptional – among our winners this year. And the movement is truly global. I hope that the Academy of Chocolate and its endeavours have had a hand in this evolution.”
The awards have seen the emergence of newcomers to the chocolate world, from Glasgow-based micro-batch producer Bare Bones to Elena Tikhonovich in Belarus and Chocolala OÜ in Estonia, alongside strong growth in quality of previous entrants such as Auro from the Philippines.
Established brands, including Golden Bean winners, Åkessons, Castronovo, Chocolat Madagascar and Qantu ralso eturned with new and improved products.
Judges said previous rising stars such as Desbarres, Fjåk and Metiisto (from Canada, Norway and New Zealand) have also performed strongly.
- The full list of winners can be found here. Judges said the special awards will be announced in due course.