01-Sep-2023: Awards Registration Opens
29-Sep-2023: Registration closes for Chocolate Bars categories; and all entries for Chocolate Bars must be delivered to the judging venue (Westminster Kingsway College) by this date.
18-Oct-2023: Registration closes for all other categories (Filled/Enrobed Chocolates, Chocolate Drinks, Spreads and Brand Experience)
20-Oct-2023: All entries for Filled/Enrobed Chocolates, Chocolate Drinks, Spreads and Brand Experience must be delivered to the judging venue (Westminster Kingsway College) by this date.
Oct to Early Dec 2023: Remote judging for Chocolate Bars, In-Person judging for all other products
15-Dec-2023: Announcement of the results
At the Academy of Chocolate (AOC) awards, all entered products are judged by judges who are either active in the chocolate / food industry or who are have strong connections to it. Each judge is approved by the AOC Awards Committee.
The Academy of Chocolate has a sophisticated judging process which is both rigorous and exacting and with both subjective and objective factors taken into account.
Each product is not ranked but is scored on a range of attributes and criteria which ensures that the judging remains consistent throughout with multiple respected and experienced judges evaluating each product individually.
The judging process is both rigorous and exacting. Each product is scored objectively based on a range of attributes, ensuring that the judging remains consistent. Multiple judges evaluate each product individually. Judges can review the product description and ingredients if necessary.
The quality of chocolate bars, filled/enrobed chocolates, chocolate drinks and spreads is measured based on a range of attributes that’s applicable to the corresponding category, such as:
- Presentation / Appearance
Each attribute is marked using this ordinal scale:
- Very Poor
These ratings are converted to numeric scores, to give a total score for each product. The score will then be converted into the corresponding award level. Feedback is given to entrants.
Additionally, should in the unlikely case that there be any products where judges opinions remain wildly divided they will be both reviewed and rejudged by separate members of the awards committee. The judges for the rejudging will have the scores and comments from each judge in the initial round for review after initial assessment.
The rejudge will review the range of scores and comments from the initial judging and confirm the final award level.
Golden Bean and Bonbon Judging
For the selection of the Golden Bean and GoldenBonbon, judges are selected for a grand jury by the Awards Committee. The group of Grand Jury judges will consist of:
- AoC Awards Committee Members and Board Members
- Other qualified judges as nominated and agreed by the AoC Awards Committee
- Guest judges (e.g., food and wine journalists, experienced chefs/pastry chefs etc.) as nominated and agreed in advance by the AoC Awards Committee
All unflavoured bean-to-bar chocolate bars that have been given a Gold in the initial judging automatically qualify for the Golden Bean consideration.
All filled chocolates that have been given a Gold in the initial judging automatically qualify for the Golden Bonbon consideration.
The Grand Jury evaluates all the potential Golden Bean/Bonbon candidates in silence using the following rating:
These ratings are converted to numeric scores. Each judge nominates up to 3 products based on the numeric scores. The information will then be collated together to determine the winning product. In addition, all members of the Grand Jury must unanimously agree that the chosen product is worthy of the Golden Bean award and the Golden Bonbon award.