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Record number of entries sees more vegan friendly chocolates, and products from South-East Asia, Russia and Brazil

Record number of entries sees more vegan friendly chocolates, and products from South-East Asia, Russia and Brazil

This years Academy of Chocolate awards entries have seen a sharp rise in vegan-friendly chocolates and those from Russian, Brazilian and south-east Asian chocolate producers.

Marking a significant shift in global chocolate making, the awards have also seen entries from 50 new producers from across the world.

The awards, which are now in their 16th year, have reached record numbers of entries once again, demonstrating the resilience of producers during what has been a challenging year for the sector.

Increased consumer awareness of the origin, craft, and sustainability of fine chocolate was reflected in this year’s entries – many of which contain the vegan options and ethically sourced ingredients.

Russia and southeast Asia have also demonstrated burgeoning craft chocolate industries with multiple entries in a number of categories.

Despite the severity of Covid-based challenges, Brazilian producers have also entered a diverse range of chocolates.

Tea and coffee feature strongly in flavoured bars, with local ingredients, such as perilla, pitanga, and jerk seasoning in tree-to-bar entries. Buckwheat, spruce shoots, Nordic birch sap, and caramel are also popular among European bean-to-bar makers.

Inventive flavours also come from the Basque country, including Patxaran and Gateau Basque. Several bars also contain Mexican ingredients such sal de gusano, or spicy worm salt.

The results of the bar judging will be announced in September. The dates for filled chocolate entries opening, and the special awards will be announced in the coming months.

Chantal Coady, co-chair, The Academy of Chocolate, said: “The Academy has always been an advocate of pure dark chocolate in particular, in which form the consumer can enjoy the subtle nuances of different cocoa varieties and terroir, very much like fine wine.

“These days many people refer to dark chocolate as vegan friendly, we have known this well-kept secret for many years, in fact one of the AoC’s early triumphs was getting industrial makers to stop adding butter fat into dark chocolate so seeing more of this is fantastic.”

Clive Martyr, co-chair, The Academy of Chocolate, added: “It is very encouraging to see such a strong entry in this year`s awards, despite the significant challenges being faced by small businesses due to Covid-19.

“The adaptability and resilience of the fine chocolate sector during this time has been impressive and bodes well for the industry in the future. We have thoroughly enjoyed 2021 class of bars from all over the world and look forward to announcing the winners in September.”