Top producers honoured at Academy of Chocolate special awards
Two artisanal producers have been named as winners of the coveted Golden Bean trophy at the prestigious Academy of Chocolate Awards this year.
Chocolat Madagascar, which became the first tree-to-bar producer to win the Golden Bean award in 2017, has again been successful with its single-farm ‘Ottange’ bar, made from 100% cacao.
Meanwhile, Qantu, which once again won over judges with its interpretation of single-source Peruvian cacao, picked up the second Golden Bean award this year for its ‘Chaska’ bar, made from 70% cacao.
The award-winners were among entries from more than 50 countries, demonstrating the growth of fine chocolate across the world.
The delayed ceremony marked the first-ever virtual Academy of Chocolate Awards which, due to the pandemic, could not be held as in past years at Claridge’s Hotel in London’s Mayfair.
This year’s Golden Bonbon was awarded to Realm of Cream for its single-estate 75% St. Vincent dark chocolate ganache infused with Hungarian plum pálinka, while the Mott Green Award went to Neary Nógs, the first bean-to-bar craft chocolate makers in Northern Ireland.
There were two recipients of the 2020 Social Enterprise Award: Juliana Aquino, who has long been involved in social enterprises and supports tree-to-bar and bean-to-bar producers in Brazil; and first-time entrants, Choba Choba, who delighted with the flavour, presentation, and story of their bars – motivated by improving the living conditions of Peruvian cacao farmers.
Other special awards presented included two rising star awards.
The UK Rising Star 2020 went to first-time entrant, Bare Bones, a micro-batch bean-to-bar chocolate company with a minimalist approach. Based in Glasgow, the producer’s gold award-winning packaging is made from recycled paper cups and vegware which can be recycled or composted after use.
Norway-based La Fève (bonbons) was named European Rising Star 2020.
There were also four winners of the new Shining Bright award for producers who have demonstrated progression: Philippines-based Auro, which scored highly across a range of categories including drinking chocolate; Chocolat Madagascar, which picked up two golds and a silver for its bars made from 100% cocoa solids; Fjåk, the first bean-to-bar producer in Norway, which scored highly among judges for both plain and nordic-flavoured bars; and Massachusetts-based Goodnow Farms Chocolate, which was awarded three golds and eight silvers for bars in various flavours including coffee, whiskey, and rum.
Cecilia Tessieri, who has won numerous gold and silver awards and three Golden Beans over the years, is the recipient of the Academy’s first President’s Award for her notable major creative and technical contribution to the world of cocoa and fine chocolate from pod to palate.
Sara Jayne Stanes OBE, Academy of Chocolate President, said: “While it has been a challenging year for so many people across the chocolate supply chain, we have been heartened by the efforts and progress made by so many talented chocolatiers across the world.
“At its core, chocolate is one of life’s pleasures, and the standard we are seeing coming through from such a wide range of producers is really something we can all be exceptionally proud of. Huge congratulations to every single winner, and all those who continue to champion our sector.”