The winners of the 2014 International Chocolate Awards were announced at the World Final in London 4-6 November. The World Final judged the Gold, Silver and Bronze winners from around 950 products entered into the European and Americas Semi-finals and Regional and National competitions in German speaking countries, Scandinavia and Canada.

The International Chocolate Awards is the only fully independent competition recognising excellence in fine chocolate making.  It recognizes small companies and artisans that produce chocolate, truffles and other cacao based confections with the best natural and sustainably sourced ingredients. As a result it also aims to support the farmers that grow fine cacao.

The Awards started in 2012 by the Fine Chocolate Industry Association FCIA, organization actively operating since 2007, year when it started with 15 founding members. Today it is an international group with over 200 chocolate professionals that support the artistry and craftsmanship of chocolate making, using only premium and natural ingredients and best practices in cacao farming, processing and trading.

According to FCIA five distinctive elements define the end product as fine chocolate:

  • cacao origin and processing

  • chocolate production practices

  • non-chocolate ingredient quality

  • chocolatier’s technical expertise

  • artistry and presentation

The International Chocolate Awards are run by a group of independent international partners based in the UK, Italy and the USA, with years of experience tasting and evaluating chocolate and organizing fine chocolate related events.

The judging panel is made up of experts, food journalists, bloggers, chefs, sommeliers and pastry chefs from each host country or region, overseen by members of the permanent Grand Jury, who travel to each competition. Over 16,000 individual judging evaluations were completed in all competitions in 2014, by hundreds of judges world-wide.

Judging director Martin Christy of the UK is co-founder of the Awards and the editor of fine chocolate review website Seventy%. Martin is a leading voice in the fine chocolate industry, passionate about the promotion and preservation of fine chocolate and fine cacao and supporting those who produce them.

Other permanent Grand Jury judging members are: Maricel Presilla, chef, restaurateur, author (U.S.); George Gensler of the Manhattan Chocolate Society (U.S.); Nancy Gilchrist, a Master of Wine (UK); Monica Meschini, cocoa expert and sommelier (Italy); Alex Rast, consultant, reviewer and university researcher (UK); Michaela Schupp, of chocolats-de-luxe.de GmbH (Germany), who founded the chocolate-gourmet-festival in Hannover in 2014; and Pam Williams, founder of the Ecole Chocolat Professional School of Chocolate Arts (U.S.).

The major winners in The International Chocolate Awards – Bars (Gold only) for the World Finals 2014 are:

Bars – Dark plain/origin bars

GOLD: Pacari Chocolate (Ecuador) – Montubia 70%. Plus 4 Gold Medals in the Special Category Award, including for Organic.

Bars – High Percentage Dark plain/origin bars

GOLD: Marou – Faiseurs de Chocolat (Vietnam) – Tan Phu Dong 85% La Grande Epicerie de Paris; plus 3 Gold Medals in the Special Category.

Bars – Milk plain/origin bars

GOLD: Friis-Holm (Denmark) – Dark Milk 65% (* Bonnat, France), plus a Gold in the Special Category.

Bars – White plain/origin bars

GOLD: Chocolates El Rey (Venezuela) – Icoa, plus 2 Golds in the Special Category.

To see the complete list of 2014 gold, silver and bronze medal winners in Bars and winners in Filled Chocolates. Look up www.internationalchocolateawards.com/2014/11/world-final-2014-winners/