The winners of the 2019 International Cocoa Award have been announced! The Heirloom Cacao Preservation (HCP) Fund and the Cocoa of Excellence Programme are partners in celebrating fine flavor cacao throughout the world, and highlighting its importance for the preservation of our future chocolate supply.
HCP would like give a special congratulations to Ed Seguine, Chair of the Cocoa of Excellence Programme Technical Committee and Chair of the HCP Tasting Panel, in carrying out the detailed assessment of the large number of 2019 submissions.
HCP would also like to congratulate its Board Member, John Kehoe, Guittard Chocolate and Advisory Counsel member, Darin Sukha, Cocoa Research Centre of the University of the West Indies, Trinidad and Tobago, both members of the Cocoa of Excellence Programme Technical Committee.
Congratulations to the 2019 International Cocoa Award Winners!
SALON DU CHOCOLAT, PARIS, FRANCE (30 October 2019) – Following a selection and evaluation process of 223 cocoa samples submitted from 55 countries, 50 entrants shortlisted for the 2019 Edition of the International Cocoa Awards waited with anticipation to hear the results. Read on to find out who the 20 winners are and why these awards matter for the future of our chocolate supply.
On 30 October during an exclusive evening ceremony attended by over 500 cocoa and chocolate professionals, the 20 International Cocoa Award winners were celebrated at the Salon du Chocolat, Paris, shining the international spotlight on the work of cocoa farmers, and the diversity of cocoa around the world. Every two years, the Cocoa of Excellence (CoEx) Programme spearheaded by Bioversity International (now the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT) and Salon du Chocolat recognizes quality, flavour and diversity of cocoas according to their origin. Cocoa diversity is vital for production, as it provides the different flavours, resistance to pests and diseases, and resilience in climate changes. Providing incentives for safeguarding cocoa diversity to farmers and national organizations ensures a portfolio of options remain available for the future.
“The most remarkable evolution of the Cocoa of Excellence Programme is the enthusiasm of the cocoa producing countries to participate in greater numbers every edition. We started this great adventure in 2009 with 20 countries and today we have 55 countries and hope that at the next Edition in 2021 we will reach 70. We are entering a new era for cacao that makes us discover all the potential and the pleasures that its genetic diversity, its environment, its culture, and the know-how of all these women and men that grow cocoa and upon which their prosperity depends”. Brigitte Laliberté, Cocoa of Excellence Programme Coordinator, Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT.
1. What were some of the original reasons that you and other industry leaders founded FCIA in 2007?
Seeing the changes in the industry of using less flavor cocoa over the last 50 years and the emergence of their use in the bean to bar movement led us to want to shine the spot light on some of these classic genetic types. Many famous brands rose to prominence using some of these cocoas but because competitive price pressure started the process of incremental degradation and their original personality was lost.
2. Looking back over the past 12 years, how has the fine chocolate industry evolved? Were there any surprises? How have consumers tastes and preferences changed?
I think the evolution of the fine chocolate industry, which today is centered on the bean to bar movement, has grown tremendously over that last 12 years, maybe to the point of saturation. It was surprising that the growth was so rapid. I’m not sure that consumer preferences have changed, I think they, like Guittard, are always looking for something new. I do think their knowledge of chocolate flavor and its diversity has grown. I think in reaction to that there are many flavored bars with inclusions on the market today. I’m surprised it hasn’t evolved more into fine candy like bon bons, box chocolate or candy bars.
SALT LAKE CITY, UT – Caputo’s will be spotlighting Omnom Chocolate from Reykjavik, Iceland at the 8th Annual Caputo’s Chocolate Festival, where Utah’s trend setting chefs and beverage experts will craft chocolate-based creations to benefit the Heirloom Cacao Preservation Initiative.
This year’s culinary lineup will include the following local establishments: Normal Ice Cream, Pallet Bistro, Nomad Eatery, The Farm in Park City and Table X Restaurant. Talented chefs will showcase unique Icelandic flavors of Omnom Chocolate in a variety of gastronomic applications, both sweet and savory. The evening will offer inspired cocktails from Water Witch, Sugarhouse Distillery and Bar Daddy, local brews from T.F. Brewing and Epic Brewing Company, and cozy pour overs by La Barba Coffee Roasters.
The 8th Annual Caputo’s Chocolate Festival takes place on Thursday, November 14th, beginning at 7:00 PM at the Downtown Caputo’s Market & Deli (314 West 300 South, Salt Lake City). Admission is $45; $70 with alcohol pairings (highly recommended). Space is limited and tickets must be purchased in advance on Caputo’s website: https://caputos.com/classes-and-events/. All proceeds from the Chocolate Festival are donated to the Heirloom Cacao Preservation Initiative.
Photos from last year’s chocolate festival can be viewed here.
ABOUT Caputo’s Market & Deli: Caputo’s is Utah’s leading purveyor of regional Italian and Southern European foods, winner of numerous specialty food awards, and an advocate for bean-to-bar craft chocolate. With four locations across Salt Lake Valley, Caputo’s has solidified its position as one of the nation’s best specialty food markets, with a mission to promote and preserve culinary traditions of our ancestors. Highlights include cave aged cheeses from their state-of-the-art cheese caves and one of the largest collections of craft chocolate bars in the world, all which can be found online at caputos.com.
ABOUT Omnom Chocolate: What started as nothing more than an experiment, Kjartan Gíslason and childhood friend Óskar Þórðarson took over an abandoned gas station in Reyjakvik’s downtown area and Omnom Chocolate was born. Having been classically trained, Chef Kjartan was already familiar with terms like single origin and cacao. “Just like wine, beer, cheese or kimchi, chocolate is the labour of a lot of patience, from growing the cacao pods until the bar is safely melting in your mouth.” Naturally, after sourcing some of the finest cacaos from all around the world, his focus narrowed in on flavors and textures. Today, Omnom is revered as a craft chocolate favorite, incorporating unique Icelandic ingredients into the art of chocolate making. This November, Chef Kjartan and team Omnom will travel to Salt Lake City, Utah to exhibit at Caputo’s Annual Chocolate Festival. We invite you to experience the flavors of Iceland in our Salty City.
ABOUT Heirloom Cacao Preservation: The HCP is a non-profit collaboration between the Fine Chocolate Industry Association and the United States Department of Agriculture to genetically identify strains of heirloom cacao that are extraordinary and unique in flavor and quality and preserve them in the face of an agricultural system that is quickly killing them off. For more information, visit hcpcacao.org.