World Winners feature – 2013

December 20, 2013 1:16 pm by Cat Black in Winners Features

FIKA Choklad's GoatsCheeseTruffle

FIKA Choklad’s GoatsCheeseTruffle

After a great second year of the International Chocolate Awards, Cat Black from Chocolate Couverture takes her regular look back at some of the 2013 Awards World Winners.

You can find a full list of this year’s World Winners here or look under the ‘Rounds & results’ menu for results of all competitions.

Pacari (Ecuador)

Photo credit: Paul Winch-FurnessThe most lauded chocolate maker in the world at the 2012 International Chocolate Awards, Pacari Chocolate has powered on into 2013, blazing a trail with its stunning flavours that are powerfully true to bean, and a revolutionary and important new business model.

In winning the best plain dark gold award for the second year running this revolutionary company goes from strength to strength and further proves its worth.

Santiago Peralta and Carla Barboto were motivated by twin injustices; the plight of poorly rewarded local cacao farmers, and the lack of international renown for the superb fine flavour cacao of their native Ecuador.

They began to support the farmers through selling cacao, but were moved to turn chocolate makers, following a passionate desire to ensure the cacao was handled with the respect it deserved, throughout the processing into chocolate.

This respect is heartfelt towards the farmers that they work with. It is for this reason that they focus on farmers who are close enough to their factory that they can ensure a personal relationship. They learn from the farmers about the cacao, and they support the farmers in their learning to sustain the precious diversity and excellence of Ecuadorian cacao.

They are one of the first growing country chocolate makers to produce chocolate up to the standard of the finest makers in Europe and the USA. Pacari is at its heart resolutely local, but their scope has become global. Santiago Peralta has been tireless in his role as ambassador for his chocolate and his country, and has taken his work to greet the international community. He has also engaged with this community, listening, learning and developing.

The result is a range of bars and enrobed treats that open the taste buds and the eyes to a new idea of chocolate and chocolate making.


Piura Quemazon 70% cacao

WORLD GOLD – Dark plain/origin bars
GOLD – Chocolate Maker
GOLD – Growing Country Chocolate
GOLD – Directly Traded Cacao
GOLD – Organic

 A bold move for a growing-country chocolate maker – a bar made with cacao from neighbouring rival cacao grower, Peru. Piura is the world’s hot new cacao source, with chocolate makers flocking to buy this white-beaned variety of Nacional. Few have processed Piura with as much delicacy as Pacari, creating a bar so light in colour that it can easily be mistaken for a milk chocolate. The dairy theme continues into the taste, with fresh cream strawberry notes, brown sugar and unripe banana. Lightly tannic, but very delicate and accessible.

Raw 70% cacao

WORLD SILVER –  Bars – Dark plain/origin bars

Pacari have taken a remarkable flavour journey with this bar, from early experiments with raw chocolate just four years ago to what’s currently the world’s only Biodynamic chocolate. Unroasted and low processed, the cacao is truly exposed and must be flawless, giving unique, fresh, green notes, light fruit, floral touches and a chocolate heart. A real chocolate and a revelation to be enjoyed by anyone, not just health food addicts.

Friis Holm (Denmark)

Friis Holm Dark Milk 55% Nicaraguan

Friis Holm Dark Milk 55% Nicaraguan

A chef by trade, and with a chefs uncompromising palate driving everything he makes, Mikkel Friis-Holm creates chocolate both interesting and easy to love.

With a lifelong passion for chocolate, and working in food since the age of 22, Mikkel Friis-Holm finally gave in to the pull towards chocolate in 2008. Since then he has been developing his products towards multi-award winning excellence. From his home in Copenhagen he has been making waves in the international chocolate making community.

A founding member of Direct Cacao, the organization formed to promote and support fine flavour and heritage cacao, Mikkel Friis-Holm has worked with superbly interesting varieties and origins from the outset. Both his world award-winning chocolates are made with Nicaraguan cacao, an origin with which he appears to have a great affinity. Its complexity is allowed to shine thanks to the sensitivity of with which it is handled.

His focus on interesting beans, and bringing all of their characteristic flavor notes to the fore, is joined by a tremendous attention to texture. Mikkel Friis-Holm’s chocolate always has an exceptionally smooth melt.

To date he has worked with the factory of French master chocolate maker Stephane Bonnat, to realize the fabrication of his bars. He is on the cusp of opening his own factory, where he will be able to work every stage of the process under his own control.

It would be hard to know how such sublime chocolates could be improved, but Mikkel Friis-Holm’s uncompromising rigour will find a way if there is one.


Friis-Holm Dark Milk 55 %

WORLD GOLD – Plain/origin milk bars

A chocolate that is both interesting and an absolute pleasure to eat. Friis Holm have taken a blend of Nicaraguan beans and created a chocolate rich in the almost savoury notes of beans of this origin. This is a perfect balance of salt and sweet. It has all the glorious mouthfeel that is a Friis-Holm signature, is rich in deep caramel notes and has a clean creamy finish. All the comfort of milk chocolate in a bar that is also uniquely interesting. A real revelation in milk chocolate.

Friis-Holm Nicaliso 70 %

WORLD SILVER– Plain dark bars

An ultra smooth dark chocolate that celebrates the flavours of this Nicaraguan cacao. It starts with cashew nut notes, then moves into the black olive notes characteristic of this origin, and finishes with richly nutty and toasted flavours.

Chocolates El Rey (Venezuela)

icoa-white-el-rey-1Founded in 1929 in Caracas, Chocolates El Rey are motivated by the belief that their Venezuelan fine flavour cacao is the best in the world. As they put it themselves: “El Rey chocolate – The King of chocolate made with the King of cacao.”

Due to local government regulations they have in recent times remained largely available only to their local market. However in the mid 1990s laws changed and they began to spread the word, and their chocolate, worldwide. They have also pioneered the creation of chocolate of single origin, and ensured focus on this by declaring the origins at a very early stage, before this was common practice. They have done this with the support and help of chocolate experts including the eminent Maricel Presilla.

They have sought to improve, not only the chocolate, but the cacao trade in Venezuela, by establishing Aprocao, a democratically run co-operative, which cuts out the middle man and pays the farmers above market prices for their beans.

They work with small and large cacao farmers, with a focus always on using the fine flavour Venezuelan beans that make them proud and their chocolate delicious.


Icoa White Chocolate

WORLD GOLD – White plain/origin bars
GOLD – Growing Country

White chocolate has a bad reputation – it’s usually very sweet and made with generic cocoa butter from unidentified sources. The International Chocolate Awards chose to include this category to encourage white chocolate with more character and rescue it from the being a mere sweet candy bar. El Rey rose to the challenge, using their own natural cocoa butter with a specific origin taste from Venezuela. Distinct cacao notes add a fruity kick to create a white chocolate that’s not just empty sweetness.

Clement Chococult (Germany)

Clement Chococult's production site is housed in the former train station, Bahnhof Bernried.

Clement Chococult’s production site is housed in the former train station, Bahnhof Bernried.

Southwest of Munich in southern Germany Clement Chococult is the creation of passionate chocolatier Franz Xaver Clement.

In workshops in the historic train station building in the Bern Ried he makes a range of chocolates and bars. The workshops still house elements of the building’s past life, and all of this is visible, along with the manufacture of the chocolates, through the glass walls of the facility.

Transparency and traceability of process and ingredients are all important to Clement. Ingredients are well sourced, and organic where possible. Couverture is all from the Swiss fine chocolate maker Felchlin, which ensures consistent quality.

This is a fine German maker of traditional and handmade products with a focus on quality and sourcing.


Gefüllte Whiskyschokolade

WORLD GOLD – Flavoured dark bars

Clement Chococult's Gefüllte Whiskyschokolade

Clement Chococult’s Gefüllte Whiskyschokolade

Made with a 12-year-old Scottish single malt whiskey and a 60% Ghana Sao Palme couverture this bar greets you immediately with the warm aroma of the whiskey.

It is beautifully made, with a perfectly smooth ganache filling. Its crowning achievement is the excellent matching of chocolate and filling which give it both a bright fruity quality and a dark smokiness.


Es Koyama (Japan)

Es Koyama's Daitokuji-Temple Natto

Es Koyama’s Daitokuji-Temple Natto

With three gold and two silver awards this has been a stunning first year of entry into The International Chocolate Awards for Japanese chocolatier Es Koyama. His profile on the international stage may be relatively recent, but in his native Japan Susumu Koyama has been working up to this level of excellence for a good while.

After finishing his culinary training he began as a pastry chef at the age of nineteen in a Swiss style confectioners in Kobe. A marriage of east and west has inspired and informed his work to this day. It is present in the way he combines fragrant and unusual Japanese flavours with chocolate.

In 2000 Koyama set up under his own name, and Es Koyama, his eponymous boutique in Sanda, opened in 2003. The ambition and expansion of this gourmet destination has seen the addition of a patisserie school, museum and café on successive years.

In 2011 Koyama wowed the world stage by appearing in Paris for the Salon du Chocolat, being awarded the top accolade by the Club des Croquers du Chocolat for his work, and scooping the most outstanding entrant from outside France. He repeated both these coups in 2012.

His work is exceptionally refined, visually beautiful without being fussy, and the startling addition of ingredients such as fermented soy bean and green pepper are handled with the same success as the more classical cherry and plum. An exciting, brilliant creator, whose purity of vision is singular in its purpose.


Manganji-Temple Green Pepper & Almond Praline

WORLD GOLD (inclusions) – Flavoured dark bars

Es Koyama's Manganji-Temple Green Pepper & Almond Praline

Es Koyama’s Manganji-Temple Green Pepper & Almond Praline

This intriguing bar has a gloriously crisp and munch-able texture. It manages to combine a savory quality with the mild heat of the pepper, in a refined and delicious dark chocolate.

The nut flavours, building pepper warmth and chocolate marry perfectly, and the whole is a delight to eat.




Daitokuji-Temple Natto

WORLD GOLD  – Flavoured milk bars

One of the most unusual entries of this year’s awards it is testament to how good it is that it was so universally enjoyed. The fermented soy bean that flavours this great milk chocolate bar is rich in umami and salty flavours. It would not be incorrect to call it a little challenging for western palates. It is however extremely well balanced, and this combination of full flavoured milk chocolate and little bursts of fermented soy bean is an expert example of east meeting west.

Nanko Ume Plum & Almond Praline

WORLD GOLD  – Milk ganaches and truffles

Es Koyama's Nanko Ume Plum & Almond Praline

Es Koyama’s Nanko Ume Plum & Almond Praline

A layer of the tart fruitiness of the Nanko Ume plum is mellowed by an almond praline layer in this beautifully made piece.

The enrobing milk chocolate brings it all together.





Raspberry & Lychee

WORLD SILVER  – Flavoured white bars

Es Koyama's Raspberry & Lychee bar.

Es Koyama’s Raspberry & Lychee bar.

A delightful bar in what was an exceptionally strong category. This makes great use of the visual potential of white chocolate and is a stunning fresh pink. It also has a superb texture due to little shards of dried fruit, making it a very multi-dimensional bar.

The bright acidity of the two fruits offsets the sweetness of white chocolate and the whole is a balanced tasty treat, redefining what is possible in this medium.



Laphroaig 10-Year-Old Whisky & Raspberry

WORLD SILVER  – Mixed ganache

Es Koyama's Laphroaig 10-Year-Old Whisky & Raspberry Ganache.

Es Koyama’s Laphroaig 10-Year-Old Whisky & Raspberry Ganache.

Combining the peaty intensity of the Laphroaig with the bright fruitiness of raspberry is a delicious and successful balancing act.







Rococo Chocolates (United Kingdom)

Rococo's Chantal Coady

Rococo’s Chantal Coady

Celebrating their 30th anniversary this year, Rococo Chocolates, founded by Chantal Coady, is a pioneering example of a fine chocolate company. Chantal initially trained as a textile designer, and the strong visual style of Rococo is both a testament to that and a wonderful trademark of the brand.

They have grown and adapted to the changing chocolate scene during the past three decades, developing from an engaging and eccentric chocolate club on the Kings Road, to an expanding and well-loved chocolate maker and chocolatier, with award winning chocolates and a true knowledge of the finest cacao and flavours. They have grown in knowledge, skill and global reach through their support of and collaboration with The Grenada Chocolate Company.

Chantal Coady has written many very successful, informative and enjoyable books, and is in much demand as a speaker and fine chocolate advocate.

Since early 2012 the Principal Chocolatier has been Barry Johnson. During his tenure at Rococo this UK favourite has deservedly won a raft of top awards for established bestsellers and new recipes created under his creative and inventive direction.


Organic White Chocolate & Cardamom Bar

WORLD GOLD – Flavoured white bars


Rococo’s Organic White Chocolate & Cardamom Bar

Using Sri Lankan green cardamom this is a masterclass in what spice in a chocolate bar should taste like. It is the essence of this beautiful aromatic spice.

Combined with the sweet creaminess of white chocolate this evokes kulfi, that indulgent spiced Indian ice cream that typifies the best Asian sweets. An example of how exciting white chocolate can be in the hands of a master.



Kalamansi Lime Caramel

WORLD SILVER – Dark caramels

Passion Fruit and Rosemary Caramel

WORLD SILVER – Dark caramels

These two chocolates are powerhouses of refined technique and intense flavour. Rococo Chocolate’s Principal Chocolatier Barry Johnson has created two future classics. The elegantly shaped shells display beautiful technique; they are super fine and break with a perfect snappy crack as you bite into them. Each contains a relatively liquid buttery caramel, dark enough to ensure a good intensity of flavour. The genius of both is in combining this with super zingy flavours that transform dark chocolate and caramel into something very refreshing. The combination of sharp passion fruit and the earthy hint of rosemary is a winner. Kalamansi Lime, a particularly aromatic citrus, is a simply delicious compliment to the darker elements here.

Salted chocolate toffee & crunchy praline

WORLD SILVER – Dark flavoured nut pralines

A clean square bonbon, this is a more classical offering from Rococo Chocolates. A base layer of toasted nutty praline is given a textural boost with a touch of feuilletine. This contrasts beautifully with a top layer of soft deep caramel. The whole is lifted by the addition of a touch of salt. Easy on the eye, a great texture, delightful to eat.

Organic milk chocolate bar with salted caramelised almonds and rosemary

WORLD SILVER – Flavoured milk bars

Rococo's Salted Caramelised Almonds & Rosemary

Rococo’s Salted Caramelised Almonds & Rosemary

Another great balance of texture and flavour here. The creamy chocolate is enhanced by tasty chips of roasted nuts.

The rosemary is chopped super fine, to balance well and compliment the other flavours. Great Halon Mon sea salt lifts the whole into a munchable treat.



Paul A Young (United Kingdom)

Paul A. Young, Sea Salted Caramels.

Paul A. Young, Sea Salted Caramels.

With a background in pastry, including reaching the heights of head pastry chef for Marco Pierre White, Paul A Young is widely regarded as the alchemist of the UK chocolate scene. He has a reputation for combining the most outré combinations of ingredients. While it is true that he is highly experimental, he is also a master in the art of balancing flavours. His chocolates often include unusual and exciting tastes, and he is continually working on and launching new recipes.

An artisan in the true sense of the word, Paul A Young and his team make all his chocolates by hand in the kitchens of his four London boutiques. They benefit from the proximity of the kitchens to the customers, in that this allows a very direct relationship with what customers are enjoying and responding to. Production can be based on what is selling on the shop floor, and it is easy to gage the success of new recipes.

Paul’s success is not dependent on novel recipes, as is borne out by his two gold awards at The International Chocolate Awards 2012 World finals. Winning overall for the Unflavoured Dark Ganache with his 85% raw Ecuadorian truffle and the Flavoured Dark Caramel with his sea-salted caramel demonstrates excellence with the classics, sufficient to reach the top spots in two of the largest categories for chocolates. He is unique in his achievement of keeping both gold awards from last year.

These awards join the many that Paul has previously won, including those for his first cookbook, Adventures with Chocolate.

Paul opened his first shop in London’s Camden Passage in 2006. With his subsequent shops in The Royal Exchange, Wardour Street and the latest boutique and café in Heal’s, he has created a quartet that contribute excellence and innovation to the gourmet life of London.

Paul is a passionate advocate of fine chocolate, and is vocal and visible in his support of fine chocolate makers, furthering education about chocolate and chocolate making. He is often to be found getting his hands dirty with enchanted punters at chocolate events in the UK.


Raw Ecuadorian 85% dark chocolate truffle

WORLD GOLD – Unflavoured dark ganaches and truffles

The outstanding plain truffle of the competition, made with – no surprise – the winning chocolate, Pacari Raw, in this case the 85% version. Surprisingly not at all strong, a very light, delicate water ganache filled truffle dusted with cocoa powder.

Sea salted caramel

WORLD GOLD  – Dark caramels

Caramels come in different styles, from thick to runny, this classic in its class is certainly on the runny side, with a perfect dash of salt wrapped up in a shiny domed coating that breaks easily as you bite. Eating in one go is a requirement!

Passion fruit curd

WORLD GOLD  – Mixed dark, milk or white ganaches and truffles

This new category had a wealth of intriguing entries. Paul’s winning beautifully executed piece marries the fruity greenness of a fine Ecuadorian Raw 70% chocolate with the fruity zing of a wonderfully fresh passion fruit filling. The shell is crisp and fine, the white chocolate ganache centre is meltingly smooth.

A Giordano (Italy)

Classic handmade giandujotti from Giordano

Classic handmade giandujotti from Giordano

Started by Domenico Giordano in 1897 in the centre of Turin, Italy, A Giordano has more than a century of excellence in making Italian style chocolates and chocolate products. In 1964 the factory moved to Lieni, to facilitate increased demand in Italy and beyond. Their chocolates are even available in Japan. In 1970 the Faletti family took over the baton of what had been exclusively run by the Giordano family up to that point.

What makes A Giordano and its chocolates stand out are their attention to detail. The Giandujotti, and the Giacometta, which won the world gold award, are hand cut, modelled and wrapped in the traditional style by “giandujere”; women specially trained for the precise and delicate job.

They focus on using the very best ingredients, with much emphasis on the exceptional Piedmontese hazelnuts that are a characteristic of the very best Giandujotti. They choose to use cacao from the Ivory Coast and Ecuador.

In addition to Gold Award this year and last year from the International Chocolate Awards they won Master of Taste awards in 2011 and 2012 from the Slow Food Association.

A Giordano is a company making more than forty traditional products, which achieve excellence on the international stage. They are however very much Italian, from their championing of Italian recipes and ingredients, to their original shop in Turin. Open since their inception the shop is now a designated heritage site. Like the delicious Giacometta there is much to cherish about this chocolate company.



WORLD GOLD – Dark unflavoured nut pralines

A wonderful hand formed teardrop of Giordano’s award-winning gianduia, made extra irresistible by the incorporation of even more of those world class Piedmontese hazelnuts. Crunchy chips of the toasted nuts add texture and their stunning flavour to this classic recipe.

Gianduiotto a manno

WORLD SILVER – Unflavoured dark gianduiotti

Slowly pick at the gold foil wrapping, clearly wrapped by hand, to reveal a rough shaped upturned ‘boat’ of best quality Piedmont hazelnuts ground with cocoa mass and vanilla. The classic ‘gianduja’ nut chocolate recipe, made into a sticky, pure tasting delight.

Guido Castagna (Italy)

Guido Castagna opened his chocolate workshops in 2002 in Giaveno in his native Turin. He has quickly achieved excellence in his work and recognition for the exceptional traditional Piedmontese chocolates he makes.

He has won the “Eccelenza Artigiana” award for the Piedmontese region, and the Master of Taste from the Slow Food Association.

Both the awards won in 2012 from the International Chocolate Awards incorporated that classic ingredient of the region, hazelnuts. Guido Castagna uses the “Signora Tonda Gentile” hazelnut, selected for its exceptional quality. These were combined with dark chocolate to create prime examples of two classic Italian recipes.

In 2013 he has expanded on this, showing equal brilliance with pistachio nuts. Overall this year he took home an outstanding four gold awards at world level.

An exacting and brilliant technician, with a palate to match, this fastidious chocolatier is doing all within his power to achieve the highest possible standards and create the most exceptional products. He works within the classical Italian canon, using the forms and techniques that would be expected, such as nut pastes rather than the French style filling of a ganache. But what Castagna has then gone on to do is innovate with these. He does this in such a way as to create something really new, without losing the qualities of the classics. For example, his filled chocolates infused with unusual combinations of spices are unexpected and gorgeously full flavoured, while remaining a lesson in restraint and balance.

Another rare and outstanding aspect of his work and chocolates is the couverture he uses.  Castagna makes all of them from the bean, creating various different single cacao origin chocolates on site in his workshop in Giaveno. Their excellence underpins all that he makes and sets him in a class apart from the majority of his peers.



WORLD GOLD – Unflavoured dark gianduiotto

Guido Castagna's Giandujotti

Guido Castagna’s Giandujotto

Perfectly shaped and completely made by Castagna, incorporating chocolate made from cacao from Chuao, Venezuela.

Castagna’s approach is a light recipe that easily dissolves in the mouth delivering delicate and balanced chocolate hazelnut flavours far removed from industrial versions.



Pralina cannella e calendula

WORLD GOLD – Dark flavoured nut pralines, gianduja & enrobed whole nuts

Combining exceptional knowledge and mastery of the classic techniques and ingredients of Italian chocolate, here Guido shows how to use them to innovate to glorious effect. The filling is a nut paste, the traditional centre of Italian filled chocolates. In this case it is rich with the very best IPG hazelnuts. All the chocolate used is the finest quality, created from the bean in-house by Guido. In this case a 64% dark that perfectly compliments the other flavours. These elements are joined by both calendula, a flower both warm and aromatic in flavour, and cinnamon, whose warmth creates a mellow sweetness. This is both surprising, and surprisingly easy to love.

Pralina ovetto ripieno

WORLD GOLD – Milk unflavoured cremino

This is a very pure offering from Guido, clean and smooth, rich in the green nuttiness of great pistachio nuts. It is elegant, gentle even, and very tasty.

Crema di nocciole +55

WORLD GOLD – Dark spreads

Guido Castagna's 55+ spread

Guido Castagna’s 55+ spread

An up to date version of a classic gianduja spread, light, delicate and airy, presented in stylish modern packaging.

It is rich in the very best nuts, at 68%, and their flavour really shines. Exceptional quality ingredients make this a truly fine gourmet version of this comforting favourite.



Beta5 (Canada)

Adam Chandler, co-owner and chocolatier of Beta5 had worked as a pastry chef for ten years prior to opening Beta5 in 2011. He had long wanted his own place to make fine chocolates and pastry. In a short period of time he has gained a fantastic reputation for his brand, with Dessert Professional Magazine declaring them one of the North America’s top ten chocolatiers.

The name Beta5 refers to the form 5 beta crystal structure that is the most stable crystalline structure for chocolate, the ideal temper that will create a really fine ‘snap’. In keeping with the name their work is precise, with clean geometric shapes and a strong visual style that makes striking use of colour.

Another signature of this talented Vancouver based chocolatier, is an intriguing and even eccentric adoption of flavours. With two of the award winners incorporating variously Fisherman’s Friend cough sweets and olives, they are certainly thinking outside the box, and doing so with great balance and success.


Fisherman’s Friend

WORLD GOLD – Flavoured dark ganaches and truffles

BETA 5's Fisherman's Friend

BETA 5’s Fisherman’s Friend

BETA5’s Fisherman’s Friend filled dark ganache is a wonderful example of the kind of innovation this chocolatier is doing so very well.

An elegant shiny blue dome, and the inclusion of the famously fiery cough sweets, are not something you expect to find in a fine chocolate.

What is delightfully surprising is how successful it is. A crisp dark shell is filled with a smooth creamy ganache infused with the unmistakable familiar taste of Fisherman’s Friend. Balanced with good dark chocolate, and used with subtlety, it is refreshing, even while instantly recognizable, an unexpectedly happy inclusion.

The Whole Cherry

WORLD SILVER – Flavoured dark ganaches and truffles

BETA 5's The Whole Cherry

BETA 5’s The Whole Cherry

Enrobed in dark chocolate BETA5 have used both the tang of a cherry balsamic and the nuttier note of cherry pit to explore the flavours of cherry in chocolate. There is also a nice textural contrast between a jelly and a ganache.





Black Olive Bar

WORLD SILVER – Flavoured white bars

Another surprise from BETA5, the inclusion of candied olives in a white chocolate bar is a revelation. The bland sweetness of white chocolate is transformed into something quite irresistible with the incorporation of pieces of olive; their gently savory flavor balancing the sweetness, while the creamy mild chocolate tames their intensity.

MoRoCo Chocolat (Canada)

Based in Toronto, this chocolate boutique is at the centre of a venue incorporating a full restaurant as well as takeaway retail. This allows the owners to give full rein to their love of all things chocolate.

The boutique sells chocolates made without any artificial ingredients in their in house lab. Pastries and desserts are served in the restaurant, as well as sipping chocolate, the indulgence of pure molten white, milk or dark chocolate.

Their filled chocolates come in ranges to suit all tastes, from classics to more adventurous and modern flavour combinations, such as those that have won their awards for them this year.

Using couverture from Valrhona, Lindt and Michel Cluizel this Canadian chocolate venue has been spreading chocolate enjoyment since 2008.


Sub ‘Lime’

WORLD GOLD – White ganaches and truffles

MoRoCo's Sub'Lime' Truffle

MoRoCo’s Sub’Lime’ Truffle

A beautifully made and balanced white chocolate ganache.

It is fresh and delicate, the lime and alcohol ensuring there is no risk of over-sweetness, while never being overpowering. Delightful, fresh flavored and exceptionally pretty.





WORLD SILVER – White ganaches and truffles

MoRoCo's Fujian

MoRoCo’s Fujian

Another visually stunning chocolate from MoRoCo.

This infuses the creamy white chocolate ganache with the gentle and aromatic notes of Chinese white tea and a complimentary touch of mint.




FIKA choklad (United States)

Founder and co-owner Lars Åkerlund opened the first FIKA shop on Central Park South in Manhattan in 2006. His aim and achievement has been to create a little bit of Scandinavia that is quite at home in Manhattan. The philosophy of the business is encapsulated in the name. FIKA translates as taking a break during the day, for coffee, for conversation, for a little something to eat to revive and delight.

The flavours and heritage of the coffee, foods and chocolate they sell and serve is Swedish, and all made daily with an emphasis on quality and staying local. The milk is from a farm in upstate New York, even all the packaging is made in the US.

The chocolate is in the hands of Håkan Mårtensson, who was a successful and celebrated chocolatier in Sweden before he took the helm at FIKA choklad in September 2006.

Now with four shops in New York, and a fifth location in Tribeca that houses a shop and their factory, they are spreading their message about taking that life enhancing moment and filling it with something delicious across the capitol.


Quinoa Hazelnut

WORLD GOLD – Milk nut based pralines

Fika choklad's Quinoa Hazelnut

FIKA choklad’s Quinoa Hazelnut

A crowd-pleasingly scrumptious offering from FIKA choklad. A baton of hazelnut gianduia is given a fabulous texture and toasted flavours by the inclusion of puffed caramelized quinoa. A hint of salt cuts richness and the result is an utterly moreish nutty treat.





Goat Cheese Truffle

WORLD SILVER – Mixed ganaches

FIKA choklad’s Goats Cheese Truffle

A combination of the earthy tang of goats cheese, the caramelized milk of Norwegian brown cheese in a wonderfully smooth Ivoire white chocolate ganache is enrobed by a good dark chocolate. The result is something interesting, complex even, and quite delicious.




L’Artigiano dei filli Gardini snc (Italy)



A family business, L’Artigiano dei filli Gardini is currently run by the grandchildren of the original founders. What Filippo and Mentana started as a bakery in the 50s, grew into a pastry business in the sixties under their daughter Maria. In 1987 the third generation began to focus on chocolate, and called their business ‘L’Artigiano’ (The Artisan) as it reflected their intentions and the identity of their business and their products.

They now own and run their chocolate workshops in Forli and have built a showroom, to allow others to learn about artisanal chocolate production, and taste their chocolates direct. While they sell through specialist retailers and suppliers in Italy, Europe and the United States, they aim to use only Italian produce wherever possible for the inclusions in their chocolates.

Both awards won in the International Chocolate Awards were for their ‘Cremino’, a traditional Italian creation, involving layers of soft chocolate, milk, white, or dark. Both the award winners had a flavoured layer complementing a milk chocolate base. In texture, taste and innovative recipes they are world class.


Cremino liquerizia

WORLD GOLD – Milk flavoured cremino

Gardini's Cremino Latte Fondente Con Liquerizia

Gardini’s Cremino Latte Fondente Con Liquerizia

A modern touch to the fine two-tone milk and dark cremino, adding ground liquorice to create a tantalising combination with a real edge.







Cremino amarena

WORLD SILVER – Milk flavoured cremino


Gardini’s Cremino Latte & Fondente Con Amerene

A double layer of dark and milk fine gianduja in a large size cremino, best eaten slicing with a knife. Sour cherries in the centre add a classic touch to a pure hazelnut flavour.






Fondente al caffè cardamomo

WORLD SILVER – Flavoured dark bars

Gardini fondente caffe cardamomo

Gardini’s Fondente caffè, cardamomo

This thoroughly enjoyable bar from Gardini combines the natural partners coffee and cardamom with a great, smooth dark chocolate.






Centho Chocolates (Belgium)

Centho Chocolates was founded by Els and Geert Decoster in their home country of Belgium in 2000, they opened their shop in Duisberg in central Belgium in 2002. Their desire is to focus on and showcase the particular and diverse flavour notes of origin chocolate.

This work is very close to their hearts, even the name of the company reflects how personal an endeavour it is to them; Centho is an amalgamation of the names of their daughter Centa and their son Thomas. In support of the world’s children they insist that their supplying have signed the charters that state their distance from and rejection of child labour.

Geert Decoster trained in Belgium and France, including a stage at the prestigious school of Jean Pierre Richart. Prior to setting up Centho he was the master baker and chocolatier of his own pastry shop. His eminence in chocolate was recognized by a stint as jury of The World Chocolate Masters in 2004. His importance within his own country has been recognized by his election as a member of the BBCW, the Belgian government’s initiative to promote Belgian chocolatiers and confectioners worldwide.



WORLD GOLD – Milk caramels

A good rich caramel from Salin, with a pleasing semi-firm texture. The salt inclusion is perfectly balanced and the milk chocolate shell is a perfect match of chocolate to the gently intense caramel centre.

Pasticceria Vacchieri Marco (Italy)

Vacchieri's Dolci Intuizioni

Vacchieri’s Dolci intuition for Crema gianduia

Marco Vacchieri, whose pasticceria in Torino is a treasure trove of indulgent delights, was born to work with chocolate and pastry. His father was a pastry chef, and his uncle a master artisan chocolate maker. So despite studying classics and economics he gave in to the pull of the sweet stuff, and there is no question that in a pastry kitchen he found his natural home.

He has been in his current smart shop since 2008, where a full range of pastry and chocolates are not only for sale but made in the on-site kitchens. Some pastry chefs are good at one thing, maybe two if they really try. Marco Vacchieri is a master of many. He is rightly famous for his ‘meringate’, a cake of meringues and cream that comes in many different equally tempting flavours. The ice creams he makes are the cause of many a pilgrimage.

His chocolates are also truly fabulous, mostly using a well-rounded and deep dark couverture. This is a good match for his chosen added flavours. The chocolates are rich in the various nuts that are the natural choice of ingredient of Italy. Pistachios make a frequent appearance, the use of bitter almond is something of a signature flavour note, and of course fine local Piedmontese hazelnuts form the basis of many of his delicious chocolate creations.


Dolci intuition for Crema gianduia

WORLD GOLD – Milk spreads

Peerless Piedmontese hazelnuts are at the heart of this delicious and indulgent spread. Here they are combined with excellent chocolate in a smooth and spreadable cream. The addition of milk adds to the comforting warmth of this delicious indulgence.