The International Chocolate Awards has announced its competition cycle for 2014 and organizers are looking for contestants. International Chocolate Awards logo

Semi-final regional competitions are scheduled for Europe (Feb. 27 – March 3) and the Americas (May 26); followed by the world final in October/November. Asian chocolate makers may choose which semi-final competitions to enter. 

The three-year-old competition awards medals in four product categories including: Plain/origin bars, flavored bars, filled chocolates and spreads.  

Also, in response to judges’ concerns and industry trends, four categories have been added, including: high percentage dark bars (>= 85 percent cocoa solids), rough ground plain/origin dark bars, alternative sugar dark bars and caramelized sugar or powdered milk white bars.  Additionally, filled flavor bars will be judged separately from bars with infusions or inclusions.

Reflecting the popularity of bean-to-bar craft chocolate making, the competition will no longer accept re-melted couverture entries in the plain bar category.

Also, new Grand Jury discretionary awards for innovation and for the use of local ingredients are being introduced to acknowledge chocolate making creativity and local sourcing.

The International Chocolate Awards was established by Martin Christy of the fine chocolate review site SeventyPercent  and Kate Johns, Director of Chocolate Week, who in 2004 had the original idea for this competition.

"The interest in the Awards keeps on growing, reflecting the attention that high-end craft chocolate is now attracting around the world. We're very happy to play our part in helping this movement grow," says Martin Christy.

The mission of the International Chocolate Awards is to provide an objective and professional basis for recognizing the world’s best artisan chocolate makers.  There are about 18 product categories, roughly divided between solid bars and filled chocolates. Filled chocolates are further divided into bonbons, pralines, ganaches, chocolate spreads and typical national chocolate products.

Among the 2013 Awards winners, Pacari Chocolate (Ecuador) and Patric Chocolate (US) won top honors in the dark plain/origin bar category and Pâtissier es koyama (Japan) and Rococo Chocolates (UK) won in the flavored bar category.

Curtis Vreeland, president of Vreeland & Associates, specializes in confectionery market research. He has been spotting trends in the premium confectionery category for Candy Industry Magazine for six years. He can be reached at