Attention Chocolatiers: Academy of Chocolate Awards 2011

Posted by in Misc on January 28 2011 | Leave A Comment

If you work in the chocolate industry, then you’re probably already aware that the Academy of Chocolate Awards 2011 is coming up very soon.

This year, I’ve been asked to be on the organising committee for the awards, which is not only a great honour, but will hopefully help us to reach a wider audience than ever before. To that end, I’d like to put out a request to all the fabulous chocolate makers and chocolatiers that read Chocablog to enter your chocolates into the awards!

There are ten categories:

  • Golden Bean – Best Dark Bean To Bar
  • Best Flavoured Dark Chocolate Bar
  • Best Milk Chocolate Bar – Bean To Bar
  • Best Flavoured Milk Chocolate Bar
  • Best Filled Chocolate – Flavoured Or Plain
  • Best Dark Truffle (Unflavoured)
  • Best Milk Truffle (Unflavoured)
  • Best Drinking Chocolate
  • Best Packaging – Bars
  • Best Packaging – Filled Chocolate

The awards are open to producers anywhere in the world, so if you make something that fits into one of those categories, please do consider entering. I’d love to see as wide a range as possible, and hopefully a few surprises!

You can get find more details of the awards and what’s required here, and you can download a PDF entry form here. If you’ve got any other questions about The Academy or the awards, contact Kate Johns at kate@chocolate-week.co.uk.

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Comments On This Post

  1. Wow. I would have loved to apply .. but the fees are consequent. Also, i’ve already sent a box to CHOCABLOG last year and it has been lost in the mail appearently. :(

  2. Chocolate Lover

    The awards for the chocolate makers organised by themselves to award temselves and their press officers is back. On one hand saying they want to educate the public about chocolate, on the other allowing the public little of no knowledge about how they are judged and how the people are connected to each other. Or if any judges received free samples, hosiptality, gifts, foreign trips courtesy of the winners at any time. Or if the chocolates were identifiable during the tasting, or who counts up the votes? And how it is possible to reasonbly taste around 300 products in 2 days whilst retaining a reasonable sense of taste? Not to mention the public are not allowed to know how many of the entries got an award and how many received no awards! The only reason to keep all this private and not public, yet push the award logo to the public just shows the contempt of the makers/award givers for the public who you want to impress with your badge. It’s about time these PR stunts stop and people invest in making the best tasting chocolate.

  3. Dom (Chocablog Staff)

    Ok Chocolate Lover, you seem a little cynical about the awards, but I’ll try to address some of your concerns.

    In the past, I’ve wondered about how The Academy works, but this year I’m helping organise the awards, so I have a fairly good view of how everything works, and how the process has developed over the years (I’m one of two people on the organising committee who are not members of The Academy).

    To answer some of your points directly:

    1. I’m happy to tell you anything I can about the process and how the awards are judged. Most of the judges for this year’s awards have not yet been confirmed, but I can tell you we’re expecting to have over 40 judges, consisting of journalists, pastry chefs, food industry professionals and bloggers (amongst others). In fact, the only real factor that would rule someone out as a judge entirely is if they are an associate of any of the entrants (that includes PRs).

    And if there were any personal biases, I would expect them to be outweighed by group opinion, given the number of judges involved.

    2. Judges and organising committee members do not receive anything, and in most cases it’s unlikely that entrants will even know who judges are (and vice versa).

    3. As a blogger, I’m happy to be as open as possible about the judging process. It’s important that people understand how the awards are chosen, but plans have not yet been finalised. I fully intend to blog about my experience after the awards.

    4. I wasn’t involved last time, but I do know that the judging took place over 4 days for the previous awards and this year will follow the same format. Yes, it’s a lot to get through and a challenge, but I’m absolutely confident we’ll get through everything this year, just as last time.

    5. A full list of awards will be posted on the AoC website, and they’ll be perfectly happy to let you know how many entries there were after the awards. You seem to be of the opinion that this is some secretive process that nobody’s allowed to know about, but I can assure you that’s absolutely not the case. If it were, they definitely wouldn’t have asked a blogger to help organise it!

    6. It’s absolutely not a PR stunt, it’s about raising awareness of real chocolate and giving credit to those who are making it happen.

  4. Chocolate Lover

    1. It is fact that on their own website a winner is also listed as a judge. The same chocolate maker also got a special one off award. I have never ever seen a complete list of judges published, such is the “transparency” of the AOC. This is called secrecy. When you wave an “award” in front of the public, the public has the right to know what that award means. Never has the public been told clearley what the award means. There is a clear intent that this is a marketing ploy by people paid by chocolate makers or the makers themselves to create a shiny award that can be stuck on packets of chocolate to get people to buy that chooclate. And for chocolate makers to say they are “award winning.”

    Now if this was done honestly not under the lie of “promoting better chocolate and awareness” and respected the most important person in the chocolate business, us the eaters, no problem. But the neglegt and sheer arrogance and contempt for the public is inexcusable. The public have always been kept unaware of everything except the “buy me, not the other chocolate next to me on the shelf” award.

    If the average shopper sees a chocolate with an shiny gold award on the packaging, next to a bar without awards, you are exploiting the public’s trust and ignorance (which is what is intended). If this was not intended it would have always been clear who was entered and who did not get an award. This is also unfair to other chocolate makers who’s ethics or focus only chocolate, not marketing ploys, do not allow them to enter such these type of awards. How do I know if that chocolates without the shiny gold label was in or out of the AoC judging? I don’t because they never publish a list of who didn’t win. There should also be a clear explanation of how the chocolates were judged (the shopper is not told by the Secret Society of Chocolate Makers if the award is only for taste or takes into account packaging, looks, mounding ect; if the tasting was blind and if blind really means just taken out of the packet) how is this promoting transparency?

    2. From the website “Chocolatiers also join the judging panel but are not permitted to judge any of the categories that they enter.” It seems that the chocolatiers still can’t keep their noses out of the awards. But! Confusingly on another page! “Any producers and chocolatiers (including members of the Academy) and their associates who enter the Awards are strictly barred from the judging. ” If this is true perhaps it is the first time in the incestious history of AoC as far as I can tell. Still no mention of how the judging is done and if there are votes who is counting the votes up.

    4. It has never been made public whether winners pay to enter, or pay to use the logos on their packets of chocolate (as the Great Taste Awards do), or how the awards are funded.

    5. Are you serious about about 100+ tastings of chocolates and distinctly flavoured chocolates in a day whilst maintaining a good palate lol. We should leave this to the readers of this page to decide I guess.

    6. Anyone entering can send in superiour batches.

    7. You said the judges and organisers receive nothing. Thorntons and Paul Young’s PR officer is paid by them, I’m sure. You yourself may have received generous free samples or offers to visit places and although it may not bias you, it should be openly declared, especially now they are banding around the word “transparency.”

  5. Chocolate Lover

    I may be mistaken and if so correct me, but why does the 2011 entry form say category “Bean to Bar” and then below “Open to chocolate bars and tablets that have been made from cocoa beans, liquor, paste or courverture.” I would have thought if the bar is made from coverture it is not bean to bar? Thanks.

    • Dom (Chocablog Staff)

      I think you’ve read it wrong. The bean to bar category says:

      Open 
to
 manufacturers
 who
 use 
cocoa 
beans 
(as 
opposed 
to cocoa 
liquor, 
paste 
or
 couverture)
 as
 their raw material

      The flavoured bar category is also open to those using liquor, baste or couverture.

  6. Chocolate Lover

    Hi, looking again after reading your reply. You are right it says that in the Dark Bean To Bar section. However if you look in the Milk Bean To Bar section it says (coped and pasted from page) 3. BEST MILK CHOCOLATE BAR – BEAN TO BAR
     Open to chocolate bars and tablets that have been made from cocoa beans, liquor, paste or
    courverture. Please specify which of these has been used.

  7. Chocolate Lover

    I also assume there is an error here too in the entry form and it should say perhaps “stipulations as category 3″ instead: 4. BEST FLAVOURED MILK CHOCOLATE BAR
     Stipulations as Category 4.
     The chocolate must contain only natural ingredients as flavourings.
     Organic flavoured milk chocolate bars should also be entered in this category.

    • Dom (Chocablog Staff)

      Ah yes, thanks. Typos that we had spotted, but the version of the entry form on the site hadn’t been updated yet. I’m told it should be now.

  8. Chocolate Lover

    Welcome. If the awards are transparent, I would really like to know how many chocolate makers that entered the awards over the years came away with no award. I’m really curious about that.

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