In November, we won a Gold medal at the NW Chocolate Alliance for our Pistachio Raspberry chocolate, out of 9 medals bestowed worldwide on chocolate confections. Catherine started with that chocolate back in 2014, when the business consisted of just 7 chocolates, and never pulled it out of rotation. Along with Passion Vanilla and Salted Caramel, the only other "survivors" of the early days, it is just too beloved to ever retire.
For the Academy of Chocolate (London, UK) Filled Confections 2022 competition, announced today, we decided to present mostly our newest creations, and we were generously rewarded for our efforts, with two Silver and three Bronze medals. Silver for Miso Sesame and Pistachio Raspberry (only oldie), and Bronze for Pineapple Black Pepper, Almond Calamansi and Coffee Toffee (mini mendiant).
The Academy is considered the platinum standard of chocolate competitions, in part because of their strict adherence to a judging protocol with 7 main components and more secondary considerations. These are followed to the letter by multiple judges for every entry (we had to submit 30 pieces of each chocolate). So there is a combined score that each chocolate has to meet to qualify for a bronze, a silver or a gold. Those that receive scores just short of medal level receive a commendation, as we did this year for Cassis Orange and Hazelnut Java. And unlike the Olympics, where there is only one of each, a number of chocolates can all earn a medal in the same category. This also means that some years there are no gold winners, as with caramel-based chocolates this year. So Sarah's Miso Sesame Silver medal actually represents the very best of the year in that category!
Last year, after we had entered the Academy's competition for the first time, with three Bronze medals (Yuzu, Turkish Coffee, Bananas Foster, plus a commendation for Mexican Hot Chocolate), we were blown away to receive detailed feedback for each of our entries. The Academy's judges wanted us to know what they liked, what they didn't, and how we could improve. Our Chocolatier's Choice collection, which we started in the fall, was done in direct response to their suggestion for more complex, multi-layered chocolates. That half the Chocolatier's Choice collection (Miso Sesame, Almond Calamansi) received medals, plus a commendation for Hazelnut Java, tells us how a competition can shape our learning and push us to greater creativity. But most importantly it gives you, our dear customers, better chocolates!