Inviting the scrutiny of chocolate professionals and having them pass judgment on our confections is a big step in our growth as artisan chocolatiers. This year, Darcy and I decided it was time to dip our toe in the competition waters, and entered two of our favorite chocolates into the International Chocolate Awards, Americas contest. We are particularly proud of our milk chocolate Pistachio Raspberry (with a little candied organic Meyer lemon) and our dark chocolate Almond Citrus (organic candied grapefruit) and submitted 40 of each in late May.
We learned in late June that we were among the finalists for our mixed chocolates shell/ganache category, which meant the chocolates had survived first a technical round, and then four further days of elimination. Winners would be announced June 24.
My darling mother had just arrived from France, so we decided to drive to New York for the event. Eight hours later (!), after a hellish crossing of the Holland tunnel, we got to Hoboken, NJ to the raucous gathering of chocolatiers and judges. The handing of medal certificates soon started, and when the head judge got to our category, we found out that Almond Citrus had gotten a bronze! And right after that Pistachio Raspberry had won a Silver! The eight hours of driving seemed like nothing after all, a worthy sacrifice to be able to hold the giant certificates! The drive home to Portland was easy, and we are thrilled. Ultimately, we know it is you, our customers, who decide on the excellence of our confections, but it isn't bad to know we also belong in that bigger world.