Who makes NZ’s best chocolates?

Who makes NZ’s best chocolates?

A new, young Wairarapa chocolatier has taken out the title of New Zealand’s best in the NZ Chocolate Awards.

Johnty Tatham, aka Lucid Chocolatier, is the NZ Chocolate Awards 2022 Supreme Winner with his Lucid Chocolatier 68% Port creation. He took the title ahead of 150 NZ-made chocolates from 31 chocolate makers and chocolatiers from across Aotearoa at the Awards, which were judged in Auckland at the beginning of October.

Johnty Tatham (aka Lucid Chocolatier) is the NZ Chocolate Awards 2022 Supreme Winner with his Lucid Chocolatier 68% Port creation.

Lucid Chocolatier 68% Port also won the and Bean to Bar Flavoured category. It is produced with nibs from Marañon cacao beans that were submerged in a 10-year-old Taylor’s Tawny Port. Lucid Chocolatier 68% Port retails at $22.

The judges raved about it saying “Outstanding aroma notes and flavour and complexity. Flawless texture with exceptional length. Perfect example of restraint.”

Lucid Chocolatier was also Bean to Bar Plain Category Winner for Bean to Bar Lucid Chocolatier 72% Santiago De Sisa. In addition to being the Supreme Winner and collecting two Category Winner titles Lucid Chocolatier won 14 medals at this year’s NZ Chocolate Awards; seven Gold Medals, four Silver Medals and three Bronze awards.

Lucid Chocolatier, founded in 2020, is a bean to bar maker meaning it controls the entire chocolate making process from sourcing cacao, roasting it, grinding and winnowing, tempering and making through to selling. All Lucid chocolates are made exclusively from Peruvian cacao, which Johnty chose after analysing nearly 30 samples from throughout world with the top three all coming from Peru.

Johnty’s rise to the top has been supported by two previous NZ Chocolate Awards Supreme Winners. His first chocolate making job was with Nico Bonnaud from Honest Chocolat, the inaugural Supreme Winner in the NZ Chocolate Awards 2017. An encouraging discussion with NZ Chocolate Awards 2020 Supreme Winner, David Herrick from Foundry Chocolate sold 23-year-old Johnty on the lifestyle of a boutique chocolatier.

Blending artisan chocolate and local boutique spirits was a winning combination with two category winners doing just this. La Petite Chocolate Dr Beak Premium Gin Dark Chocolate took out the title for Flavoured Chocolate Bar. The collaboration is handcrafted by artisan Wellington chocolatier La Petite, combining Dr Beak Gin botanicals with single origin, organic and fair-trade chocolate. La Petite Chocolate is made in Wellington and sold through their store in Thorndon and through selected stores across the country.

Aroha Chocolate Whiskey Hearts collected the title for Champion Filled Chocolates – Truffles & Bonbons. Handmade in Nelson each Aroha Chocolate heart starts with tempered Belgian chocolate which is filled with chocolate ganache infused with Waitui Single Malt, a local Tasman eight-year aged whiskey. Chocolate maker Aroha sell their chocolate online and offer tasting experiences.

Adelphi Fine Chocolate’s Florentine Chocolate Bark is made in Christchurch and was awarded the Chocolate Bark, Brittle or Dipped Fruit and Nut title. Adelphi Fine Chocolate is all handcrafted by Sarah Donovan, a 20-year veteran chocolate maker who honed her craft in Sydney and New Zealand. According to the judges, Adelphi Fine Chocolate, Florentine Chocolate Bark is “an exceptional product…beautifully balanced.” Adelphi Fine Chocolate is available at the Riverside Collective in Christchurch’s Riverside Market.

In the Kaipara region of Northland, Paparoa’s Tatiana White sells her creations under the Dekadenz label – the winner of the Christmas and Novelty category with Dekadenz Christmas Treat Individual Chocolate. Tatiana uses Callebaut Belgium Chocolate as the basis of her chocolates.

Warkworth is home to Chocolate Brown, winner of the Kids’ Favourite for their Chocolate Brown, Hedgehog White Chocolate. Chocolate Brown has a chocolate shop and a café, which are open seven days. Judged by chocolate lovers who are 12 and 14 they were excited by the white chocolate hedgehogs hand painted with brown spikes and loved what they described as the ‘delicious’ flavour.

Everyone loves the comfort of a rich hot chocolate, so it’s good to know the hotly contested category was won by Foundry Chocolate, Pinalum, Malekula Island, Vanuatu Drinking Chocolate. Judges thoroughly enjoyed this hot chocolate and said; “well developed, full flavour, balanced…. a lovely silky melt.”

NZ Chocolate Awards Director Kathie Bartley said it was wonderful to see so many new chocolate makers being recognised in the biennial awards. “It bodes well for chocolate lovers looking for special treats to enjoy and share over the coming gifting and summer season.”

A complete list of all winners including medal winners is on www.nzchocolateawards.co.nz and an online Christmas store featuring winners’ products will be available on this website from Monday 14 November.

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