The Vegan Society Aotearoa held the first ever Vegan Chocolate Awards on 29th April at The Butcher’s Son in Auckland. With over 100 different chocolate entries the illustrious judges had a tasty, yet difficult task ahead of them. Chocolate makers from all over the world entered the Awards with the hope of becoming a winner in one of seven categories and Foundry, with their “Kilombero Valley Tanzania”, winner of the Bean to Bar category, was the overall Supreme winner.

The judging panel included Executive Chef Jasbir Jazz Kaur, Chocolatier and founder of The Chocolate Bar Luke Owen-Smith, Pastry Chef and Cake Maker Sara Kidd, and Food and Beverage judge Aaron Pucci.

With a surging interest in plant-based foods, the time for Vegan Chocolate Awards has come to fruition. Plant milk chocolates are becoming ever more popular and the range and quality is increasing every year. Not just bars either, the rise in bon bons, truffles, inclusions and flavoured chocolate suitable for vegans, those allergic to dairy and everyone else is being celebrated in these awards.

Judge Jasbir “Jazz” Kaur said: “It was an amazing event and no one could ever think they were all vegan chocolate, many competitors had the desirable features of classic chocolate – for example that meltability, the quality of the chocolate coating your tongue and leaving you wanting more. While others had structural integrity, silky liquefying characteristics and were very innovative.”

This year’s judges were Executive Chef Jasbir Jazz Kaur, Chocolatier and founder of The Chocolate Bar Luke Owen-Smith, Pastry Chef and Cake Maker Sara Kidd and Food and Beverage judge Aaron Pucci who volunteered their time to eat their way through over 100 types of chocolate non-stop for three and a half hours at the inaugural Vegan Chocolate Awards.

Plant-based foods are sustainable, healthy eating, good for you and good for the planet. The growing number of Vegan Food Awards show how tasty and true to form plant-based foods can be.

The winners are:

Supreme Winner

Foundry; “Kilombero Valley Tanzania”

Winner of the Bean to Bar

Judges were so impressed that just two ingredients could create such lingering flavours and incredible complexity of favour, depth and quality. Were surprised so much can be done with just two elements.

Dark Chocolate

Winner; Wellington Chocolate Factory, “Peru Dark”

Judges said – Super smooth, no bitterness. Great mouth feel, beautiful temper and very appealing aroma.

Runner Up; Lucid Chocolatier, “Vrae Dark”

Judges said; Smooth and great continuous flavour

Milk Chocolate

Winner; Wellington Chocolate Factory, “Coconut Milk”

Judges said; colour, aroma and shine were excellent.

Runner Up; Veggo, “Whole Hazelnut”

Judges said; Smooth finish. Great mouth feel. Enjoyable flavour.

Bean to Bar

Winner; Foundry, “Kilombero Valley Tanzania”

Judges said Amazing depth of flavour. Perfect, beautiful texture. Fantastic complex nuance.

Runner Up; Lucid, “Earl Grey”

Judges said Amazing complexity of flavours. Delicate silky-smooth texture. Fascinating flavour – so much going on.

Bon Bons

Winner; Mind Your Temper, “Raspberry Cheesecake”

Judges said; Perfect shine and design. Excellent Colour usage as representation of what to expect for flavour. Not too sweet. Great tempering and execution of flavour and texture.

Runner Up; Schoc, “Passionfruit Coconut”

Judges said A fresh perspective on flavour and design The shine and execution was lovely. Well balanced flavour.

Caramel

Winner; Honest Chocolate, “Sea Salt Caramel”

Judges said Excellent caramel flavour and mouth feel. Perfect salt balance. Great temper

Runner Up; Mind Your Temper, “Caramel Dragees”

Judges said Great chewy caramel texture. Long palette but not too sweet. Innovative design.

Flavoured/ Inclusions

Winner; Flint, “Almond Butter”

Judges said Beautiful depth and texture. Complex, subtle with smooth melting in the mouth.

2 Runners Up

Bennetto, “Raspberries in Dark Chocolate”

Judges said; Vibrant! Great raspberry flavour. Well made. Fresh, bright. Great base chocolate. Very morish!

Wellington Chocolate Factory, “Anzac”

Judges said; Great combination of flavours. High quality ingredients. Rich coconut and crisp inclusions

Drinking Chocolate

Winner; Bennetto, “Superfood Drinking Chocolate”

Judges said; Good depth, strong chocolate flavour. Good after taste.

Runner Up; Wellington Chocolate Factory “Drinking Chocolate”

Judges said; Good balance. Pleasant flavour.

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