The country’s favourite awards are back for 2020 with the return of the NZ Chocolate Awards.

On the first Saturday of March an esteemed panel of food professionals lead by international chocolate judge Elle Coco will smell, taste and assess a selection of New Zealand chocolate to find and name the country’s finest. Gold, Silver and Bronze Medal winners will be named on Tuesday 31 March and the NZ Chocolate Awards Supreme Winner will be announced on Tuesday 21 April.

The NZ Chocolate Awards were successfully held in 2017 and 2018 and had a year off last year. Awards organisers extraordinaire Kathie Bartley and Nicola McConnell – owners of the Outstanding NZ Food Producer Awards – established the NZ Chocolate Awards in 2017 in partnership with Intermedia NZ. Late last year they acquired 100% ownership of the NZ Chocolate Awards and are racing to get everything ready to accept entries from the beginning of February.

Judging will be conducted across five categories; Bean-to-Bar, Flavoured Chocolate Bar, Filled Chocolate – truffles and bonbons, Bark or Brittle/Dipped Fruit and Nuts and an Open Class. All Gold Medal winners are considered for the Winner of their category. Top scoring Gold Medal chocolate from Bean-to-Bar, Flavoured Chocolate Bar, Filled Chocolate and Bark or Brittle/Dipped Fruit and Nuts will be re-tasted and the highest scoring will be awarded the title of NZ Chocolate Awards 2020 Supreme Winner.

Organiser Kathie Bartley says she’s excited about the return of the awards.”We hoping the Awards  support the country’s growing ranks of artisan chocolate producers by providing a focus on the quality of chocolate made in Aotearoa. We’re also keen to educate consumers and give them confidence in buying local craft chocolate by providing an assurance of quality by awarding Gold, Silver and Bronze Medals which chocolatiers can display on their packaging.”

“We’re especially excited about the timing of the Awards with medal winners being announced just before Easter. We hope its an opportunity for chocolate makers to showcase their creativity by entering their specially created Easter Eggs and Easter chocolate confectionary in the newly created Open Class judging category.”

Kathie thanked the NZ Chocolate Awards sponsors; NZ Life & Leisure, FMCG Business and Label & Litho. “Without these businesses supporting the Awards we would not be able to celebrate the finest  kiwi chocolate – which is exactly what’s we’re excited to do!”

Online entries for the 2020 NZ Chocolate Awards open on Saturday 1 February and must be completed by 5pm Friday 28 February 2020. The entry fee is $100 plus GST per product.

The NZ Chocolate Awards 2020 Supreme Winner will be announced at a Champions Party in Auckland on Tuesday 21 April, this is a joint event with the winners of the Outstanding NZ Food Producer Awards. Tickets to this party will be available for purchase, initially to Gold Medal winners and then extended to other medal winners and entrants and the public.

The Supreme Winner of the 2020 NZ Chocolate Awards will join esteemed alumni from the previous two Awards. 2018 Supreme Winner, Hogarth Chocolate, Buttered Toast & Sea Salt and in 2017 Best Chocolate Bar, Honest Chocolat Salted Caramel & Buckwheat Milk Chocolate Tablet and Best Filled Chocolate, Jo’s Sublime Chocolate Salted Sesame and Caramel Bonbon.