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Craft Chocolat Challenge

Chocolate Contest for Craft Chocolate Makers by a Craft Chocolate Maker

In 2022 the Craft Chocolat Challenge was born.  We call it a challenge because it is more than just a regular contest.  It is a challenge against yourself (a chocolate maker) as much as a contest against other chocolate makers.  We provide feedback for all bars entered as well as prizes for winners.  More details and past winners can be found on this page.

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How It Works

This challenge is for Bean-to-Bar Chocolate Makers ONLY. It is geared to be more beneficial for small companies but any size maker worldwide may enter.

 

Entrants must meet the craft chocolate criteria we have put in place for this challenge. That simply put is, you need to know where your cacao is from and state that. (White Chocolate excluded) If you aren't big enough to do your own roasting/cracking/winnowing then Nib to Bar is fine, we all had to start somewhere as long as the cacao is ethically sourced and stated.  (Blends are accepted, state every origin) You may NOT start with a liquor or any other form that has already been made by another maker.  If you've entered the contest before you may NOT enter the same bar previously entered.

 

We allow up to 4 entries per maker with a maximum of 1 entry per category. There is no fee to enter or register.  We require 8 bars for each entry to give to the panel of judges. They need to be full size, meaning the size you sell them at. If you have packaging for your bar then please send them in that as we will provide feedback for that as well. (Packaging will not count towards scoring for the contest) If you don't have packaging then you must provide an ingredients label on each bar for food safety.

 

We will provide you with all of the feedback we require judges to provide us with and these individuals will be from various backgrounds. We do not reveal the individual but you will know information about them so you can best understand their critique.  

 

There are four categories, Dark Chocolate - Milk Chocolate - White Chocolate - Inclusions.  This challenge is free of charge and made sustainable by sponsorships and/or the host (us) paying the expenses.

Our goal is to help the growth of Craft Chocolate by helping the maker.  We are not trying to label the "World's Best Chocolate", but rather help you make your best chocolate.  The judges will experience your bar as if they have purchased it.  They will study the packaging, the mold, and of course the actual bar from taste, texture, temper, mouthfeel, innovation, and presentation.  The judges will relay their preferences to you and you may do as you please with that information.  In our first contest we were able to correct some major packaging errors for a company and assist another with better mold ideas as well as recipe suggestions to name a few examples.  If there is something specific you are wanting feedback about we will note that and make sure the judges are aware of those desires.

Aside from the feedback, the actual competition is very exciting.  Each category has a 1st, 2nd, & 3rd place winner with no ties.  There is also a Top Overall 1st, 2nd, & 3rd place winner with all the categories combined.  This is a head to head contest against your peers.  The feedback will show you where you are overall as a chocolate maker, but the contest will show how strong a certain bar is against another.

For further information please check the FAQ on this page or send us a message through e-mail, Facebook or Instagram.  If you would like to become a sponsor of this event please contact us, we are actively seeking sponsorship for the 2023 program.

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Kentucky Living Magazine

Craving Craft Chocolate in Beattyville

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Edible Kentucky &

Southern Indiana

2022 Craft Chocolat Challenge Recap

2023 Judging Panel

Judge 1 Profile

Chocolate Maker/Chocolatier

Preferred Cuisine: Italian

Preferred Chocolate: Milk Chocolate

Preferred Beverages: Red Wine, Vodka w/ Red Bull, Not a beer drinker

Judge 2 Profile

Chocolate Maker/Pastry Chef

Preferred Cuisine: Japanese

Preferred Chocolate: Dark Milk Chocolate

Preferred Beverages: Tea

Judge 3 Profile*

Chocolate Revewier

Preferred Cuisine: I've traveled and eaten great cuisine all over the world, and I love it all

Preferred Chocolate: Usually dark, but I am all in on any well-made chocolate

Preferred Beverages:  Yerba mate or flavored sparkling water

Judge 4 Profile

Chocolate Journalist

Preferred Cuisine: Thai

Preferred Chocolate: dark milk with sea salt.

Preferred Beverages: any full-bodied red wine

Judge 5 Profile

Chocolate Maker/Chocolatier

Preferred Cuisine: Cajun

Preferred Chocolate: Peru Ucayali 70% Dark

Preferred Beverages: Booze forward Cocktails, Italian Reds

Judge 6 Profile

Chocolate Reviewer

Preferred Cuisine: Indian

Preferred Chocolate: Dark (in the 70% range) with sea salt

Preferred Beverages: Hot Chocolate, of course!

Judge 7 Profile

Graphic Designer

Preferred Cuisine:  I love them all!

Preferred Chocolate: Dark Chocolate around 70% cacao

Preferred Beverages:

Beer - Dark (porters and stouts)

Spirits - High Proof/Barrel Proof Bourbons

Judge 8 Profile

Chocolate Lover

Preferred Cuisine: American

Preferred Chocolate: Dark

Preferred Beverages: Orange Juice/Water

Judge 9 Profile

Chocolate Journalist & Experienced Chocolate Judge 

Preferred Cuisine: Comida tipica y criolla (typical local wherever I am)

Preferred Chocolate: Unusual Flavorings and Inclusions

Preferred Beverages: Coffee & Fermented

Judge 10 Profile

Chocolate Lover/Customer

Preferred Cuisine: Mexican/Indian

Preferred Chocolate: Milk Chocolate with Peanut Butter

Preferred Beverages: Dr. Pepper/Light Coffee

Judge 11 Profile

Chocolate Lover/Chef

Preferred Cuisine: Mediterranean

Preferred Chocolate: Dark with Coconut

Preferred Beverages: Mexican Fruit Water/Tea

2023 Winners

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2023 Sponsors

2022 Judging Panel

Judge 1 Profile

Chocolate Maker/Chocolatier

Preferred Cuisine: Italian

Preferred Chocolate: Milk Chocolate

Preferred Beverages: Red Wine, Vodka w/ Red Bull, Not a beer drinker

Judge 2 Profile

Chocolate Maker/Pastry Chef

Preferred Cuisine: Japanese

Preferred Chocolate: Dark Milk Chocolate

Preferred Beverages: Tea

Judge 3 Profile *

Experienced Chocolate Maker

Preferred Cuisine: German

Preferred Chocolate: Dark Milk Chocolate with Hazelnut 

Preferred Beverages: Rioja Spanish wine

Judge 4 Profile *

Chocolate Revewier

Preferred Cuisine: I've traveled and eaten great cuisine all over the world, and I love it all.

Preferred Chocolate: Usually dark, but I am all in on any well-made chocolate

Preferred Beverages:  Yerba mate or flavored sparkling water

Judge 5 Profile

Chocolate Journalist

Preferred Cuisine: Thai

Preferred Chocolate: dark milk with sea salt.

Preferred Beverages: any full-bodied red wine

Judge 6 Profile

Chocolate Reviewer

Preferred Cuisine: Italian

Preferred Chocolate: Dark Chocolate

Preferred Beverages: Merlot

Judge 7 Profile

Food Magazine Editor

Preferred Cuisine: Being a vegetarian, I am drawn to cuisines that favor plant-based recipes and use of lots of spices, many Asian dishes. 

Preferred Chocolate: Traditionally, milk chocolate has been my go to, but I love unexpected flavor combinations.

Preferred Beverages: I'm not much of a drinker but the rise of drink mixers makes experimenting with cocktails and mocktails fun.

Judge 8 Profile

Culinary Writer

Preferred Cuisine: Sushi, true Italian, and Greek are some of my favorites.

Preferred Chocolate: Depends on my mood ;) Used to be strictly just white chocolate, but dark chocolate has recently won me over!

Preferred Beverages: Big red wine fan! 

Judge 9 Profile

National Food Writer/Influencer

Preferred Cuisine: Vietnamese/Korean.

Preferred Chocolate: White chocolate has been my favorite chocolate since childhood. It's delicious - and nostalgic.

Preferred Beverages: My favorite spirit is gin. As for beer, I like sours - and as for wine, I enjoy malbecs. 

Judge 10 Profile

National/Regional Writer

Preferred Cuisine: Mediterranean or Indian

Preferred Chocolate: Dark chocolate that's on the sweeter end of the flavor spectrum, especially when combined with other ingredients, flavors or nuts

Preferred Beverages: Pilsner / Cabernet / Kentucky Bourbon

Judge 11 Profile

Graphic Designer

Preferred Cuisine:  I love them all!

Preferred Chocolate: Dark Chocolate around 70% cacao

Preferred Beverages:

Beer - Dark (porters and stouts)

Spirits - High Proof/Barrel Proof Bourbons

Judge 12 Profile

Chocolate Lover/Customer

Preferred Cuisine: American

Preferred Chocolate: Dark

Preferred Beverages: Orange Juice/Water

Judge 13 Profile

Health Conscious Rock Climber

Preferred Cuisine: Latinoamerican

Preferred Chocolate: Dark Chocolate

Preferred Beverages: Margaritas

Judge 14 Profile

Health Conscious Rock Climber

Preferred Cuisine: Mexican

Preferred Chocolate: Milk Chocolate

Preferred Beverages: Margaritas

* Certified Chocolate Taster

2022 Winners