35 countries participated, and 146 cocoa beans were sampled. Ultimately, 50 high quality cocoa samples were selected, representing the best flavor, quality, and diversity, and the geographic and genetic origins of samples were processed into chocolate. These chocolate samples were tasted blindly by a professional jury of 26 chocolatiers and sensory evaluation experts. Of the 50 chocolate samples, 17 International Cocoa Awards were selected and celebrated at the Salon du Chocolat in Paris on Wednesday October 28, 2015.
Winners for the Central America/Caribbean were, 1. Honduras (Fundación Hondureña de Investigación Agricola (FHIA), 2. Nicaragua (Ingemann Fine Cocoa S.A.), and 3. Trinidad and Tobago (La Reunion Estate, San Juan Estate).
Maribel Lieberman, a well-known Honduran chocolatier and one of the Honduran Country Brand Ambassadors, indicated that she views the award as a source of great happiness and pride for all her fellow Hondurans. “I use Honduran cocoa because its quality and flavor is unlike any other”. MarieBelle Chocolates is proud to be the U.S.’s only source of some wonderful unique treats from Honduras. “Personally, I am very proud of the products my country produces, and how they are finally receiving some well-deserved global recognition.” Lieberman feels Honduran cocoa is ripe to soon be available in elite locations around the globe.
Cocoa of Excellence is a joint initiative of Bioversity International and Event International (organizers of the Salon du Chocolat). The biennial Cocoa of Excellence award seeks to promote the professionalization and sustainability of the cocoa supply chain by recognizing and promoting its quality around the world. Additional information on the Cocoa of Excellence Program is available at www.cocoaofexcellence.org.