NZ top chocolates named

This article was written by FMCG Business, and published at FMCG Business NZ.

(L-R) Supreme Award winner, Chocolatier Nico Bonnaud and Supreme Award winner, Joanne McAlpine of Jo’s Sublime Chocolate.

Following intensive tasting and judging of 125 chocolates, the country’s best have been named.

The Supreme Winners are: Marvellous Marketing Best Chocolate Bar, Honest Chocolat Salted Caramel & Buckwheat Milk Chocolate Tablet and for Chocolate & Coffee Show Best Filled Chocolate, Jo’s Sublime Chocolate Salted Sesame and Caramel Bonbon.

The two Supreme Winners are among 70 chocolates to have received accolades in the inaugural awards. Of the 125 chocolate products judged, seven received Best in Class, 22 received Gold Medals, 28 were awarded Silver Medals, a further 19 received Bronze Medals and three Special Awards were made.

According to the judges, innovation in the artisan chocolate scene is blossoming. Head Judge Luke Owen Smith, owner The Chocolate Bar in Wellington said, “New Zealand’s chocolate industry has shown rapid development and we think it will go from strength to strength over the next few years.”

Organisers of the NZ Chocolate Awards, Intermedia NZ and Marvellous Marketing were delighted with the support from the industry. Marvellous Marketing Director, Kathie Bartley said it was amazing to see so many entries, especially for the first year. “It shows the growth in artisan chocolate making in New Zealand. Kiwi chocolate lovers have lots of choice with a selection innovative flavours showcasing local ingredients and plenty of amazing chocolate products.”

Honest Chocolat

Auckland-based Honest Chocolat is run by husband and wife team, Nico and Emily Bonnaud. They hand craft chocolates in small batches using only natural ingredients. Chocolatier Nico Bonnaud trained in France as a pastry chef. His love of rugby attracted Nico to New Zealand and he worked as Head Pastry Chef for Kauri Cliffs and Peter Gordon’s Sugar Club before starting Honest Chocolat.

Jo’s Sublime Chocolate

Joanne McAlpine of Jo’s Sublime Chocolate balances her boutique chocolate making with a fulltime job. After attending a chocolate tempering course in Wellington, she was inspired and since then has trained in Melbourne. A former chef she aims to make chocolate making a fulltime career but for now Joanne creates handmade chocolate creations which are sold at La Bella Italia restaurant in Petone. Each Christmas she makes up to 3000 chocolates for gifting. The other winning highlights for Best in Class are:

  • NZ Life & Leisure Best Bean to Bar – Hogarth Craft Chocolate; Gianduia, Dark Hazelnut
  • Saint Clair Family Estate Best Chocolate Bar – Honest Chocolat; Salted Caramel & Buckwheat Milk Chocolate Tablet
  • Best Filled Chocolate or Bonbon – Jo’s Sublime Chocolates; Salted Sesame and Caramel Bon
  • Auckland Barista Academy Best Chocolate Truffle or Ganache – Chocoyo; Garden Mint
  • FMCG Business Best Bark or Brittle – She Universe; Sassy Sesame Snap
  • Hospitality Business Best International Chocolate – Ara Chocolat; Tolita 72%
  • Best NZ Product Made Using a Premium Chocolate Brand – Fix & Fogg; Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter

Special Awards were made to three products:

  • Most Unique Flavour Combination – Swiss Bliss Chocolates; A Taste of Rodney, Hibiscus Flower and Macadamia Nut
  • Label & Litho Best Packaging – OCHO, Otago Chocolate Company
  • Children’s Favourite – Bohemein Fresh Chocolates; Chocolate Fish

A panel of 17 chocolate and food experts tasted and assessed the 125 different chocolates and chocolate products from 36 producers at the Fresh Factory in Auckland on Wednesday 6 September. To prevent bias from makers judging their own chocolates a Double-blind system was used. It meant if in the unforeseen event someone judged their own chocolate the mark would not count.

The judges were: Sam Mannering, chef and food writer; Helen Jackson, food writer; Anna-Tait Jamieson, food editor NZ Life & Leisure; Luke Owen Smith, owner The Chocolate Bar; Tony Robson-Burrell, owner All About Chocolate, Julie Le Clerc, food writer; Tamara Rubanowski, editor FMCG Business; Mitsuharu Hoshi, Chef Milse; Trudi Nelson, foodie, media personality and owner; Lorna Subritzky, media personality, Coast FM; Kathy Paterson, food writer; Nico Bonnaud, owner of Honest Chocolat; Ganesh Khedekar, head pastry chef LSG Sky Chefs; Vicki Ravlich-Horan, editor, Nourish magazine; Karl Hogarth, owner of Hogarth Craft Chocolate; Debbie Byrnand, owner Red Carpet TV and Alison Leonard, host on the Breeze.

Many of the New Zealand Chocolate Awards winning chocolates will be showcased at the Chocolate & Coffee Show on Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 September 2017 at The Cloud in Auckland.

For a complete list of award winners visit

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