One of the perks of writing a blog about chocolate is being invited to judge chocolate. Judging of course means sampling, and I sampled somewhere in the ballpark of 150-200 chocolates in May and June 2021 alone. I think that is a personal best.
Of course, it would be even better if I enjoyed all of those chocolates. But chocolate is art, and just like I never like all the pictures I see in an art gallery or museum, I have never encountered a chocolate competition that didn’t have something I hated or was at least indifferent to.
Sometimes it’s the quality of the ingredients, or the quantity of sugar. Other times, it’s the chocolatier’s technique or their mix of flavors. Texture is critical too, as are aesthetics. Different chocolate artists could use the same equipment and the same ingredients, and every one of them would make something different from the rest.
So in every contest there were some delights and some duds. This year, I pledged to take the high road and limit my comments — as much as I am able — to pieces I liked. I rate chocolate on a scale of 1–5, so I only included pieces I personally rated 3 or higher. Since I wasn’t the sole judge in any of these competitions, the actual awards and ratings varied; but since this is my story, my rules. I include the awards the reviewed chocolates received in the competitions and links to the actual awards pages which list all the winners.
I also include links to chocolatiers’ and chocolate makers’s online stores or other information on how to obtain the chocolate I review, so you can make your own judgements too.
2021 competition reviews
My year in reviews:
A writer/designer, Nancy lives in Oakland with Ronnie (AKA cacaopod), her husband of many years & fellow chocolate enthusiast.