Friday, January 23, 2009

Day 1 of the Chocolate Awards

The first day was an interesting one. When these awards began 4 years ago all the judging was done in one day, now it's four. This being the first time I've been able to attend I was impressed with how well it was planned in order to be thorough, broad and objective. We sat at four tables, each with at least five people, and on every table was a head judge and a technical judge (I was the latter on my table - a fabulous group of women!). We each had a judging sheet giving marks out of ten for appearance, execution and mouthfeel and out of 20 for taste, with a total of 50, then we were to agree a separate score for the whole table as a team. Each chocolate entry was presented on a plain white plate and cut into quarters. A whole chocolate was on each plate to help in judging its appearance. Every chocolate was given a random three digit number which was written on the plate and what we used to record our scores and comments.

The reason Day 1 was interesting is that any chocolatier who won even a bronze award had an automatic ticket to Day 2 of judging so the only chocolates we were seeing were new chocolatiers or ones that didn't make the grade last year. It started off well with the plain truffles but, frankly, went down hill from there. Today, however, should be a joy. Unfortunately the downside is that it is harder to show restraint!

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