A historic first was recorded in The Dominican Republic, which recently held its debut National Chocolate Festival in Santo Domingo, celebrating some of the region’s finest artisan confectionery, reports Neill Barston.
For the inaugural Caribbean event, entrants could sign up for more than twenty online and in-person activities to learn about fourteen companies within the sector as part of its celebration of the industry.
The festival was topped off with an award ceremony for the first Dominican Chocolate Competition (pictured), in which participating chocolatiers entered a total of 40 chocolate samples in three categories: milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and experimental chocolate. An official judging panel of domestic and international industry professionals and experts evaluated the chocolate.
There was also a public judging panel of 400 consumers, each of whom received five random chocolates to evaluate. The official panel awarded nine winning chocolates in the three categories according to physical appearance, mouthfeel, fragrance, flavour-aroma balance, global quality and global impression:
Gold: Milz Chocolat 50% cocoa with milk
Gold: ChocoPunto 70% cocoa
Silver: Milz Chocolat 70% cocoa
Bronze: ChocoPunto 78% cocoa
Gold: Milz Chocolat 50% cocoa with milk and coffee
Silver: Definite Chocolate 57% cocoa with cashew milk and macadamia
Silver: KahKow Vestige 65% cocoa
Bronze: Choco Punto 78% unsweetened cocoa with cocoa nibs
The public panel highlighted the Dominican consumer’s palate. The People’s Choice award took the texture, flavours and overall impression of the sample into consideration and awarded the following:
Milz 50% cocoa
Milz 70% cocoa
CONACADO 70% with dehydrated and candied tomato
As its organizers noted, the similarity between the public and professional panels’ evaluations showcased an impressive demand for artisan ranges within the region.
The Dominican Chocolate Festival and Dominican Chocolate Competition are initiatives of Exporting Quality, a USDA-funded program implemented in the Dominican Republic by IESC. The Dominican Republic is a global leader in the production and export of organic cocoa. Together, the festival and the competition promote the expression of the diversity of the aromas of Dominican fine cacao in chocolate and at the same time educate the domestic and international consumers about Dominican chocolate.
The Exporting Quality program created festival chocolate.do to organize the festival and now, serve as a reference portal for Dominican chocolate.
Visit festivalchocolate.do. for a complete list of winners