The organisers of the International Chocolate Awards are proud to announce the winners of the European Semi Final round, which received over 260 entries.
These prestigious awards give out just one Gold in each category and a number of silvers to the winning products, which have been through three rigorous rounds of judging, first in Sussex and then at The Marriott Hotel, County Hall in London.
The Gold in the Dark Bar category went to Michel Cluizel, Los Ancones.
Made in France using beans from the Dominican Republic, a 67% cocoa solids bar and one of their origins range and impressed the judges as a bar that was complex and sophisticated whilst also being a chocolate that has mass appeal.
In the Milk category Michel Cluizel also triumphed with Gold for their Maralumi milk.
France continued to pick up awards with Pralus the only Gold winner in the Milk filled chocolates category for their Bar Infernale Lait and Bonnat picking up a Silver in the dark bar category.
Micro batch producers did well at the awards with Akesson, Original Beans and Friis Holm all winning silvers for their bars.
The British entrants excelled in the filled chocolates categories with Golds to Paul a Young and Damian Allsop and silvers awarded to Boutique Aromatique, Matcha and Rococo.
Hotel Chocolat also did well in the awards with a silver for their St Lucian 70% milk, salted caramel éclat in the flavoured milk bar category, a category where Damian Allsop picked up another Gold.
The organic Gold awards were won by Michel Cluizel, once again for their Los Ancones bar, by Akesson for their Madagascan 75% & Voatsiperifery Pepper a flavoured dark bar and by Francois Pralus for their milk Melissa bar.
To celebrate the International nature of the awards, Country Golds were also given for those categories where more than 10 products from one country were entered and went to Domori (Italy) for their Guasare bar and to relative newcomer Idilio (Switzerland) for their no 2 seleccion Amiari Meridenha.
This is the first year of the International Chocolate Awards, set up to recognise the best fine quality chocolate from around the world. The awards are designed to reflect international tastes and offer a level playing field for international entries.
An Italian round was held earlier this year with a US round planned for September in New York and the World Finals back in London in October.
The European Semi Final received over 260 entries from more than 50 different brands. Entries came from all over Europe - from countries more traditionally associated with chocolate such as France and Switzerland, to up and coming countries including Israel and the Czech Republic.
The judging panel is made up of experts, food journalists and pastry chefs from the host country, overseen by a Grand Jury who travel to each competition.
The Grand Jury members who attended the European awards are: Martin Christy (Seventy% founder, UK), Maricel Presilla (Cuban American chef and author of The New Taste of Chocolate), Monica Meschini (Italian expert and taster), George Bernadini (German author and ex-chocolate maker), Nancy Gilchrist (Master of Wine, UK) and Alex Rast (Seventy% contributor and reviewer, UK).
The categories, which range from flavoured bars to filled chocolates to spreads, are designed to reflect the current chocolate industry.
Prizes are separated according to category, with Gold and Silver awards available. Winners go through to the International Grand Final, in October 2012 in London.
World finalists have also been indicated - these are products which have achieved a highly commended and will be invited to enter the judging of the World Finalists.
For the full list of winners visit the International Chocolate Awards website.