Calling all arm-chair pastry chefs and chocolate bakers. After a seven-year hiatus we’ve brought back The Serious Chocolate Contest!
We are accepting entries for the 2nd Serious Chocolate Contest to be held at Chocolopolis on Saturday, March 24th. Create a delicious chocolate dessert or confection in one of two categories using Taza Chocolate. On Saturday, March 24th a panel of judges will convene at Chocolopolis in Interbay to judge your creations and award prizes.
Why is it called, “The Serious Chocolate Contest”? Because we take our chocolate seriously, and we seriously want to have fun with it!
We held our first “The Serious Chocolate Contest” in April 2011. Customers arrived at Chocolopolis early on a Saturday morning toting their chocolaty creations. Entries included a wide range of baked chocolate treats as well as confections and quite a few ice creams. A panel of accomplished pastry chefs joined me as judges, and we had a great time tasting the entries and witnessing the enthusiasm of the entrants. It was a really fun experience for all involved, and we’d hoped to do it again. It took us longer than expected to bring the contest back, but moving to our new format in Interbay has enabled us to focus anew on chocolate experiences, including the contest.
We simplified the categories this time around, trying to make things a bit more streamlined, and we added a theme.
Why is Taza Chocolate the Theme?
Consider this my throw down challenge to you. I thought it would be fun to have a theme that makes participants think outside the box.
We selected Taza Chocolate because of the excellent quality of the cacao beans and the depth of flavor in its chocolate, as well as its adaptability to many pastry applications. The ingredients are minimal and well-sourced, and they meet our strict criteria for what is acceptable in artisan chocolate.
Many customers do not think of Taza Chocolate for confectionery uses because it is an unrefined chocolate with a grainy and sandy texture. I have successfully used Taza Chocolate in many delicious chocolate creations, most recently a chocolate torte from Alice Medrich’s Cocolat using Taza’s Cacao Puro 70% discs. I used Taza’s Belize 77% (sadly discontinued) as the base for the “Mayan Chocolate Mousse” recipe I provided to Megan Giller for her book, “Bean to Bar Chocolate: America’s Craft Chocolate Revolution” (p. 87). Taza Chocolate has become one of my favorite chocolates for mousse and ganache. The sugar melts once heated, removing some of the grainy texture, and the underlying cacao shines through with incredibly delicious flavor notes that speak of well-fermented cacao that is roasted to perfection.
Taza Chocolate has been a pioneer and a leader in the craft chocolate movement. Taza’s Founder, Alex Whitmore, created Maya Mountain Cacao, planting the seed for other craft chocolate makers to more easily purchase quality cacao directly from farms at country of origin. The launch of Maya Mountain Cacao, and Taza’s continued work in countries of origin, have resulted in improved harvest and post-harvest practices. This means higher quality cacao, a better price for farmers and a more direct relationship with craft chocolate makers.
We hope you’ll help us celebrate Taza Chocolate’s significant contributions to the craft chocolate community, and their delicious chocolate, by entering a chocolate dessert or confection of your creation to The Serious Chocolate Contest. We’re looking forward to tasting the fruits of your innovations!
Each entry must include Taza Chocolate as its primary chocolate ingredient, with the exception of cacao nibs and cocoa powder. Any cocoa powder used must be natural (not Dutch-processed) and must meet our ingredient requirements. Cacao nibs must not contain other ingredients. Please see the full contest rules for more information about our ingredient requirements.
Entries may be submitted in two categories:
- Chocolate Desserts
- Chocolate Confections
The contest is limited to one entry per person per category.
- Best in Show – There will be one overall winner of the contest who will be awarded “Best in Show”. The winning entry will be chosen based on the judges’ evaluations of entries across both categories. The winner will receive a gift basket filled with chocolate, confectionery tools and other goodies as well as a copy of Megan Giller’s book “Bean to Bar Chocolate: America’s Craft Chocolate Revolution” and delicious chocolates from Taza Chocolate.
- First place – Awarded in each category, first place winners will receive a gift basket filled with chocolate, confectionery tools and other goodies as well as a copy of Megan Giller’s book “Bean to Bar Chocolate: America’s Craft Chocolate Revolution” and delicious chocolates from Taza Chocolate.
- Second place – Awarded in each category, second place winners will receive a gift bag filled with Taza Chocolate and a copy of Megan Giller’s book, “Bean to Bar Chocolate: America’s Craft Chocolate Revolution”.
- Third place – Awarded in each category, third place winners will receive a gift bag filled with Taza Chocolate.
Taza Chocolates Available
You may use any Taza chocolate in your desserts, truffles and confections. We will be selling the following varieties in advance of the contest, but you are welcome to use ones you’ve purchased elsewhere.
- Wicked Dark 95% Bar (a.k.a., “Wickid Daaahhk” – hey, they’re in Boston)
- Bolivia 87% Bar
- Haiti 84% Bar
- Dominican Republic 80% Bar
- Dominican Republic 70% (this chocolate is available for purchase by the pound)
- Super Dark 85% Disc (Discs are a blend of 80% DR & 20% Haiti)
- Cinnamon Disc
- Guajillo Chili Disc
Judges will evaluate the entries based on how well they showcase the chocolate. Judging criteria are:
1. Taste and texture – This is a chocolate contest, so the dessert should highlight the quality and the flavor of the chocolate chosen. Entries will be judged based on how well they showcase the flavor characteristics of the chocolate. The texture should be appropriate to the type of dessert being evaluated. (5 points)
2. Appearance – Dessert should look professional and appetizing. In the case of tempered chocolate, the chocolate should be shiny, free of blemishes, streaks and air bubbles. (5 points)
3. Advanced Techniques – Extra points will be given to entries that show use of advanced techniques. (2 points)
Product Submission and Judging
Entries must be received no later than 10:30am on Saturday, March 24. Judging will take place beginning at 11:00 am on Saturday, March 24th at Chocolopolis in the Lounge of the Interbay Work Lofts, located at 1631 15th Ave. W, Seattle, WA 98119, (206) 282-0776.
I look forward to tasting your chocolaty creations!