The cocoa of excellence and international cocoa awards initiatives: rewarding diversity and excellence in producing high-quality cocoa origins

Eskes Albertus, Assemat Sophie, Jeantet François, Seguine Edward, Sukha Darin A., Weise Stephan, Thiriet Janis, Rond Julien, Laliberté Brigitte, Barel Michel, Cros Emile, Forestier-Chiron Nelly, Hard Kristen. 2012. The cocoa of excellence and international cocoa awards initiatives: rewarding diversity and excellence in producing high-quality cocoa origins. In : 17th Conférence Internationale sur la Recherche Cacaoyère, Yaounde, Cameroun, 15 - 20 Octobre 2012. COPAL. s.l. : s.n., 11 p. Conférence Internationale sur la Recherche Cacaoyère. 17, Yaoundé, Cameroun, 15 October 2012/20 October 2012.

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Abstract : The Cocoa of Excellence (CoE) and International Cocoa Awards (ICA) were launched by Bioversity International, CIRAD, and EVENT International in 2008. EVENT International is the organiser of the "Salon du Chocolat" in Paris every year and the International Cocoa Awards (ICA) ceremonies. The CoE/ICA was partially supported by the project: "Cocoa of Excellence: Unravelling and celebrating diverse flavour qualities of cocoas to promote market differentiation" from Oct. 2009 to Sept. 2011, funded by the Common Fund for Commodities (CFC) supervised by the International Cocoa Organization (ICCO). The partners in the Cocoa of Excellence CFC/ICCO project were Bioversity International (Project Executing Agency), CIRAD, Event International, ICCO, the Alliance of Cocoa Producing Countries Cocoa (COPAL), the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF), Mars Inc., Barry Callebaut, Belcolade and Cacao Atlanta (joined in 2011) with contributions in kind from the Cocoa Research Unit (now Cocoa Research Centre) of the University of the West Indies (CRC/UWI) and ICAM. A total of 152, 147 and 119 bean samples were provided by individual farmers or farmers' organizations from 20, 19 and 22 cocoa producing countries to participate in the CoE/ICA in 2009, 2010 and 2011, respectively. Liquors were elaborated by CIRAD (2009 and 2010) and Mars (2011) from all samples, using agreed standard procedures. These liquors were characterised first by a Jury of International Expert for basic flavours (acidity, bitterness and astringency), for "positive" flavours (cocoa, fresh fruits, brown fruits, floral, nutty, sweetness, spicy and woody) and for "overall preference". The best 50 liquors from this first assessment were transformed into chocolates according to an agreed protocol and nominated for the ICA's at the Salon du Chocolat in Paris in 2009, 2010 and 2011. The 50 chocolate samples were evaluated by a second Jury comprised of approximately 20 chocolate professionals. ICA awards were attributed to samples from each of the four main cocoa producing regions: (1) Africa, (2) South-East Asia and the Pacific, (3) Central America and the Caribbean, and (4) South America. The ICA awards were handed to country representatives during special events at the Salon du Chocolat. The CoE Programme triggered a strong interest in many cocoa producing countries due to the potential benefits of recognition of the quality of nominated and Awarded samples. The Awards are a very important recognition of the work of the many producers who all benefit, even if only one or a few of them end up winning an Award. Twenty-seven cocoa producing countries out of the 40 participated in at least one of the three CoE/ICA editions (2009, 2010 and 2011). Several countries have expressed an interest in organising a national selection process. The efficient and effective implementation of the CoE project relies on well-2 functioning national organizations with capacity to coordinate the process at the national level and liaise efficiently with the many producers of cacao for fine chocolates. Bioversity, CIRAD, and EVENT are committed to continue the CoE Programme and are seeking interest from sponsorships. COPAL is considering taking on the role of interfacing with producing countries with Bioversity providing an overall coordination together with CIRAD and EVENT. Continuous engagement in the Programme was assured from the industry partners. The CoE/ICA editions will be carried out every two years and the next one will be in 2013. Visit for all information on previous editions, technical guidelines, forms and contacts (Résumé d'auteur)

Classification Agris : E21 - Agro-industry
Q04 - Food composition
F01 - Crops

Auteurs et affiliations

  • Eskes Albertus, CIRAD-BIOS-UPR Bioagresseurs (FRA)
  • Assemat Sophie, CIRAD-PERSYST-UMR Qualisud (FRA)
  • Jeantet François, Event International (FRA)
  • Seguine Edward, Mars Chocolate North America (USA)
  • Sukha Darin A., UWI (TTO)
  • Weise Stephan, Bioversity International (ITA)
  • Thiriet Janis, UWI (TTO)
  • Rond Julien, Event International (FRA)
  • Laliberté Brigitte, Bioversity International (FRA)
  • Barel Michel
  • Cros Emile
  • Forestier-Chiron Nelly, CIRAD-PERSYST-UMR Qualisud (FRA)
  • Hard Kristen, Cacao Atlanta (USA)

Source : Cirad - Agritrop (

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