The world's largest
chocolate product competition

Our mission

By helping to identify the best chocolate made with the best cacao, we hope to help chocolate makers, chocolatiers and cacao farmers continue to succeed at producing the world’s best fine cacao and fine chocolate.

Our values & goals

Helping the fine chocolate industry to grow and develop in established regions as well as new markets and concentrating on traceable cacao sourcing.

Who we are

The International Chocolate Awards were founded in 2012 and are run by IICCT with a group of independent international partners with years of experience tasting and evaluating chocolate and running fine chocolate related events. Judges are drawn from sensory experts and members of the IICCT Alumni. Competitions are held in a growing number of countries and regions around the world in bean-to-bar and craft chocolatier rounds. Winners of the regional competitions are judged together at the World Final, which celebrates the best entries of the year.

Our founders


Maricel Presilla

Americas Partner – James Beard Award-Winning Chef and Food Writer. Culinary Historian, Chocolate Expert and Founder of Gran Cacao Company.

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Martin Christy

Judging Director – 30 years of tasting and understanding fine chocolate and cacao. Course Director and senior teacher at IICCT

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Monica Meschini

European Partner – Food Expert, Tea and Wine Sommelier, Chef, Journalist and Hospitality Consultant for 5 Star Hotels.

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Lead Grand Jury

Grand Jury

Alex Rast

Lecturer in Computer Science, judging consultant, long-term chocolate reviewer and expert. UK

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Grand Jury

Jeffrey Lee

Founder of online craft chocolate shop Cult de Choco. Awards main partner for Asia-Pacific. Hong Kong

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How do you judge chocolate?

Chocolate is a feeling, a delight, a pleasure...

 The most important thing about chocolate is whether you enjoy it or not, which of course is a totally subjective opinion.

So when we’re judging, we follow the ‘pleasure principle’,
how a chocolate makes you feel. Only after we’ve captured our like/dislike reaction, do we start to look
for more nuanced attributes like complexity, balance and

This is all based on how the brain works while tasting chocolate. We then use the IICCT Flavor Profile map and judging system, which was built using a neural network and research into how the flavors in different foods are related.

We then use what we call ‘managed subjectivity’ – advanced statistical analysis – to put this all together from our judges blinded individual evaluations to create an overall score.


The International Chocolate Awards are a project of IICCT, whose focus is on the understanding of fine chocolate and cacao flavor, educational courses and our growing Alumni Community​

Our competitions


Europe, Middle East, Africa