January 4, 2012

There Can Only be One: The Cocoa Cup Final

Life Overtaking Law

Previously in the 2011 NAF Cocoa Cup…

After completing our preliminary rounds, with thirteen competitors sampled, and nine eliminated, we have narrowed the field down to our four remaining finalists. They are:

  • Hagensborg “Truffle Pig” (Chocolate Orange Truffle Bar)
  • Salt Spring Island “Crow Bar” (Solid Milk Chocolate Bar)
  • Brockman’s “Truffini” (Raspberry Chocolate Truffle Bar)
  • Hagensborg “Wild Boar” (Solid Dark Chocolate Bar)

Our final round suffered an early disqualification at the outset, when our official chocolate registrar was unable to locate one prospective entrant; unfortunately, the Brockman’s Truffini was nowhere to be found. Due to its failure to make itself available to our panel in a timely manner, the entrant’s membership in our finalist roster was allowed to lapse.

With only three competitors left to choose from, we decided to take some additional steps to separate the field. First, we arranged to have our tasters blindfolded – unlike our previous rounds, which took into account everything from nutritional information to packaging quality, this test would be determined by taste alone. Second, to confound our judges and provide a wider ranging of scoring for the final tally, we included three mystery candidates in our tasting to act as spoilers. Third, our judges made sure to cleanse their palates after each tasting, so as not to skew the results. Finally, for maximum impartiality, the candidates were presented to the judges in random order by the author, who took no part in the scoring. The results were as follows:

3rd Place: Our third place finalist was commended by the judges for its smooth taste, and its appealing thickness and texture. Our judges detected hints of caramel, and a slightly peanutty finish.  As one judge put it, this would be the bar to look for as a mid-day indulgence at work. Our inaugural Cocoa Cup bronze medalist is Salt Spring Island’s “Crow Bar”!

2nd Place: Our second place finalist could do little to disguise its distinctive flavour: our judges immediately noticed the lift provided by its orange infusion. The judges were favourably impressed by the bar’s smooth, buttery, and rich texture, and a taste that lingers “in a good way”. If our third place finalist is a mid-day work bar, this finalist is a must-have for sitting down at the end of the day with a soap opera, a cat, and a good cup of tea. Our Cocoa Cup silver medalist is Hagensborg’s Chocolate Orange Truffle Pig!

1st Place: With two first-place votes, this finalist emerged as our panel’s favourite on points. This bar received many favourable comments on its adventurous, beautiful, and bold taste. Our judges noted a variety of subtle accents, ranging from sour to spicy. While not everyone’s favourite, and despite being the least sweet and sugary of the finalists, this bar’s interesting and complex character earned it first place overall. Our winner, and 2011 NAF Cocoa Cup Champion, is Hagensborg’s “Wild Boar”!

While this tournament is concluded, there are many more distinguished local chocolates waiting to be sampled. We will return to chocolate later in the year but now head into the distinguished world of the croustille i.e., potato chip.