ABOUT THE KAROLINA CHOCOLATE RECIPE CONTESTS: • Each month between now and December 31, 2012, you will have one month to submit recipes. • Each recipe must state which cacao percentage was used and why. JUDGING CRITERIA: One (1) Grand Prize winner will be selected by a panel of qualified judges, whose decisions are final and binding on all matters related to this Contest, within 20 days of the end date of the Contest Period, from among all eligible entries received during the Contest Period. • Judging for which entrant with the best recipe will be based on the following judging criteria: (a) originality; (b) complexity of flavor profile; and (c) presentation. • The entrant with the highest score will be deemed the Grand Prize winner. In the event of a tie, the entrant with the highest score in the taste/flavor criteria from among the tying entrants will be deemed the Grand Prize winner. Potential Grand Prize winner will be notified by telephone or email within approximately one (1) week following winner selection. • A Karolina Chocolate Recipe Book will be created by our winners! The winner’s bios will be listed along with their recipe. All winning recipes will be available on this blog. • PRIZE AND APPROXIMATE RETAIL VALUE (“ARV”): One (1) Grand Prize - $150.00, awarded in the form of Sponsor-specified Karolina products and one Karolina Chocolate Recipe Book when completed and published. SEE OFFICIAL CONTEST RULES AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS PAGE Send all entries to: email@example.com
Nearly 91 percent of respondents in Mintel’s consumer survey indicated that they like some type of chocolate, either milk, dark or white. Overall, most people favor milk chocolate, but in the specialty food market, darker varieties are popular. Older age groups are more likely to purchase dark chocolate, perhaps because it is an acquired, stronger taste.
Among specialty consumers, the level of quality is even more important than the type of chocolate. Shoppers are well-versed in cocoa content, clean labels and Fair Trade cocoa bean sources. Many confectioners are clearly labeling cocoa percentages on their bars, says Art Mart’s Ballard, whose health- and flavor-conscious customers look to that information as a designation of high quality.
“What's happening to chocolate now is what happened to specialty coffee,” notes Brad van Dam, president and CEO of Marich Confectionery, Hollister, Calif. “Twenty years ago, no one knew what Kenyan coffee was, but now everyone does. People are getting more interested in the specifics and looking for a greater experience with their chocolate just as they did with coffee.”
Fran’s Chocolates, a Seattle-based artisan chocolate maker, has reworked its 22-year-old truffle line to intensify flavor quality. Sean Seedlock, vice president of marketing, says, “We are going more into a darker, deeper flavor. We’re not relying on alcohol as much for flavor. For example, in a coffee truffle, we are focusing on the quality of the coffee and cream rather than relying on Kahlua.” The company is still using alcohol but “in ways where it makes sense, where it creates a richer taste,” notes Seedlock.
Chocolatier Jacques Torres aims to incorporate consumer tastes on an almost instantaneous level in order to ensure quality. In both his Brooklyn factory/shop and new 8,000-square-foot location in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood, Torres depends on immediate feedback to test new flavors. Because he’s making chocolate on the premises, he can create a batch in the morning, have customers respond in the afternoon and modify the recipe accordingly for the next day.
His new Willy Wonka-esque location, Jacques Torres Chocolate Haven, which is slated to open in November, will educate and entertain. Customers see how cocoa beans become fresh, hand-crafted chocolate bars. “My goal is to give people more knowledge about the chocolate process—and to make it possible to learn it when buying a bar of chocolate,” says Torres.