How lucky are we? Recently, the two of us experienced three days of nail-biting intensity – and a little bit of chocolate biting – while viewing the World Chocolate Masters competition in Paris.
We had an amazing opportunity to not only walk through the competition area for an intimate view of the competitors, but to also taste our way through the world’s best chocolatiers’ and pastry chefs’ creations.
The World Chocolate Masters is a unique international competition that is solely focused on chocolate in every category. The competition is run by French chocolate brand Cacao Barry and is one of the few international competitions that is an individual event and not a team event. The final in Paris had 20 competitors from around the world.
The competition is split into two groups of 10 that compete on day one and day two. The competitors were given the theme ‘inspiration from nature’ and both groups had to create the following items on their day of competing:
- Chocolate showpiece: A chocolate sculpture embracing the theme. All the individual elements for the showpiece can be pre-made but not joined.
- Moulded praline: Competitors had the opportunity to design their own chocolate mould fitting with the theme and create a moulded chocolate live during the competition.
- Sweet snack on the go: A sweet takeaway item made live. The competitors also had to design and print their own packaging to present their snack in.
- My or noir’ story: Prior to the competition commencing all competitors were flown to Paris to design and create their own chocolate from the cocoa bean that was presented at the competition to a panel of expert judges. This chocolate could also be used in any of the competitor’s products.
Here is the twist: After the first two days of competition only the top 10 competitors go through to day three. Let us put this into perspective; 10 of the competitors who have trained, worked, sacrificed, developed and prepared their products for day three didn’t have the opportunity to compete.
Here is what the finalists created on day three:
- Patisserie of the day: The patisserie of the day must contain at least three different textural elements and have an explicit chocolate taste. Patisserie of the day is a fresh and delicate pastry, which is meant to be displayed and made “à la minute” or fresh each morning. A traditional example of a patisserie of the day might be a Saint-Honoré, Millefeuille or Éclair.
- Artistic creation titled Where nature goes: A broken white birdcage supplied by the organisers was the base to be used for a small chocolate showpiece. Adhering to the theme, competitors were asked to build a chocolate showpiece utilising the bird cage as a base.
On October 30, Vincent Vallée from France was crowned World Chocolate Master in Paris. Hailed as the “most challenging chocolate competition” in the world of chocolate, it is the most prestigious title to win for chocolatiers. For the next three years, Vincent Vallée will wear the title of World’s Best Chocolate Craftsman.
He gets the unique opportunity to visit a cocoa plantation and his work will be displayed in the world-renowned Harrods department store in London. Hinashi Onobayashi from Japan and Marijn Coertjens from Belgium were awarded the silver and bronze medals.
Australia will be holding the World Chocolate Masters national selections at Crown Casino on June 26, 2016. For expressions of interest or to receive an entry form please firstname.lastname@example.org.