The Cocoa of Excellence (CoEx) Programme is the entry point for cocoa-producers to participate in the International Cocoa Awards (ICA), a global competition recognizing the work of cocoa farmers and celebrating the diversity of cocoa flavours. 

The 2017 International Cocoa Award winners

Celebrating and Rewarding Excellence
in Producing High-quality Cocoa Origins - PRESS RELEASE

SALON DU CHOCOLAT, PARIS, FRANCE (30 October 2017) – Following a selection and evaluation process of 166 cocoa samples submitted from 40 countries, the wait was finally over tonight for the 50 entrants shortlisted for the 2017 Edition of the International Cocoa Awards. Read on to find out who the 18 winners are for the 2017 International Cocoa Awards and why these awards matter for the future of our chocolate supply.

On 30 October, the 18 International Cocoa Award winners were celebrated at the Salon du Chocolat, Paris, shining the international spotlight on the work of cocoa farmers, and the diversity of cocoa around the world. Every two years, this unique Programme spearheaded by Bioversity International and Event International recognizes quality, flavour and diversity of cocoas according to their origin. 

It is the highest reward for the Salon du Chocolat to be with Bioversity International at the origin of this unique Programme that gathered so many great and indisputable international experts in the world of cacao. Our initial wish was to create a direct link between chocolate makers and producers for reciprocal enrichment, in the qualitative aspects of chocolate and cocoa with all the benefits they entail. Today our wishes are fulfilled. A big thank you to all the team and all those that participate with passion”, comments Francois Jeantet, Creator of the Salon du Chocolat.

The Cocoa of Excellence Programme is the entry point for the International Cocoa Awards.  It aims to increase awareness and promote education along the cocoa supply chain on the opportunity to produce high quality cocoa and preserve flavours resulting from genetic diversity, terroir and know-how of the farmers who prepare cocoa. Cacao diversity is also vital for production, as it provides not only different flavours, but also resistance to pests and disease outbreaks, and resilience in changing climatic conditions. Providing opportunities and incentives for safeguarding cocoa diversity to farmers and national organizations, ensures a portfolio of options remain available for future needs.

The programme facilitates communication and linkages between the producers of this wonderful crop that is cocoa that delights the bean buyers and chocolate makers. This communication needs to be standardized so that all the actors along the value chain understand each other, from the farmers to the chocolate makers,” explains Brigitte Laliberté, Expert on Cacao Genetic Resources, Bioversity International.  “We are coordinating an effort on the development of international standards for the assessment of cocoa quality and flavours, for which we convened a consultation at the Salon just this morning,” Laliberté continues. “The meeting led to some very exciting group decisions and innovations in this important area.

For the 2017 Edition, the Cocoa of Excellence Programme received 166 samples of cocoa beans, originating from 40 producing countries. After a first physical quality evaluation, accepted beans were carefully processed into liquor and untempered chocolate for blind sensory evaluation by a panel of international experts who are part of the Cocoa of Excellence Technical Committee. Following this evaluation, the best 50 samples were selected and processed into tempered and moulded chocolate (following the same recipe of 66% cocoa) for sensory evaluation by a broader panel of 41 chocolate professionals.

Never before has there been such an assemblage of superb cocoas as we have had expressed as chocolates in these 2017 Edition of Cocoa of Excellence. The flavour evaluation has been both daunting as well as exhilarating. There is more outstanding flavour and diversity from more countries than ever before. The Technical Committee and the additional Jury have performed superbly. We continue to believe that the Cocoa of Excellence as well as the International Cocoa Awards will shine the spotlight of flavours, craftmanship and diversity on these farmers and bring real, meaningful value to them for their beans,” says Ed Seguine, Cacao Cocoa and Chocolate Advisors/Guittard Chocolate.

From these best 50 entrants, 18 International Cocoa Awards were selected and celebrated during the Ceremony held on today at the Salon du Chocolat in Paris, France.

The 18 International Cocoa Awards for the 2017 Edition are:

Africa & the Indian Ocean

·       Ghana                    Simon Marfo - associated to Cocoa Abrabopa Association
·       Madagascar         Mava Sa - Ferme D'ottange
·       Sierra Leone        Sahr Bangura - associated to Kasiyatama
·       Tanzania               Kokoa Kamili Limited

Asia, Pacific & Australia

·       Australia             Australian Chocolate Pty Ltd
·       Hawaii                 Jeanne Bennett And Bruce Clements - Nine Fine Mynahs Estates
·       Hawaii                 University Of Hawaii
·       India                     Regal plantations
·       Malaysia              Teo Chun Hoon

Central America & Caribbean

·       Dominica             Stewart Paris - Paris Family - associated to North East Cocoa Growers Cooperative
·       El Salvador          José Eduardo Zacapa Campos
·       Guatemala          Asociación Waxaquib Tzikin
·       Guatemala          Mariel Ponce - Kacaou
·       Martinique          Kora Bernabe & Elizabeth Pierre-Louis - associated to Valcaco - Association des Producteurs de Cacao de Martinique

South America

·       Bolivia                  Chocoleco
·       Brazil                    Emir De Macedo Gomes Filho
·       Ecuador               Asociacion Quiroga
·       Peru                      Cooperativa Agraria APPROCAP Ltda.


Contact information for each of the best 50 samples including the ICAs and the flavour profile of the samples are available in the PDF file: CoEx 2017 Edition – contact information on the 50 best samples including ICAs selected from the 166 submitted samples and the flavour profiles evaluated by an International Expert Panel on sensory evaluation.

To arrange media interviews, contact: Ines Drouault, Cocoa of Excellence Programme,

                                                                                                 - ends -

For the full summary information on each of the best 50 samples and their flavour profile visit:


· 40 producing countries participated.
· 166 samples of cocoa beans received.
· 162 samples accepted, processed into liquor and untempered chocolate, and evaluated by the CoEx Programme Technical Committee.
· 50 high quality cocoa samples selected and processed into tempered chocolate and moulded (66% cacao). Information available below on the samples (producer, genetic origin, chocolate flavour profile and contact details).
· 41 chocolatiers and sensory evaluation experts blindly evaluated the 50 chocolate samples.
· 18 samples attributed an International Cocoa Award.


About Bioversity International

Bioversity International is a global research-for-development organization. We have a vision – that agricultural biodiversity nourishes people and sustains the planet. We deliver scientific evidence, management practices and policy options to use and safeguard agricultural and tree biodiversity to attain sustainable global food and nutrition security. We work with partners in low-income countries in different regions where agricultural and tree biodiversity can contribute to improved nutrition, resilience, productivity and climate change adaptation.
Bioversity International is a CGIAR Research Centre. CGIAR is a global research partnership for a food-secure


About Event International

Créée en 1985 par Sylvie Douce, Event International est une agence de communication globale, spécialisée en stratégie, événements, relations presse et relations publiques.
Event International a créé le Salon du Chocolat, qui est depuis 20 ans conçu, organisé et médiatisé par l'agence en France et à l'étranger et qui s'impose comme LE rendez-vous mondial incontournable pour le grand public et les professionnels du Secteur.
L’équipe « commando » d’Event met son savoir-faire, ses outils, son intuition des tendances et ses réseaux d’influence au service des marques.
Une agence à taille humaine qui cultive la passion d’entreprendre : entreprendre en surfant sur l’air du temps et la réalité du marché, entreprendre pour de grandes idées et faire émerger les marques avec comme leitmotiv la communication par la preuve.
Créer des écrins, savoir rebondir sur l’événement, saisir les opportunités avec un temps de réaction record, anticiper les attentes des journalistes et décideurs, séduire les consommateurs pour mieux se faire écouter sont les atouts d’Event International.





International Cocoa Awards

The Ceremony for the International Cocoa Awards (ICA) will be held at the Salon du Chocolat in Paris, Monday, 30 October starting at 19:30. All professionals of the cacao, cocoa and chocolate value chain are cordially invited to join us to celebrate the excellence of quality and diversity with cocoa producers. To receive an invitation, please contact Laure Videau at before Friday 20th of October.





The evaluation process for the selection of the best 50 samples for the 2017 Edition has now been completed




Are you a cocoa producer that wants to participate in the              2017 Edition of the International Cocoa Awards?




about the programme

Why the Cocoa of Excellence Programme matters and what                                                  it does





         Learn more about the many benefits of joining our                      programme and how you can support our cause






      Find out how to organize Cocoa quality competitions in                                                your country



Explore flavour profiles and find contact information for winners and the 50 nominated producers for previous editions of the International Cocoa Awards

*Photos from The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Salon Du Chocolat, A. Prien Saxbøl and Bioversity/X.Scheldemann*