December 22, 2023 – Croatian chocolate has won gold in a worldwide competition for the first time. Nadalina, the only artisan chocolate shop in Split, won gold for their milk chocolate Cococa Coffee Nicaragua, and a bronze, for Cocoa Coffee Cuba at the Academy of Chocolate competition. Two medals in the category of milk chocolates with additives mean a lot to Nadalina, who had won awards for their “bean to bar” chocolates in previous years as well.
What kind of chocolates are they? As Index writes, these award-winning chocolates are perfectly blended and balanced, made from cocoa and coffee beans from the same country of origin, Nicaragua and Cuba. It was carefully fried, ground and conched for 72 hours in old granite melangers in their small factory in Solin.
“Fine creamy chocolate with 8% premium arabica coffee and a little milk provides the experience of drinking a real macchiato,” says Marinko Biškić, founder of Nadalina. This is also the first gold medal for Croatian chocolate in the history of this competition.
“I spent six months refining this recipe because I wanted it to be a different milk chocolate than usual, with a fake coffee aroma. I chose the right cocoa beans for a long time, and in choosing the best coffee, I was helped by the company Bolero Kava from Lovreč. After choosing the coffee, I had to guess the right temperature of roasting and grinding in the old-fashioned way. I must admit that this time I was convinced that the chocolate with Nicaraguan cocoa and coffee would win the award, but the gold surprised me too. I was especially happy with this award because I entered this project with fear, and the reason is that I don’t drink brewed coffee, but I adore the aroma and smell,” he tells us.
By the way, Nadalina produces gourmet chocolates in its small production facility using the “bean to bar” method, which means that their chocolate is produced from cocoa beans in the same place. They have many combinations inspired by Dalmatia, which combine dark chocolate with local flavours, such as lavender, dried figs, prosecco, sage, honey, carob and olive oil.
Last year they released a chocolate spread with pork fat as well.
Taman receives three medals
Another top Croatian chocolate shop, Taman Artisan Chocolates, headed by Steve Kahlin, can boast of three bronze medals in the category of filled chocolates with a nut base.
Their Almond cremino truffle with lemon, coconut and bourbon vanilla, Cremino Gianduja dark truffle and Cremino Gianduja milk truffle were the winners. In previous years, they won a large number of medals at this competition – some bronze, some silver.
Bronze for their first competition
OPG Matulić from Pašman (more here), this year participated for the first time with their chocolate Choco Libre, in the category of filled chocolate with ganache, alcohol and fruit.
“We signed up for the first time with this one chocolate we have and we’re really happy. It has fig aceto and Maraška and olive oil,” they said, visibly overwhelmed with joy.
Academy of Chocolate
The Academy of Chocolate was founded in 2005 by five leading British chocolate experts, united in the belief that eating fine chocolate is one of life’s greatest pleasures. The Academy is committed to “better chocolate” and to promoting greater awareness of the difference between fine chocolate and the mass-produced chocolate confections most of us eat.
Their goals are to encourage chocolate lovers to look “beyond the label” to distinguish chocolate confections from real chocolate, to improve the standard and knowledge of chocolate worldwide by promoting the understanding of chocolate ingredients, from bean to bar, to encourage transparent sourcing of cocoa beans from plantations and their production in socially fair and environmentally friendly conditions.
“What brings us together at the Academy is the belief that few manufacturers really understand the difference between fine chocolate and confectionery. Nor do they realize that chocolate is made from the fruit, the cocoa bean, with flavours that can be just as subtle if not masked by sugar and fat. As a result, it is difficult for consumers to find a choice of fine chocolate and make a decision. We firmly believe that it will give people the opportunity to enjoy fine chocolate and learn to appreciate it more, and thus expect more ‘real’ chocolate,” says the organization.
Once you discover the pleasure, complexity, richness and breadth of sensations that fine chocolate hides, you will never look at chocolate the same way again, and you will also never buy it the same way again, they say.