"Zotter is and will remain at the top of the world-best chocolate manufacturers and by far the most innovative "chocolatier" [editorial note: "Chocolate Maker"] of all." (Bernardini, p. 839)
The chocolate world is in motion, which is why the chocolate tester Georg Bernardini has once again published a colossal standard work (919 pages) about the international chocolate market. The test included 550 brands and 4,000 products from 70 countries (by comparison, in 2012, the test included 271 brands, 2,700 products and 38 countries).
Zotter ranks among the Top 25 - the best chocolate makers in the world
"Zotter: the placement among the Top 25 is so much matter of course as it is for only very few brands and companies, similar to Domori almost indisputable." (Bernardini, p. 849)
The Top 25 are awarded 6 cocoa pods. 6 cocoa pods stand for "Extraordinary quality of all products. Extremely rare to no deviations in the outstanding quality of the products." (Bernardini, p. 137)
Zotter is the only producer from Germany and Austria in the Top 25 and still the only one to produce solely in organic and fair-trade quality. All in all, few bean-to-bar producers placed among the Top 25. Many of the top 25 produce only confectionary and filled chocolates.
Bernardini's analysis is based on sensory tests; that is, the taste is crucial, as well as the transparency and the truthfulness of statements about the ingredients.
Zotter's products ranked among the worldwide highscore list in almost all categories, i.e. the Top 15 products worldwide from America, South America, Japan and the large competition from Europe.
- Labooko Nicaragua 50%; once again in the category of best milk chocolate in the world
- Labooko Strawberry
- Labooko Passion Fruit
- Nougsus Nougat Brazil Nut*
- Zotter's Biofekt filled chocolates
* "Zotter has had some nougat varieties which are very recommendable and so would be the only nougat manufacturer in Austria." (Bernardini, p. 116)
But Bernardini also doesn't shy away from damning reviews and direct criticism: "failed, grotesque, absolutely nothing or these products are simply bad", especially when things are fake.
Bernardini also levels criticism at empty advertising messages about sustainability and fairness: "Conspicuous with the many new Bean-to-Bar manufacturers are the repeatedly emphasized (advertising) statements that one acts ethically correct, fair and sustainably. What is surprising about this is that almost none of them are certified and often, apart from empty phrases, there is no proof or evidence that it is correct what they say and write." (Bernardini, p. 852)
Trends on the chocolate market
Because there are so many new things on the chocolate market, Bernardini decided to revise his basic work, which was published in 2012. The most important trends: within only a few years, over one hundred new bean-to-bar companies were founded, mainly in the US, accompanied by trend topics such as raw chocolate, vegan chocolate and superfood. In addition to that, Bernardini has also tested discount brands in his new basic work and thus delivers a complete view of the chocolate market, from Cadbury, Hersheys, Nestlé, Lindt to Valrhona, Amedei, Domori and also Zotter. Bernardini: "The chocolate market with its impressive diversity and the often very high quality was never as interesting as it is today. The chocolate boom of more than ten years ago has toned down, but it has – similar to other trends before that – left something behind which will remain: (...) All conventions which existed in the chocolate industry were thrown overboard and experiments are conducted come hell or high water." (Bernardini, p. 15)
Bernardini's conclusion about the Austrian chocolate world
"Chocolate manufacture in Austria is relatively rare. There is the company Manner, which manufactures industrial products, but with Zotter there is only one manufacturer of special quality. This packs a punch and can take it up with the best chocolates in the world. " (Bernardini, p. 116)
Josef Zotter, the defending champion, about the result of the test: "It is of course incredible when we, as an Austrian company, can impress internationally, are respected and even awarded a price. What makes me happiest is that we are the most innovative company in the sector and that we managed to convince with our diverse product range and partly also our provocative varieties, especially as one of the few companies that wholeheartedly represents organic and social standards. Bean-to-bar is well under way now and it would be good if the next trend were the ethically-social responsibility. It really is high time for it and one would think that the heatwaves in the summer cause the chocolate producers to rethink things. I am also glad that Bernardini's book will also be published in English this time, which will give it much more international attention and relevance. It will be launched at the Chocolate Festival in Seattle, where the entire city celebrates chocolate and, as luck will have it, we will also be there to promote our US shop and online shop. For our launch in the US, where we are not well known yet, being selected as one of the Top 25 in the world is of course great. Of course everyone tries to do their best and to bring good products on the market, but when validation is given by an independant third party that our work can actually compete internationally, then that has an entirely different relevance. And last but not least I have to say that we as a company are only so successful because we have simply wonderful employees; it is a team victory of the 160 workers who produce top-quality chocolate at Zotter every day. Many thanks to the Zotter team."
Georg Bernardini: "CHOCOLATE – THE REFERENCE STANDARD. The Chocolate Tester 2015. The best chocolates and pralines in the world. What’s behind it all and what we can gladly forego." 919 pages, $ 60.00 www.thechocolatetester.com, also available at www.zotterusa.com by mid of October 2015.
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