Israeli Chocolatier Melts International Competition

Rotem Maimon
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Cohen's truffles.. Three Israelis made the final round of the competition.Credit: Eyal Toueg
Rotem Maimon

Chocolatier Ika Cohen won an International Chocolate Awards Gold Medal on Sunday in the flavored dark ganaches and truffles category with a ganache made with za’atar.

The contest, which held its European Semifinals in Florence, was launched in 2012 by leading American, British and Italian chocolatiers to promote the industry.

When the first contest was announced two years ago, Yael Rose, an Israeli living in London who organizes chocolate festivals internationally, all over the world, contacted leading chocolatiers in Israel and suggested they enter the competition. Of the many candidates, three made the final round: Cardinal Chocolaterie, Holy Cacao and Ika Chocolate (Ika Cohen). Ika Chocolate came away from that first contest with a bronze medal for a lemon praline.

There was no Israeli round in 2014, but many chocolatiers entered the competition independently, including Cohen and Bruno Chocolate. Cohen’s decision to make a ganache with za’atar turned out brilliantly. “It was a praline that was talked about a lot, because most of the judges were not familiar with za’atar. They liked the way the salt balanced it and the harmony of the praline,” Cohen said from Italy. Chocolatiers Dubi Zolty and Dorit Triokas helped develop the combination.

Bruno Chocolate’s Freger is not coming home empty-handed; she won two silver medals for her Mumbai Crunch and Halvah Cream pralines in the “ganaches and truffles with mixed dark/white/milk for coating and fillings” category. There were a total of 31 categories in the European Semifinals, for chocolate bars, bittersweet chocolates, filled chocolates and more.

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