Amano Artisan Chocolate Takes Europe by Storm

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American chocolate maker nabs five medals at London's Academy of Chocolate Awards

Chocolate maker Amano Artisan Chocolate was decorated with every shade of precious medal at the prestigious Academy of Chocolate Awards in London on February 13, 2009--the "Olympics" of the chocolate world. Each Amano chocolate bar that was submitted for review received accolades, with the most impressive honor being a Gold Medal for the 70% Madagascar Premium Dark. In nabbing the Gold, Amano claimed the highest award ever given to an American company for bean-to-bar dark chocolate.

Amano's chocolates were among a record number of entries, with over 440 chocolate products submitted by the world's top chocolatiers. An esteemed panel of judges consisted of Academy members, Michelin starred chefs, food writers and international chocolate professionals. After four days of judging, the Academy deemed Amano's entire current product line medal worthy: Madagascar garnered a Gold Medal, the Ocumare a Silver Medal, the new Jembrana bar a Bronze Medal. Two Amano chocolate bars that are currently only available on Amano's website, the Montanya (70% cacoa) bar and Ocumare Milk Chocolate bar, were awarded Silver and Bronze medals, respectively.

Amano, founded and run by Art Pollard, a world traveling, self proclaimed "Indiana Jones" of cocoa bean hunting, is one of the few true chocolate makers in the United States, and one of only a handful that are not large corporate giants. Pollard obtains superior-quality cocoa beans direct from sources and artfully transforms them into finished super-premium chocolate. Amano makes chocolate slowly and in small batches using traditional methods and antique equipment. The company currently makes three 70% cocoa bean-to-bar chocolates: Jembrana, Madagascar, and Ocumare ($7.00/2oz). The Montanya (70% cacao) and the Ocumare Milk bars, both from Venezuela, are slated for national retail release this spring.

Just this month, Amano also debuted five new cocoa nib varieties: Madagascar ($11.95/6oz bag), Ocumare ($11.95/6oz bag), Jembrana ($10.95/6oz bag), Barlovento ($10.95/6oz bag), and Accra ($9.95/6oz bag). Unlike other chocolate makers, who package their cocoa nibs abroad, Pollard and his team roast the beans and package the nibs on-site.

About Amano: In 1996, Art Pollard, a scientist and technology company owner, decided that there had to be better chocolate than what was available in the U.S. So began his quest for the ultimate chocolate. After research and experimentation, Art developed a process that incorporated both modern and ancient chocolate-making techniques. When the chocolate began getting rave reviews from local chefs, Art began to make his chocolate available direct to consumers on his website and through small specialty retailers. For more information, visit http://www.amanochocolate.com.

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