Newcomer takes top prize at New Zealand Chocolate Awards

by | Oct 26, 2022 | News

A new, young Wairarapa chocolatier has taken out the title of New Zealand’s best in the NZ Chocolate Awards.

Johnty Tatham, aka Lucid Chocolatier is NZ Chocolate Awards 2022 Supreme Winner with Lucid Chocolatier 68% Port. He took the title ahead of 150 NZ-made chocolates from 31 chocolate makers and chocolatiers from across Aotearoa at the Awards which were judged in Auckland at the beginning of October.

Lucid Chocolatier 68% Port also won the and Bean to Bar Flavoured category and is a chocolate bar flavoured with Port. Nibs from Marañon cacao beans were submerged in a 10-year-old Taylor’s Tawny Port. The judges raved about it saying “Outstanding aroma notes and flavour and complexity. Flawless texture with exceptional length. Perfect example of restraint.” Lucid Chocolatier 68% Port is $22.

Lucid Chocolatier was also Bean to Bar Plain Category Winner for Bean to Bar Lucid Chocolatier 72% Santiago De Sisa. In addition to being the Supreme Winner and collecting two Category Winner titles Lucid Chocolatier won 14 medals at this year’s NZ Chocolate Awards; seven Gold Medals, four Silver Medals and three Bronze awards.

Lucid Chocolatier, founded in 2020, is a bean to bar maker meaning it controls the entire chocolate making process from sourcing cacao, roasting it, grinding and winnowing, tempering and making through to selling. All Lucid chocolates are made exclusively from Peruvian cacao, which Johnty chose after analysing nearly thirty samples from throughout the world with the top three all coming from Peru.

In a wonderful irony, which is a nod to the small and collaborative nature of Aotearoa’s artisan chocolate makers, Johnty’s rise to the top has been supported by two previous NZ Chocolate Awards Supreme Winners. His first chocolate making job was with Nico Bonnaud from Honest Chocolat, the inaugural Supreme Winner in the NZ Chocolate Awards 2017. An encouraging discussion with  NZ Chocolate Awards 2020 Supreme Winner, David Herrick from Foundry Chocolate sold 23 year old Johnty on the lifestyle of a boutique chocolatier.

Blending artisan chocolate and local boutique spirits was a winning combination with three category winners doing just this. La Petite Chocolate Dr Beak Premium Gin Dark Chocolate took out the title for Flavoured Chocolate Bar. The collaboration is handcrafted by artisan Wellington chocolatier La Petite, combining Dr Beak Gin botanicals with single origin, organic and fair-trade chocolate. La Petite Chocolate is sold through their store in Thorndon and in selected stores across the country. The judges commented that the complex flavour combination worked saying it was “very clever to manage the balance between the cocoa and the various flavour components”.

Aroha Chocolate Whiskey Hearts collected the title for Filled Chocolates – Truffles & Bonbons. Handmade in Nelson each Aroha Chocolate heart starts with tempered Belgian chocolate which is filled with chocolate ganache infused with Waitui Single Malt, a local Tasman eight-year aged whiskey. Chocolate maker Aroha sell their chocolate online and offer tasting experiences. The judges said the Aroha Chocolate Whiskey Hearts had a “lusciously creamy filling” saying the bon bons were “creamy and dreamy”.

Sticking in the Mainland; Adelphi Fine Chocolate, Florentine Chocolate Bark, made in Christchurch, was awarded the Chocolate Bark, Brittle or Dipped Fruit and Nut title. Adelphi Fine Chocolate is all handcrafted by Sarah Donovan a 20-year veteran chocolate maker who honed her craft in Sydney and New Zealand. In a timely twist, Sarah gave up her fulltime job as a chef six weeks ago to pursue chocolate making. According to the judges, Adelphi Fine Chocolate, Florentine Chocolate Bark is “An exceptional product…beautifully balanced.” Adelphi Fine Chocolate is available at the Riverside Collective in Christchurch’s Riverside Market.

In the Kaipara region of Northland, Paparoa’s Tatiana White sells her creations under the Dekadenz label and was winner of the Christmas and Novelty category with Dekadenz Christmas Treat. Tatiana uses Callebaut Belgium Chocolate as the basis of her chocolates. Tatiana’s skill was recognised by the judges who said: “Beautiful exquisite, accomplished painting…balanced flavour, subtle, gentle, lasting, moreish…a real all occasion chocolate!”

Warkworth is home Chocolate Brown winner of the Kids’ Favourite for their Chocolate Brown, Hedgehog White Chocolate. Chocolate Brown has a chocolate shop and a café, both of which are open seven days. Judged by chocolate lovers who are 12 and 14 they were excited by the white chocolate hedgehogs hand painted with brown spikes and loved what they described as the ‘delicious’ flavour.

Everyone loves the comfort of a rich hot chocolate so it’s good know the hotly contested category was won by Foundry Chocolate, Pinalum, Malekula Island, Vanuatu Drinking Chocolate. Judges thoroughly enjoyed this hot chocolate and said; “well developed, full flavour, balanced….a lovely silky melt”.

 NZ Chocolate Awards Director Kathie Bartley said it was wonderful to see so many new chocolate makers being recognised in the biennial awards. “It bodes well for chocolate lovers looking for special treats to enjoy and share over the coming gifting and summer season.”

A complete list of all winners including medal winners is on and an online Christmas store featuring winners’ products will be available on this website from Monday 14 November.




Supreme Winner

Lucid Chocolatier, 68% Port


Category Winners


Bean to Bar Plain 

Lucid Chocolatier, 72% Santiago De Sisa


Bean to Bar Flavoured 

Lucid Chocolatier, 68% Port


Flavoured Chocolate Bar

La Petite Chocolate, Dr Beak Premium Gin Dark Chocolate


Filled Chocolates – Truffles & Bonbons

Aroha Chocolate, Whiskey Hearts


Chocolate Bark, Brittle or Dipped Fruit and Nut

Adelphi Fine Chocolate, Florentine Chocolate Bark


Christmas and Novelty 

Dekadenz, Christmas Treat


Kids’ Favourite

Chocolate Brown, Hedgehog White Chocolate


Drinking Chocolate

Foundry Chocolate, Pinalum, Malekula Island, Vanuatu Drinking Chocolate


Press Release: New Zealand Chocolate Awards

Photo: Charisse Kenion on Unsplash

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