I was truly thrilled and honoured to be asked to take part in the judging of the Academy of Chocolate Awards this year, and quite literally lept at the chance to be involved in something that really, truly excites me. I also had no idea quite how hard it would be. I know, I know, it sounds heavenly doesn’t it? In reality, I agreed to take part in two consecutive days judging the filled chocolate categories and hadn’t really prepared myself for the round after round of plates brought to the table in quick succession. On each day my fellow judges and I managed to get through around 60 chocolates in the space of four hours, while scoring each one as accurately as possible and writing coherent and constructive notes. I’ve never thought of eating chocolate as a task, but this came close; the entries were a really mixed bag, ranging from the truly dreadful to the sublime. At the end of each day I found myself reeling from the excess of chocolate, caffiene and sugar.