By JOSHUA SUH / Staff Writer

A two-year old Orange County based company has won a Six Star Grand Master Award for Best Chocolatiers & Confectioners at the 9th Annual San Francisco International Chocolate Salon held at the Fort Mason Center in March, with top awards announced just recently.

Valenza Chocolatier, which launched at the Hood Kitchen Space in Costa Mesa was one of only 18 participants ranked at grand master in the competition judged by local chefs and media experts. The contest is presented by TasteTV and Chocolate Television. Salons are held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle Monterey and Sacramento.

“Regardless of age or where you’re at in life, never give up on something that you are truly passionate about,” said Certified Master Chocolatier Amy Pedone. “The possibilities are too great to miss out on.”

In 2008, Pedone decided to pursue a passion she loved, chocolate, quitting a corporate job to attend the Ecole Chocolate Professional School of Chocolate Arts in Vancouver, Canada. She completed her chocolatier certification in her homeland of Italy in 2013. Her company makes Italian inspired bonbons, bars and other confections by hand using single bean origin, fair trade chocolate and no preservatives.

Find their chocolate at local retailers such as Kean Coffee in Newport Beach and The Hood Market in Costa Mesa or online at

Last week, another Orange County chocolate company nabbed a coveted award from the Academy of Chocolate in London. ChocXO, of Irvine, nabbed bronze medals for Best Dark Chocolate Bean-to-Bar under 80% for their Camino Verde 72% Single Origin; Guantupi 75% Single Origin; and Tres Rios, limited edition. Their chocolates are available at cafes in Costa Mesa and Lake Forest and at the factory in Irvine.


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