The announcement comes ahead of the grand final to be held at Claridge's this July, which will reveal the overall winners of the Golden Bean, Newcomer, Rising Star, and Mott Green Sustainability awards, as well as the new Golden Bonbon Award for the highest-scoring filled chocolate.
Judges this year included chairman of the jury Sarah Hartnett, and academy chairman Sara Jayne Stanes OBE, as well as members of the committee Will Torrent, Chantal Coady OBE, Marc Demarquette, Sarah Jane Evans, Marie Pierre Moine, Clive Martyr, Christopher Reeve, and Simon Wright. Patron of the Academy is Michel Roux OBE.
There were 600 entries to the Bar category this year; double the number in 2016.
Entries came from across the globe, with notable UK winners including Dormouse Chocolates from Manchester, which won gold for its 51.5% Milk Guatemala; Rococo, which won gold for its Orange Blossom Neroli bar; and Waitrose, which won gold for its Indian Ocean Chocolate with Coconut 54%.
The winners revealed a number of trends too, with salt still slightly ahead of chilli and pepper as the favourite flavour, while coffee and guaduja are still popular too.
There were also some new "crazy innovations", including tomato and raspberry, and shallot and garlic, with "some better than others", according to the Academy.
"I wish to add my congratulations to the award winners," says Hartnett. "The many entries in the new Tree to Bar category really highlighted the global drive to improve chocolate. Elsewhere we found superb, innovative combinations of flavours. It seems to me that the future of the industry is looking stronger than ever."
Stanes adds: “It is doubly rewarding to see so many new entries from all four corners of the globe as well as many familiar chocolate people maintaining the quality and momentum of this fast growing, unprecedented arena of chocolate excellence," says Stanes. "I am excited that the Academy of Chocolate has the chance to recognise them.”