'The Oscars of chocolate' - the lucky judges sniffing, tasting and rating endless amounts of NZ's finest chocolate

Judges in New Zealand's first national chocolate awards have been asked to keep "their palates in peak shape" as they devour endless amounts of the sweet treat. 

The "Oscars of chocolate" for New Zealand producers is underway, and judges have 120 samples to sniff, taste and rate. Source: Seven Sharp

The event's been titled "the Oscars of chocolate", and with 120 samples to sniff, taste and rate, the awards is a glutenous marathon for the judges.

"The Oscars of chocolate, every New Zealand chocolate maker has put their heart and soul into having their chocolates assessed here today," Chocolate Awards organiser Nicola McConnell told Seven Sharp's Tim Wilson. 

"We've asked the judges to keep their palates in peak shape," Ms Connell said. 

"So we've said to them no coffee this morning. No perfume. No aftershave."

The Kiwi boutique chocolate industry sold more than $1 million last year and continues to grow, with companies like Hogarth's of Nelson leading the way.