IceBreaker Speaker Named “Grand Master” Chocolatier by International Chocolate Salon


Contact: Erik Greenfield, Communications Manager, 608-443-1952 (office), 608-669-7884 (cell)

MADISON – CocoVaa Chocolatier owner Syovata Edari, recently named one of three keynote speakers at the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce’s fourth annual IceBreaker luncheon, has been awarded a six-star “Grand Master” title by the International Chocolate Salon as one of the top chocolatiers and confectioners in America. Edari is one of only nine recipients of the Salon’s highest ranking for 2018.

The juried awards are based on the combined total number of gold and silver awards received by each entrant in the previous year. In 2017, Edari won gold, silver and bronze awards across several categories, including gold awards for her hazelnut macchiato, cardamom pear, Morello cherry caramel, rose bar and her black sesame bar made with single-origin white chocolate she sources from a family-owned company in Colombia. Edari received awards in every category she entered.

“As someone who continually seeks the greater for herself and others, Vata has earned this incredible honor with her passion, leadership and courage,” said Chamber President Zach Brandon. “We are thrilled to bring her to the IceBreaker stage, where we know her remarkable story will inspire attendees as much it has already inspired us.”

“I am surprised and humbled by this recognition, especially knowing I’ve been in business for less than two years and am competing with veteran chocolate companies from around the world,” said Edari. “Launching CocoVaa has taken a tremendous amount of time and investment, but I take great pride in the fact that I have built it my own way, which has allowed me to make quality chocolate while developing a unique relationship with my customers.”

After 15 years as a trial lawyer, Edari traveled to France to attend a master chocolatier course at Ecole Chocolat. Now pursuing her passion for artisanal chocolate-making on Madison’s North Side, she remains an advocate for herself and others, including recently defending herself against a trademark lawsuit from Mars Inc., who claimed the CocoVaa name infringed on Mars’ CocoaVia brand of nutritional supplements. Edari joins Gen. Marcia Anderson, the first African-American woman major general in the history of the U.S. Army, and Dr. Julia Nepper, who at age 23 is one of the youngest Ph.D. recipients in the country, as featured IceBreaker speakers.

Presented by CUNA Mutual Group, the Chamber’s fourth annual IceBreaker will bring together 1,000 current and future business leaders on Thursday, April 12, for the only business event on the floor of the Kohl Center. To register, visit here:

About the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce:
The Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business with nearly 1,300 organizations – ranging from one-person shops to corporations with more than 10,000 employees – working to bring the Greater Madison area to its full potential. The Greater Madison region is a leader in innovation. From cutting-edge technologies to distinctive retail shops to inventive services and products, our members vary greatly but are united by the region’s entrepreneurial spirit. More information can be found at


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