Chocolate competition The World Chocolate Masters is set to kick off is national pre-selections in the run-up to the 2017/18 event.

The theme for the next World Chocolate Masters if Futropolis, which was revealed in a series of live events held simultaneously in 20 participating countries. For the UK and Ireland the event was attended by former participants Ruth Hinks and Alistair Birt.

During 2017, national selections will be staged, with just one contestant per participating country being proclaimed National Chocolate Master. This pre-selection process for the UK and Ireland will take place in October 2017 and the winner will represent his or her country during the global final in October 2018, where the new World Chocolate Master will be chosen by an international jury.

According to the organisers, the theme of Futropolis takes its inspiration from the “growing phenomenon of megacities”, with more than half the world’s population expected to be living in cities with 10 million inhabitants or more by 2025. The challenge for contestants is to consider how chocolate haute patisserie and culinary desserts will look and taste in this future world.

“Creative visions of the future of chocolate gastronomy” must be the starting point for all contestants to express their creativity, added the organisers.

In the pre-selection process the contestants will have one day to create a chocolate showpiece called ‘Citizens of Futropolis’, a hybrid pastry reflecting the ‘flavours of Futropolis’, and a chocolate snack to go. In each of the assignments, the contestants will need to integrate the theme in the shape, design, presentation and selection of ingredients they use.

In a new twist to this year’s competition, Cacao Barry and the World Chocolate Masters will develop training and coaching boot camps for all finalists to prepare them for the final. WCM project manager Marta Juanola explained: “We will take them to some special places where mentors and coaches will immerse them in experiences and help them stimulate their creative thinking and competitive spirit.”

Joost Lindeman, global brand manager for Cacao Barry, the supporting chocolate brand behind the competition, said: “The World Chocolate Masters has always been the platform where new talents showcase how they push the boundaries of chocolate. What chefs have created there has often been a preview of a new trend that was later seen on the high street. We’re really looking forward to seeing the new take on chocolate by young millennial chefs and their ideas of flavour creation, combining it with savoury elements, plants, locally grown ingredients, etc.”