Four chocolate brands grace festivals abroad

Four artisan chocolate brands produced in Mindanao will be showcased in international festivals this year in Paris, France and Seattle in the US, an official of Cacao Industry Development Association of Mindanao Inc. said.

The four brands are Malagos Chocolates, NutraRich Davao Fine Table and Rosario’s Davao Artisanal Chocolates, all from Davao City, and Kablon Farms from South Cotabato.

These will be exhibited in Salon du Chocolat on October 28 to November 1 in Paris in Porte de Versailles and The Northwest Chocolate Festival on November 11 to 12 in Seattle, CIDAMI executive director Valente Turtur told reporters during Kapehan sa Dabaw Monday.

He said they will also bring Bohol’s Ginto Luxury Chocolates and other national brands that source cacao beans produced in Davao Region like the Theo & Philo Artisan Chocolates, Hiraya 72% Single-Origin Dark Chocolate Bar, and Auro Chocolate.

Joining the international festivals gives an opportunity to showcase the world-class chocolates from the country and connect local producers to Western markets.

“With over 500 participants from 60 countries, including over 200 renowned chefs and pastry chefs, the Salon du Chocolat is the must-see event for all chocolate lovers,” a press release posted on www.salon-du-chocolat.com said.

Meanwhile, The Northwest Chocolate Festival is a “top show for chocolate in North America today and one of the best shows for chocolate in the world for the past six years running”.

Turtur said the quality of beans used to be a challenge in the past but he acknowledged that many of the farmers in Mindanao have improved on their technology, techniques, and husbandry and are now producing better quality cacao beans.

As of 2016, the Philippine Statistics Authority recorded 6,262.77 metric tons (MT) of cacao produced in the Philippines that has an annual demand of 50,000MT.

Of this volume, 5,073 MT was produced in the region – Davao del Sur (1,702.54MT), Davao City (1,606.80), Davao del Norte (945.31MT), Davao Oriental (507.26MT), and Compostela Valley (311.92MT).

The city government of Davao opened a “Cacao City” at the Pasalubong Center on Palma Gil St. that showcases various cacao-based products of the city.

A press release from the City Information Office said, “Cacao City would serve as a show window and a retail outlet for cacao products, including chocolates. Davao City has been aiming to become the country’s chocolate capital”.

“We envision that this is the venue for the buyers and suppliers together… This is a venue where we can help more SMEs and more small farmers get into cacao farming and cacao processing,” City Mayor Sara Duterte was quoted as saying.

Cacao City aims to to make “cacao farming to become a profitable venture — eventually transforming lives of farmers” as well as providing opportunity to small entrepreneurs, marginal farmers, and the indigenous people to become major players in the cacao and chocolate industry.

“We hope in the end, it will help uplift the lives of fellow Filipinos. This is one of our projects under our program on poverty alleviation,” she said.

“We want our farmers to become producers of globally-competitive quality chocolates,” she said.

Leo Leuterio, head of the Davao City Agriculture Office, said the city government is serious in helping the cacao sector, considering that the city has already made a mark as a destination for cacao enthusiasts — as it now boasts of the “tree to bar production chocolate experience”.

“If you want to do it right, the chocolates and cacao are right here in Davao,” Leuterio said. “Davao is now part of the global map for cacao and chocolates that is why we put up a centerpiece of cacao here through Cacao City. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)

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