Davao Chocolate Earns International Award

Chocolates made from Davao-grown beans has won an international award organized by the Academy of Chocolates in London.

Malagos Premium 100% Unsweetened Chocolate, produced by Malagos Agri-Ventures Corp. won the bronze medal in Best Unflavored Drinking Chocolate category, making it the first-ever award a Philippines-based company won in the international chocolate award-giving arena.

“This goes to show that our base chocolate (cocoa liquor) can compete side by side with other chocolates around the world,” said Rex Puentespina, sales and marketing director of Malagos Agri-Ventures.

A total of record 500 entries were received by organizers of Academy of Chocolates, established in 2005 by leading British chcolate makers to promote greater awareness of chocolate production — from bean to bar — and differentiate fine chocolate from mass-produced chocolate confectionery.

Judging of entries took place at Westminster Kingsway College. Food writers and bloggers such as Xanthe Clay, Andrew Baker and Jennifer Earle were part of the panel of judges.

The award-winning entry of Malagos Agri-Ventures Corp. was one of its first products in the production of high-quality, single-origin chocolates. Cacao trees are grown in Calinan district and owns a nursery certified by the Bureau of Plant Industry used to distribute cacao seedlings, seeds and scions all over Mindanao.

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“The beans we grow are considered fine flavor beans. These beans are manually harvested then fermented on the farm to further enhance naturally the complex flavor of cocoa,” said Puentespina, whose family is also well-known in the business of ornamental plants and cut flowers.

Experts from Netherlands-based PUM (Programma Uitzending Managers) provided the local company with technical assistance on chocolate making. The company has also invested in solar dryers, precision-controlled roasters, ball mill grinders and tempering machines, and continues to invest in equipment and technology.

Aside from its winning entry, Malagos also produces other premium, single-origin chocolates such as the Malagos 65-percent Dark Chocolate, Malagos Roasted Cocoa Nibs, and soon, Malagos 56-percent and 72-percent Dark Chocolates, which are also used for baking and cooking.

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