Filipinos’ love for chocolate is undeniable. Chocolates are the ultimate dessert or snack for many; it’s one of the best pick-me-up foods when you feel sad and blue. It’s also a popular gift every Valentine’s Day, anniversaries, and special occasions. One thing’s for sure, chocolates are still a hit. But, do you know the main secret ingredient of chocolate? It’s Cacao.
Cacao, scientifically known as Theobroma cacao, has been revered in history as the “food of the gods.” In the Philippines, cacao first became part of our culture when it was first introduced to the early Filipinos in the mid-17th century during the galleon trade. Today, the rise of cacao and the Philippine chocolate industry has been rapid as its products and raw materials bagged numerous international awards.
Global recognition does bring pride to the country, which encourages more farmers to plant cacao. With the rise of the chocolate industry also comes the market and creation of artisan chocolate. This article features seven (7) of the country’s best homegrown chocolate producers and sellers supporting farms that adhere to sustainable agricultural practices. Sustainability is their businesses’ standard pillar. So, you don’t only have the pleasure of eating chocolate, but you will experience a happy journey from seed to table.
- Casa De Cacao & The Chocolate Chamber
For the Chocolate Queen of Cebu Raquel T. Choa, chocolate is more than just a dessert. Taking you on a Cacao Journey at Casa de Cacao (Chocolate Appreciation Tours) and The Chocolate Chamber (retail store), she will tell you her stories — The Legend of Maria Cacao —– which will capture your imagination while sipping hot “sikwate” perfected by Raquel herself.
Her chocolate creations made from pure cacao beans will fill your heart and palate with the different notes and flavors of cacao that’s as colorful and flavorful as life itself.
Once known as the ‘food of the gods,” cacao takes the main stage in the Chocolate Appreciation Tours of Raquel and is celebrated and enjoyed as it once had been.
At Casa de Cacao and The Chocolate Chamber, you will be able to taste the myriad of flavors of cacao, and try out their chocolate creations, such as the Quickmelt Tablea, White/Dark Chocolate with Cacao Nibs, Cacao de Bola, Choco Cayenne, Tsokolate Bar, Choco Nib Oatmeal Cookies, Fartufini, Flavored Chocolate Powder, and Raquel’s newest creation, Moringa Alfajores — crumbly vanilla-malunggay cookies filled with tablea caramel and coated with white chocolate and malunggay.
Behind her achievements as an entrepreneur, Raquel is driven by a purpose – her advocacy to uplift the Filipino chocolate, the Philippine Cacao industry and support farmers – making her and her chocolate creations all the more admirable.
- Malagos Chocolate
Taken from Malagos Chocolate’s Facebook Page
As one of the most popular locally-made chocolate brands in the Philippines, Malagos Chocolate has captivated the meticulous taste of global chocolate lovers for its unique and superb taste.
Malagos Chocolate is situated in Davao, dubbed as the Cacao Capital of the Philippines, and responsible for 80% of the country’s production. The city’s environment where it’s grown, including the climate and genetics, influences the taste of the chocolate and its signature chocolate flavor and notes. Malagos Chocolate has also received international recognition and awards.
Taken from Malagos Chocolate’s Facebook Page
The farm has a Malagos Garden Resort, where you can stay overnight or spend a day tour around the country’s first chocolate museum and experience a Tree-To-Bar Tour, chocolate-making activity, or pamper yourself with a chocolate spa. Founded by mother-son tandem Roberto and Charita Puentespina, Malagos has welcomed guests since 1994 and is now deemed as one of Davao’s top tourist spots.
- Dalareich Chocolate House
Credits to: Dalareich Chocolate House
Where else could chocolate be discovered than in the land of the Chocolate Hills – Bohol? With so much Spanish influence across Bohol island, cacao has become part of Boholanos’ culture. Each Boholano household has at least one to three (1-3) Cacao trees planted in their backyard. No wonder the Polot family founded the Dalareich Chocolate House in Bohol that received international recognition from the London-based Academy of Chocolate Awards in 2019.
It has a Ginto Chocolates social enterprise that makes bean-to-bar chocolates from locally grown cacao trees planted by local farmers. Aside from its renowned Tablea, a local chocolate drink, this family business also advocates for an ‘Adopt a Cacao Tree and Preserve’s Bohol Cacao Heritage’ project to preserve and rehabilitate heirloom cacao trees and help the farmers earn more income for their families.
Looking for a luxury treat, try its Oro Single Chocolate Bar, which is 75 percent dark chocolate that comes in plain, mint, chili, and coconut flavors. Or, surprise your loved ones with a box of 12 assorted chocolate pralines with fillings of wine and honey, which is one of its Ginto Luxury Chocolates brands. A dried mango or a dried pineapple coated with dark chocolate could be another chocolate choice while shopping at Dalareich. Its chocolate flavor is a combination of the sweet to the sour taste of mango and the bitterness of single-origin dark chocolate.
Dalareich Chocolate House also has a farm where guests can fall in love with their Filipino chocolates even more. Guests will learn about the story behind Dalareich and discover the process of chocolate making and the brief history of cacao in the Philippines. Guests are also expected to witness the life of the hardworking farmers and taste the cacao fruits. To book a farm tour or buy its products, you may check out www.dalareichchocolatehouse.com or book through your favorite Travel Agent or Travel Advisor.
- Cacao Culture
Credits to Cacao Culture Philippines
This is another chocolate producer from the Cacao Capital of the Philippines, Davao City. Cacao Culture is known to produce Cacao Butter and Chunks, Roasted Cacao Nibs with Coconut Sugar, Chocolate Covered Mango Strips.
Taken from Auro Chocolate’s Facebook Page
Its internationally awarded premium bean-to-bar chocolate brand, Auro Chocolate, is rooted in sustainability (buy beans from local farmers) and raised the bar high when it comes to creating high-quality artisan chocolate.
Auro Chocolate offers a wide variety of flavors that will leave a mark on your palette. It fulfills any chocolate lover’s wish with its plain dark and white chocolates. Also in its product line is the chocolate bar with cashews, cacao nibs, and banana chips.
Another of its award-winning artisan chocolate brands is Theo + Philo is one of the first Philippine chocolate makers to make their chocolate exclusively with local cacao. What makes them different is that they mix distinct and unique Filipino flavors like coconut and mango.
5. Risa Chocolates
Taken from Risa Chocolate’s Facebook Page
What started as a stall in a pop-up shop and bazaars now became one of the most sought-after chocolate brands in the country and worldwide. A chocolate seller from the south, Risa is a one-of-a-kind premium handmade chocolate that leaves a lasting impression. It is made with high-quality cacao beans coming from South Cotabato in Mindanao. You will drool from its unique chocolate flavors such as bacon chili chocolate, brown butter chocolate, and Cerveza Negros truffles.
6. Tigre y Oliva Chocolate
An Italian craft chocolatier ventured on social entrepreneurship, working with cacao farmers in the Philippines and creating an emerging chocolate brand, Tigre y Olivia, in La Union. It is known for its handcraft and single-origin chocolate bars that every Chocolate lover must try.
7. Hiraya Filipino Bean-To-Bar Chocolates
Hiraya is a chocolate brand that merges comfort and newness into its products. One of its popular products is the 72% dark chocolate bar, where you can taste its fruitiness with a hint of a bitter taste. Hiraya also experimented with flavors such as chicharron, coconut, and queso de bola. Its products are all-natural and handcrafted , which fits well for vegans. It sources their beans from Davao to help farmers make their living through direct and fair trade, adopting a sustainable and socially conscious practice into its brand.
Discover these award-winning chocolate producers and sellers in the Philippines!
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