Malagos chalks up a win in int’l chocolate tilt
DAVAO CITY, Philippines—Dark chocolates made by a family-run company here won the bronze medal in a contest organized by the Academy of Chocolates in London, proving to the world that Davao-made chocolates can be at par with those made by top quality chocolate makers around the world.
With the bronze in the Best Unflavored Drinking Chocolate category, Malagos Premium 100% Unsweetened Chocolate, produced by the Malagos Agri-Ventures Corp., won the first award the Philippines ever got in the international event most awaited by the world’s top chocolate makers.
“This goes to show that our base chocolate (cocoa liquor) can compete side by side with other chocolates around the world,” said Rex Puentespina, whose family owns and runs Malagos Agri-Ventures.
“This award validates the quality of beans and chocolates we have been producing the past two years,” added Puentespina, sales and marketing director of Malagos.
Five of Britain’s leading chocolate professionals created the Academy of Chocolates in 2005 to campaign for better chocolate and promote greater awareness of the process of making chocolate from bean to bar, differentiating between fine chocolate and mass-produced chocolate confectionery.
This year, it received a record number of 500 entries around the world, prompting organizers to extend the event to five days, as more judges were involved in the jury panel and the judging, which took place at Westminster Kingsway College.
Chaired by globally respected wine expert Charles Metcalfe, judges included chocolate experts and buyers, pastry chefs, food professionals and food journalists.
Malagos’ award-winning entry was one of the first products of the company’s venture into producing high-quality, single-origin chocolates.
Malagos started making premium single-origin cocoa liquor in 2012, years after its training from the Mars Cocoa Sustainability Team on how to grow and produce high quality cacao beans.
A senior experts’ group, PUM (Programma Uitzending Managers), based in The Netherlands, provided the company the much-needed technical assistance on chocolate making.
The company, which also grows cacao trees in Calinan district here, owns a cacao nursery certified by the Bureau of Plant Industry and supplies cacao seedlings, seeds and scions all over Mindanao.
“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.
The company has invested in solar dryers, precision-controlled roasters, ball mill grinders and tempering machines, and continues to invest in equipment and technology, he said.
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.
The family is also in the business of growing ornamental plants and cut flowers, operating a cacao nursery, running a nature-themed resort in Davao and producing cheese under the brand Malagos Farmhouse.
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