Number of int’l awards for PH cacao beans just keeps growing » Manila Bulletin Lifestyle

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Number of int’l awards for PH cacao beans just keeps growing

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By Antonio Colina IV

DAVAO CITY — The Cacao In­dustry Development Associa­tion of Mindanao (CIDAMI) is optimistic the five dried and fermented cacao bean entries of the Philippines from Davao Region will win in the prestigious 2019 International Cocoa Awards (ICA) during the Salon Du Chocolat in Paris, France on Oct. 30.

Valente Turtur, CIDAMI executive director, said the five entries – two Com­postela Valley province, two Calinan District and one Paquibato District in Davao City – had been sent to Paris at six kilos per entry last February.

He said the entries were the winners of the Philippine National Cacao Industry Council’s National Cacao Award System, established to select the best cacao beans that will represent the country in the international competition.

He said entries from Philippines would be pitted against nearly 180 entries from 60 countries all over the world dur­ing the biennial competition, regarded as the most prestigious of its kind in the world. An entry from the cacao farm of the Puentespina family in Malagos Dis­trict was adjudged as among the top 50 cacao beans in 2017, he said.

“We are confident this time because we already learned something from our experience. We know the process already, especially the post-harvest process,” Turtur said.

If the five dried and fermented cacao bean entries win, these won’t be the first, not even second and third time for the Philippines. Two Filipino premium choc­olate brands brought the Philippines its first two gold awards at the prestigious 11th Academy of Chocolate Awards in London.

Bohol’s Dalareich 100 percent Unsweetened Chocolate and Davao’s Auro Chocolate’s 100 percent Cacao Un­sweetened Chocolate had won gold under the Drinking Chocolate category.

Auro Chocolate also won two silvers for its 70 percent Dark Chocolate – Saloy Origin and 70 percent Dark Chocolate – Tupi Origin; bronze for 70 percent Dark Chocolate – PaquibatoOrigin, 64 percent Dark Chocolate with Cacao Nibs, 42 per­cent Milk Chocolate with Cacao Nibs, 32 percent Mango White Chocolate with Pili Nut, 32 percent Moringa White Chocolate with Pinipig, and Roasted White Choco­late with Cashew Spread.

Another Davao-based chocolate mak­er, MS3 Agri-ventures, won bronze for MS3 Bonchoc with Cashew and Coffee Granules with Cashew and Coffee Granules under flavored category, 100 percent Dark Choco­late Tablet, and silver for its MS3 Bonchoc with cashew and coffee granules.

Theo and Philo Artisan Chocolate won three bronze for its 65 percent Dark Choco­late with black Sesame, Cashew & Pili, 65 percent Dark Chocolate with Green Mango and Salt, and 65 percent Dark Chocolate with Labuyo.

Contest veteran MalagosAgri-Ventures Corp. also won five bronzes for Malagos 72 percent Dark Chocolate, 100 percent Pure Unsweetened Chocolate, 72 per­cent Dark Chocolate Ganache, Rhum Praline, and Almonds in Couverture Dark Chocolate, bringing its total international awards to 34 and one gold from a national competition.

What makes him so sure of victory yet again?

“We are confident this time because we al­ready learned something from our experience. We know the process already, especially the post-harvest process,” Turtur said.

Based on the website of Cocoa of Excel­lence Program (CoEx), all entries will undergo a physical quality and sensory evaluation from February to July and flavor sensory evaluation of coca liquor by the CoEx Technical Committee from July to August.

The announcement of the top 50 entries will be made between July and August, Turtur said. From the top 50, the 22-member jury will sector 14 winners.

According to CoEx, the ICA, a global competi­tion recognizing the work of cocoa farmers and celebrating the diversity of cocoa flavors, and spearheaded by Bioversity International and Event International to recognize “quality, flavor and diver­sity of cocoas according to their origin.”

The best 50 samples will be showcased at the Salon Du Chocolat, which will gather 500 participants from 60 countries, including over 200 renowned chefs and pastry chefs.

He added the judging process is very meticulous as it requires farmers to document from the time the cacao trees bloom, bear fruits, date of harvest, fermentation period, and fertilizers used in farms.

Top European chocolate makers will base their decision where to buy beans on the results of the international competition, he said.

He added Davao’s chocolate had passed the standard of the European buyers because of its fine flavor largely due to the farmers’ choice of variety and post-harvest processes although he admitted some of the homegrown chocolates need more refining.

Turtur said much has to be done to make the Philippines a cacao nation, including changing the attitude of farmers in doing things at the farm level

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