The producer of the internationally-awarded Malagos Chocolates has opened the country's first Chocolate Museum in Malagos Garden Resort in Calinan, Davao.
The museum complements the Malagos Cacao Farm, which straddles 30 hectares of 50-year-old rehabilitated cacao trees.
Charisse Puentespina, project director and head of Charisse Puentespina Designers and Associate, said the opening of the Chocolate Museum is the "newest attraction in Davao City." Aside from attracting visitors, Puentespina is hoping it would encourage other farmers to grow cacao and engage in sustainable farming.
"What we are proud of about the museum is the 'tree to bar' (chocolate) experience," said Puentespina.
"Once harvested, the cacao beans are brought to the plant where we do the chocolates so that in terms of traceability, one is sure that what they are eating is safe, she added.
Puentespina, who is also in charge of production, said they want to share their cacao growing and cacao making procedures to the public.
She said the plant is able to produce 15 tons of chocolates a month but “we hope to to increase production with the additional equipment and technology.”
The plant is still half-mechanized as there are still portions that are manually operated.
Puentespina said the task is challenging. However, she said their foremost objective is to provide a venue to educate the youth on sustainable farming and chocolate production.
The company's chocolate maker, Rex Peuntespina, said the entrance to the museum includes a welcome information about the "tree to bar" concept, which is "very unique" compared to other museums abroad.
"We should be proud that raw materials in foreign countries that have museums showcasing chocolate-making, like in Europe, source their raw materials from us," he said.
At the museum, the company teaches people how to appreciate dark chocolates.
"We show them how chocolates are made from scratch (as well as) the practices in the farm," he said.
He said it is a "must-see" in Davao City as the tour can be capped with the "make your own chocolate" in the demo area.
The Malagos Chocolate is a 2-Star Winner (3-star highest) at the 2016 Great Taste competition, the "Oscars" of the food world, held in London last August. In April 2016, it won a silver award for Best Unflavoured Drinking Chocolate at the 2016 Academy of Chocolate Awards in London.
It won its first award, a bronze award for Best Unflavoured Drinking Chocolate, at the 2015 Academy of Chocolate Awards in London.
Puentespina said with their chocolate products winning international awards, it makes "people curious how and where these chocolates are made."(PNA)LAP/BS/LCM/Digna D. Banzon/LDP