It was a sweet landslide victory for Presumptive President Rodrigo Duterte, former Mayor of Davao City, as the incoming 16th President of the Philippines. For another winner from his home city of Davao, though, it was an unsweetened win. Davao’s pride Malagos Chocolate 100-percent unsweetened chocolate took home the silver award under the Drinking Chocolate Category at the prestigious Academy of Chocolate 2016 Awards held in London, UK.
Last year, Malagos Agri-Ventures Corp. (the maker of Malagos Chocolate), won the Bronze Award in the same category from the same award-giving body. Now, it is eyeing the Gold Award next year. Another chocolate product, Malagos 65-percent Dark Chocolate, won the Silver Award at the World Drinking Chocolate Competition in Hannover, Germany held in October 2015.
According to its website, “The Academy of Chocolate was founded in 2005 by five of Britain’s leading chocolate professionals who believe that eating fine chocolate is one of life’s great pleasures. Academy members meet to taste, discuss, demonstrate and debate issues regarding sourcing, transparency and the journey from bean to bar.”
What makes Malagos Chocolate special? It is single-origin made from ethically grown and processed beans that have been fermented, solar-dried and carefully graded using specialized equipment at the 24-hectare Puentespina Cacao Farm in Malagos, Baguio District, Davao City. Puentespina cacao beans are produced in the foothills of Mount Talomo.
Malagos Chocolate is very smooth and melts-in-your-mouth quality because they use a ball mill that can grind cacao beans to up to 25 microns, a quality distinct in the production of fine chocolates. Precision-controlled roasting also makes sure the beans are heated to the correct temperature, preserving their aroma.
When you buy Malagos Chocolate, you are also helping cacao farmers. Besides their own harvest, Malagos also sources cacao beans from about a hundred small farmers in the area. Through its partnership with Mars Cocoa Sustainability Team, they also train farmers about good agricultural practices in cacao farming at the Mars Cocoa Development Center. Malagos also distributes cacao seedlings and seeds to farmers all over Mindanao.
Malagos Chocolate products, commercially launched in June 2013, include Malagos 100 percent Pure Unsweetened Chocolate, 65 percent Dark Chocolate, and Roasted Cacao Nibs. These are sold in selected stores all over the Philippines and exported to Singapore, London and the United States.
The mother and son team of Charita and Rex Puentespina are at the helm of Malagos Agri-Ventures, which was established in 2012 in Agdao, Davao City. It is part of the Puentespina Group of Companies, which is involved in agricultural and fine foods enterprises. It also operates Puentespina Orchids & Tropical Plants Inc., Malagos Cheese of Malagos Farmhouse and Malagos Garden Resort.