When in Manila and you’re looking for something sweet but also healthy, pop a piece of Magdalena’s Cacao Bean Chocolate to satiate your craving.
Excited, yes? Salivating yet? Ta-da, Magdalena’s Cacao Bean Chocolate!
Magdalena’s Cacao Bean Chocolate, the freshest and newest brand of artisanal chocolates in town, is the brainchild of social advocates, spouses Gerardo and Cynthia Baron. Gerardo, fondly called Gerry by his peers, is an award-winning engineer whose works in the agriculture sector, such as the home biogas system and plant root injector, were internationally recognized and largely aided the small domestic farmers. His wife, Cynthia, is a published local book author of Folk Tales and Legends of the Philippines, and Nine Letters: The Story of the 1986 Filipino Revolution, among others.
Gerry Baron and his wife, Cynthia. (Taken from the official Facebook page of Magdalena’s)
Magdalena’s Cacao Bean Chocolate began when Gerry and Cynthia went back in the Philippines to settle down to a quiet life. Possessing little knowledge about farming, Gerry bought cacao seedlings to plant in the spare land located in Magdalena, owned by Cynthia. Magdalena is a small, quaint town in Laguna whose citizens earn a living mostly by farming. Gerry’s ardent dream is to encourage other farmers in Magdalena to plant more cacao trees and supply a portion of the local and international chocolate-making industry someday. As a matter of fact, Philippines is one of the only 33 countries in the world that can grow cacao, the country likewise being among the top cacao producers. Majority of the cacao plant growers are located in Mindanao, with a few in Luzon and Visayas. As a start, Gerry goes on to learn and plant more cacao trees (in his city backyard and in Magdalena) for his artisanal chocolate business, Magdalena’s Cacao Bean Chocolate.
Magdalena’s Cacao Bean Chocolate, he shares, is one of the few handmade chocolates produced locally. Made purely from cacao butter freshly pressed from the cacao beans, Magdalena chocolates do not have preservatives and none of that trans-fat badness mixed in to enhance the flavor. Aside from cacao butter, Magdalena’s Cacao Bean Chocolates also contain locally sourced sugar and wee bit of vanilla and lecithin. Gerry mentioned that most of the imported chocolates are made with cocoa powder, which may not be as good as it sounds. Sensing my temporary confusion, he explained that cocoa powder is already a by-product of processed cacao butter, thereby, reducing the good fat inherent in pressed cacao butter. The dark-flavored Magdalena’s Cacao Bean Chocolates, on the other hand, have no milk (less fat to worry about, you weight-watcher!) but ensconced either ripe mango strips or roasted cashew nuts for more tastier and healthier alternative. What a healthy tease!
The mango strips add a little zest in every bite, I kid you not!
Since Magdalena’s Cacao Bean Chocolate is not laden with preservatives and saturated fat, it can be considered a superfood, or food with high nutrient content and possible healthy benefits. Gerry cites the following benefits: has high level of antioxidants, enhances mood, aids in weight loss, and improves brain function, among others. Now you don’t have to nibble on chocolates like a mouse and instead, gobble them up like you want some more because hey, they’re scrumptiously good and guilt-free!
Are you nuts over nuts? Then these roasted cashew nuts in Magdalena’s Cacao Bean Chocolate might just do the trick!
These cacao goodies come in chocolate clumps, wrapped in small plastic packages and tied with rattan strings. Do not be wary of the chocolate clumps because these little ones taste as good as the imported dark chocolates, even better! The Magdalena’s Cacao Bean Chocolates are not too sweet nor too bitter, just enough of each taste to offset each other once chewed and savored. The mango bits and roasted cashew nuts provide texture and added taste to the chocolates, again, complementing the sweet and bitter.
Admittedly, Magdalena’s Cacao Bean Chocolate still has a long way to go to being recognized as a gourmet chocolate, necessitating further improvements in the production and development of chocolate products. Pragmatic Gerry proudly shared that he made the production machine from scratch, him being experienced in machines and equipment! Most of the local chocolate-making facilities import machineries, which, of course, entail significant capital outlays. Appearance-wise, Gerry opted for the clumps, out of respect for the other local artisanal chocolate-maker who produces its chocolates in bar form, but Gerry acknowledges room for improvements. Other than Magdalena’s Cacao Bean Chocolate being recognized as a good brand of artisanal chocolates, Gerry, the social advocate, hopes that someday, Magdalena, Laguna will also be a thriving haven for cacao planters and growers.
Two available flavors of Magdalena’s Cacao Bean Chocolates, mango and roasted cashew.
So when in you’re in Manila (or wherever you are right now) and you’ve got an insatiable craving for something sweet but healthy, do try Magdalena’s Cacao Bean Chocolate for that awesome artisanal chocolate experience.
To know more about the healthy benefits of these artisanal chocolates, visit their Facebook page
or you may drop them some cacao beans, er, email at this address: firstname.lastname@example.org
For more chocolate experience, try this one for size: Manila’s Finest Chocolate Factory: Chocolate Fire
Finding the Freshest Artisanal Chocolates in Town: Magdalena’s Cacao Bean Chocolate