HOMEGROWN Malagos Chocolate received three bronze awards and two commendations in the 2019 Academy of Chocolate (AOC) for the Filled Chocolate Category. The AOC is an annual international competition for chocolates in the United Kingdom. “It’s still our utmost care to provide our customers with high-quality products that drive us to innovate and inspire us to seek excellence with every product that we produce. The Filipino people are our inspiration [for these awards],” Malagos Chocolate sales and marketing head Rex Victor Puentespina said. “This is our first time to join the filled chocolate category with products that need to maintain a temperature between 18 to 20 degrees Celsius (C). With our tropical country, transport of these products is very challenging and might have affected the products upon judging. We are still continuously researching and developing to get our gold so every feedback counts,” he added. Recognized with bronze awards were the Ganache made of 72 percent dark chocolate in the Individual Truffle sub-category, Rhum Praline in the Alcohol-flavored Ganache sub-category, and Almonds in Couverture Dark Chocolate in the Panned or Enrobed Fruits and Nuts sub-category. Malagos Agri-ventures Corporation’s dried Guyabano and roasted Cocoa Nibs in Couverture Dark Chocolate also earned commendations under the Panned or Enrobed Fruits and Nuts sub-category. The results for the filled chocolate were announced on Sunday, April 28, 2019. The results for other categories are not yet announced and Malagos hopes to still receive awards from other categories. Malagos Chocolate has a strong track record in the AOC. Last year, it received five awards from AOC, bronze for the 72 percent Dark Chocolate and 85 percent Dark Chocolate in the Tree-to-bar category. While in the Drinking Chocolate Category, the 85 percent Dark Chocolate won silver, 100 percent Unsweetened Chocolate won bronze and 72 percent Dark Chocolate won bronze. “Our goal is to put Philippines in the chocolate map of the world. With our recognitions, not only our brand is being known, we raise the Philippine flag. When we started, premium fine-flavored chocolate is being ignored by our own countrymen as imported is still very much preferred,” he said. Puentespina said there is a rise in the local chocolate brands in Davao City and there is also a worldwide demand for cacao and the market is huge which is why he urged to should maximize our potential as an agricultural country especially in the cacao sector. “When we raise the awareness of how valuable our cacao is, and show how much we can do with it, we will be able to uplift the lives of farmers and encourage the growth of the industry. We want the cacao farmers to realize the earning potential of cacao, and how they can raise their game so that they too can produce world-class chocolates,” he said.