BENGUET’S homegrown Dulche Chocolates was named as one of the best dark chocolates in the country during the Kakao Konek’s Chocolate Expo in Davao City recently.
Camilo Alumit, Benguet Cacao investment promotions officer and member of the technical working group of the Benguet Cacao Development Industry Committee Council said out of 38 entries nationwide, Dulche Chocolates was named in the top five.
Owned by Eva Ritchelle Padua, Dulche’s chocolates are processed cacao grown in Benguet. Their products are available in different stores in at the different pasalubong centers in the province and in Dagupan City, in Pangasinan Province.
Dulche Chocolates are available in various flavors: tablea, 100 percent dark chocolate; Keto, 85 percent dark chocolate; Fruity Ca-mond, 80 percent dark chocolate; and 70 percent dark chocolate.
Calumit admitted that there is a scarce supply of cacao in Benguet although there are also cacao-growing provinces in the Cordillera such as Abra, Apayao and Kalinga.
“We are going into more production of cacao. I believe we previously won in [quality] of coffee because of our elevation, we won cacao because of our elevation again. We would like to challenge our officials to have more funds on that,” he added.
Except in Buguias, Calumit said almost all towns in the province grow cacao.
Calumit said this is first time Benguet province joined the chocolate competition and won.
Kakao Konek is an annual event organized by the country’s leading cacao value chain organization Cacao Industry Development Authority of Mindanao Inc. wherein cacao and chocolate industry stakeholders converge to get updates on cacao production and processing technologies and strategies. The event also serves as a venue for market matching among the cacao value chain key players.
As per data from the Philippine Statistics Authority, the country’s cacao bean production in 2018 was 7,983 MT with Caraga producing 114.49 MT. Under the 2022 Cacao Challenge, the goal is to produce 100,000 MT of fermented beans by the year 2022 for the domestic and international markets.