ANOTHER milestone for Davao City’s cacao farmers! The Davao-based chocolate maker, Malagos Chocolate, a true pride of Davao won anew an award from a prestigious international award-winning body, the Academy of Chocolate this year.

Malagos Chocolate’s 100 percent unsweetened chocolate was awarded a silver award for the Academy of Chocolate 2016 Awards under the Drinking Chocolate Category held in London, UK.

“We won under this same category last year but it was bronze, now its Silver award, we are very much honored with this another international win for the cacao farmers in Davao City,” Rex Puentespina, chocolate maker and head of Sales & Marketing of Malagos Agri-Ventures Corp. said in an online interview with Sun.Star Davao.

He added that they are hoping to own the Gold award of the same category next year.

“We are eyeing for the Gold award next year, in God’s will,” he said.

“This is our 3rd major international award in fine chocolate competition. The first two (2) were Bronze (Drinking Chocolate Category) in London, UK April 2015 for Malagos 100 percent Unsweetened Chocolate and Silver (World Drinking Chocolate Competition) in Hannover, Germany October 2015 for Malagos 65 percent Dark Chocolate,” he added.

Also winning silver awards were Akesson’s Organic’s 75 percent Brazil Choc Drops and Pump Street Bakery’s Pump Street Bakery Single Origin.

The Gold prize was given to Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate’s 72 percent Belize, Toledo Drinking Chocolate.

There were three Bronze winners for the same category: Akesson’s Organic, DeRosier Chocolates, Eponine Patisserie and Hotel Chocolate.

The Academy of Chocolate, according to its website founded in 2005 is an annual award that gathers “academy members meet to taste, discuss, demonstrate and debate issues regarding sourcing, transparency and the journey from bean to bar.”

The chocolate, which was commercially launched in June 2013 were made from the ethically grown and processed cacao beans that have been carefully graded, fermented and solar-dried in the Puentespina Cacao Farm in Malagos, Baguio District, Davao City.

The farm covers 24 hectares of land with a diversified setup, growing a Grade ATrinitario cacao beans, a crossbreed between Criollo and Forastero and a variety of flowers and fruits, raise goats and make artisan cheese.

"Davao is blessed with vast area suitable for agriculture and farming, with the very fertile land, well-distributed rainfall and typhoon-free, probably Davao or Mindanao as a whole is the best area for agriculture," Charita P. Puentespina said in an earlier report.

"At Malagos, we believe good chocolates come from quality cacao beans. We make our chocolates from Tree to Bar through the efforts of many people. The entire process of planting, growing, fermentation, drying, sorting, roasting & production of the chocolate is done right on our farm, giving our products a more distinctive and pronounced taste," she said.

Puentespina cacao beans are produced in the foothills of Mount Talomo, where the land is teeming with fruit crops.

The land is rich with fertile soil and characterized with favorable climate, just right to give the cacao trees an ideal condition to produce beans.

"In addition to our own harvest of cacao beans, we closely work with and source from around 40 to a hundred small farmers in the area. They supply us with wet beans that come from their small landholdings," she said.

The company also partnered with the Mars Cocoa Sustainability Team and established Mars Cocoa Development Center which served as a place for their partner farmers to learn good agricultural practices in cacao farming.

The partnership had paved way for the cacao player to learn how to process export quality.

Malagos chocolates products are Malagos 100 percent Pure Unsweetened Chocolate, 65 percent Dark Chocolate, and Roasted Cacao Nibs.