Davao chocolates featured in Chocolate Trade Fair

Davao chocolates featured in Chocolate Trade Fair
Photo by Bree Porras

Eighteen local enterprises and cooperatives took the spotlight by showcasing locally produced chocolate products and cacao crafts in the recently-concluded Davao City Chocolate Trade Fair last July 5-7 at Ayala Malls Abreeza, Davao City.

The fair is in celebration of World Chocolate Day on Sunday, July 7.

Chairperson of Cacao City and Event Lead for World Chocolate Day, Wit Holganza, emphasized the significance of the event to Davao cacao farmers.

"This is very significant for the farmers because now they’re seeing that their beans can be transformed into world-class products,” she said.

“It’s also significant for us chocolatiers because we can tell the world that great chocolates don’t just come from Europe; we can actually start to compete,” Holganza added.

This marks the third year of celebrating World Chocolate Day in Davao City since it was declared the Chocolate Capital of the Philippines in 2021. The event was organized by the Davao City Cacao Industry Development Council (DCCIDC).

This year, the DCCIDC also emphasized that Davao City’s World Chocolate Day celebration aims to highlight the collaboration of different stakeholders and partners of chocolate crafters and cacao farmers, especially focusing on locally produced chocolate products made from locally grown cacao.

One of the exhibitors, Roxan Trangco, expressed her gratitude for the event's impact, “Grateful mi kay at least kani mahibal-an pud sa mga tao nga naa diay chocolate ang Davao, pina-agi ani ma promote pud among products sa uban ug matilawan pud nila nga isa mi sa mga lamian og chocolate diri,” she said in an interview with SunStar.

(We are grateful because, at least through this, people will know that Davao has chocolate. This will also help promote our products to others, and they will get to taste that we have some of the best chocolates here.)

Representing MS3 Agriventures, Trangco also shared some of their chocolate offerings, “We have chocolates with different flavors, cacao tablets for hot chocolate, cacao powder for baking, and chocolate-coated nuts. Our best seller is Nutri Nips, an energy-boosting snack.”

Moreover, Holganza highlighted how the event empowers women in the chocolate industry, noting that the exhibitors at the Chocolate Trade Fair are predominantly powered by women.

Among the visitors to the exhibit were Jmee Ortega, a teacher, and her Japanese student, Yumeka Ito. Both shared their experience attending the exhibit. 

“This is so big, I like the chocolates; it’s not so sweet, it’s healthy, and I feel nice about the cacao,” Ito said.

“Maka proud gyud siya no kay syempre it’s from Davao City, and some of the products naa pud siya sa Manila, gina dala pud siya, and ang products also lami gyud kaayo, lahi ra gyud ang cacao, lami jud tanan,” Ortega added, expressing her pride and appreciation for the exhibit.

(It makes us proud because, of course, it’s from Davao City, and some of the products are also available in Manila. The products are really delicious; the cacao is different, everything tastes great.)

Among other exhibitors is Gabriel John Belviz, under Rosario’s Delicacies, who features their new products, mixing local fruits with chocolate, like Durian Chocolate, Mango Chocolate, Marang, and Jackfruit Chocolates, and many more.

From Calinan, Gabriel traveled to join and share their family business and product offerings. He also expressed gratitude for being given an opportunity to be one of the exhibitors.

“I’m really grateful talaga na mabigyan ng opportunity to be here, especially with other local business na mabigyan ng opportunity na e-shine ang local resources natin, promotion rin sa Cacao sa Davao,” Belviz said. 

(I’m really grateful to be given the opportunity to be here, especially with other local businesses, to showcase our local resources. It's also a promotion for cacao in Davao.)

Former President Rodrigo Duterte signed Republic Act 115471, a law declaring the City of Davao as the “Chocolate Capital of the Philippines” and the entire Davao Region (Region 11) as the “Cacao Capital of the Philippines,” on May 27, 2021.

The law acknowledges cacao for elevating the country's status as a producer of chocolate beans, supporting numerous local farmers in rural areas, and Davao City as the leading Cacao producer in the nation, playing a role in enhancing the reputation of the Philippines and attracting interest from chocolate manufacturers in the US, Japan, and Europe.

As a chocolate lover, Mercy Ramones shared her excitement visiting the Fair. “I feel amazed and happy checking some chocolate products here, actually it is my first time here in Abreeza and Chocolate day diay, naka try ko sa ilang chocolate drink, so far mao akong favorite,” she said.

(I feel amazed and happy checking out some chocolate products here. Actually, it is my first time here at Abreeza and it was coincidentally Chocolate Day. I tried their chocolate drink and so far, it’s my favorite.)

World Chocolate Day is observed every 7th of July. It is a day dedicated to enjoying and celebrating chocolate, while also reflecting on its health benefits. KBP


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