WANDERLUST| Malagos Chocolate Museum, a first in the Philippines

AFTER being presented with a number of prestigious​ international awards and commendations, Malagos Agri-Ventures’ Malagos Chocolate adds another feather to its cap with the opening of the country’s first interactive chocolate museum last March 8.

Located within the Malagos Garden Resort complex, the Malagos Chocolate Museum affords resort visitors an informative tree-to-bar journey of Davao’s world famous cacao, from the farm nurseries to various stages of chocolate production, up to the finished product.

“A lot of people are asking how our chocolates are made. So, we decided to build a museum where our guests would see and partake in the entire process of producing chocolate,” said Malagos Garden Resort managing director Charisse P. Puentespina.

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MALAGOS Garden Resort’s Charisse Puentespina with online influencers Chito Samontina, Olan Embuscado and this writer

The Puentespinas produce their world class chocolate harvested from their organic cacao farm, composed mostly of old rehabilitated cacao trees.

“Cacao blooms only twice in a year. Since we are at the end process of chocolate making, we make sure that during the non-producing months, we have enough supply of very good beans for our chocolate,” Puentespina said.

Malagos Agri-Ventures produce around 15 tons of cacao every month. However, not all of the harvested beans are made into chocolate.

“We have to sort the beans. Grade A for chocolate making, like the ones used in our award-winning unsweetened chocolates, while, Grades B and C are made into cacao nibs and other cacao by-products,” she shared.

The Grade A cacao beans are then ground to its finest, then added with minimal amount of sugar and vanilla. Compared to commercial chocolates where they use compound chocolate to control the consistency of their taste, the taste of Malagos Chocolate depends on some factors, such as the fermentation process and weather conditions, where the taste will have a variant contingent to the process.

“But that’s the beauty of single origin chocolate,” revealed Puentespina.

From fermentation, guests can see where the beans are solar-dried and carefully graded, then processed using specialized equipment during the farm tour. The tour also showcases Malagos’ best practices as well as the involvement of the local community in the entire process.

From the farm tour, guest are then led inside the modern museum building where various interactive galleries teach visitors the history of chocolate, location of chocolate-producing countries around the world, the role of chocolate in Philippine economy and history, among others. As section of the museum is also dedicated to young visitors where they can learn about chocolate fundamentals.

A first of its kind in the country, the Malagos Chocolate Musuem tour is capped with a make-your-own-chocolate activity, making the experience even more engaging and memorable to guests. A café caps the tour circuit where guests can finally enjoy and bring home various Malagos chocolate products.

“With the Chocolate Musuem, we endeavor to educate our guests on the economic importance of cacao and encourage them to engage in sustainable cacao farming,” capped Puentespina.

Aside from having been showcased and raved about in various trade shows around the world, Malagos Chocolate has also won a number of accolades, including awards from the 2016 Great Taste Awards (UK), 2016 Academy of Chocolate Awards (UK), 2015 Academy of Chocolate Awards (UK), 2015 International Chocolate Awards (Germany), 2015 Katha Awards (Philippines), and the 2013 Asean Best Food Products Recognition Awards (Singapore).

Entrance to the Chocolate Museum is already included in the PhP200 resort entrance fee. However, for those who want experience in making their own chocolates, there is an additional PhP450 but they get to take home their custom-made Malagos chocolates.

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