BACOLOD CITY – A large-scale cacao farm in Negros Occidental is pushing for the development of Criollo, the most sought-after variety because of its superior aroma, flavor and taste, to bring Negrense chocolate to the global market.
Among those planting the variety is the Lopez family's CY and Sons Cacao Farms in Dos Hermanas village in Talisay City, north of Bacolod.
"(We) also encourage our government to support the development of the Criollo beans, and Negros Occidental will be known for its rare chocolates, and makers from all over the world will be interested to taste our Criollo," the CY & Sons Group said in a statement, during a chocolate tasting event at the Bob's Café here on Thursday.
The event featured Chloe Doutre-Roussel, a French internationally recognized expert with more than 35 years of experience in fine cacao and chocolate, and a regular juror at the Academy of Chocolate Awards; and Steve DeVries, a private cacao consultant from Colorado, USA.
Ricardo Dominic Lopez, general manager of CY & Sons Group, said they aim to produce craft chocolate, which has found a niche in the market.
"That's our goal for the future, to put Negros Island on the chocolate map. What you see in chocolate bars, like in Ecuador, we want that to happen for the Philippines in Negros," he added.
Currently, the Lopez farm has planted 35,000 cacao trees on a 50-hectare plantation and the company is focusing on the post-harvest process to ensure the quality of the cacao beans.
"Tasting events allow us grasp the reputation and potential of the Philippines in the world of specialty cacao and chocolate. It is our hope that we get to learn what makes quality in chocolate and how to spot it, and be equipped with the tools to recognize quality, describe styles, and choose chocolates that fits us the best," the CY & Sons Group said.
According to the company, Negrense award-winning cacao farmer Christopher Fadriga and Lopez's mother, Celina Yanson-Lopez, have discovered that most of the rare cacao varieties can be found in Negros Island, and further research brought them to concentrate on the Criollo variety.
"Together with the CY and Sons Cacao Farms, they started to plant and develop this particular variety with the distinct taste of its white bean coupled with the right way of using the correct way of fermentation to finally showcase its possibilities," it added. (PNA)