(Hot choco drink, tablea and cacao seeds)
Below were questions asked to me by Zy of The Filipino Lifestyle, I like to share my answers here. Hobbyist in Focus: Pete Rahon was the title of the article. Excerpts were culled from my answers below.
1. How did you get into blogging about chocolate?
I discovered pinterest.com and from there it reawakened my fond memory of eating my first chocolate cake that my aunt baked for me. I started f repining all those beautiful photos of chocoIate cakes. Then I thought of blogging about chocolate. I thought of pinoychocophile (Filipino lover of chocolate) for a name. I found out that unlike in other countries that blog solely about chocolate, here in the country I believe I am the first blogger to blog only about chocolate. Some food bloggers do blog about chocolate but not their primary blogging niche.
2. Did you plan to be a chocolate blogger from the start or was it just coincidence?
So it was not planned at all since I have several blogs already from personal to social issues. So this chocolate blog was a product of my interest of chocolate cakes. I am still in the process of developing it since even for chocolate as a topic you can go as varied with your subtopics. For now I like to do reviews or tasting of those chocolates made by Filipino artisan chocolatiers ( like Theo and Philo and Machiavelli among others) and also those other foreign commercial brandsbut mostly dark chocolates (more than 60% cacao content) . But I would also like to write about the history and tradition of chocolate in the country like doing a review of the best Tablea that are used to make hot chocolate drink. Since we have good producers from Batangas, Cebu and Davao. In line with that, I would like to visit cacao plantations and write about how they are grown and produced. Also, There are also several restaurants that serves mostly chocolate in their menu like Heavenly Chocolate in Roces Avenue in Quezon City. So I would like to review also the chocolate food and drinks served in those restos.
3. Aside from chocolates, do you have interest in other types of sweets? (hard candy, jellies, etc.)
I got a sweet tooth but for now anything chocolate coated sweets like pralines, bonbons and truffles will definitely part of my chocolate blog. Aside from that I do not blog other type of sweets.
(Theo and Philo - 7 Kinds of Dark Chocolate)
4. What kind of chocolate do you prefer? (White, dark, etc.)
It seems preference for chocolate comes with age. When I was younger I really like white and sweet chocolates. I still like them though. But for the health benefits of dark and bitter chocolate or those with higher cocoa content (70-80%), I have developed my liking for them. Reviewing fine dark chocolates is akin to wine tasting. So in reviewing chocolate you consider aspects like its cacao content, its origin (terroir/place, flavor and notes) and the process it was produced.
5. Do you have a preference when it comes to the origin of the chocolate? (Foreign or locally made)
The Philippines artisan chocolate industry is relatively young but very vibrant. So for now we have limited producers. Although we have our own commercial and locally produced chocolates that contain other ingredients (not necessary butter oil of cacao and a good cocoa content), I do eat them once in awhile to remind myself of the good old days. But definitely we are so much exposed of brands like Candbury, Hershey’s, Swiss and Belgian chocolates that abound in duty free shops I do like them but now I am beginning to appreciate other kind of chocolates, which is artisan chocolates.
6. What misconception about chocolate would you want to be corrected? (if there is)
Not all chocolates are created equal. Artisan chocolates maybe a bit more expensive but these chocolates are made by craftsmen with devotion, passion and creativity put in each chocolate bar they pack in some fancy wraps.
We should not to be deceived that only American or European chocolates are the best there is. In the Philippines, since we can grow cacao we need to patronize our cacao growers and artisan chocolate makers and prove to the world that we can also produce the best chocolates.
(Royce Chocolate - Criollo)
7. Where do you get the chocolates that you review?
For chocolates that I review some are balik-bayan pasalubong (coming home gift) of friends. Others I discover from chocolate shops or boutiques, restaurants and groceries.
8. Are the recipes in your blog your own? (If yes, do you personally cook them?)
I found online and from you tube a chocolate recipe that I tried doing once but it was a dish-saster. I was so close at discovering how to make toorsie roll and on another attempt I thought I just discovered making chocolate tiramisu. I hope to try again and this time I plan to make use of our own tablea instead of cocoa. And should I be successful the next try I will definitely blog about it and perhaps have it patented!
9. What are your tips to aspiring special niche bloggers?
Passion, commitment and creativity. It is hardwork to do research and readings aside from the numerous other things you are already doing. You need to spend time to make your blogging more relevant and interesting to readers and yourself. And when you get bogged down have fun with your blogging be more creative and personal, after all it is your blog, your voice. Go out explore and discover, join events or create one. Connect and link up with people of your same interests and be ready to exchange and learn from them.
10. Do you plan to change the niche of your blog in the future?
Well it is good to write about many topics. It is perhaps writing about other good and relevant topics there is to blog about. I am very much open to exploring other possibilities of writing or blogging.
11. What message can you leave our readers regarding your hobby?
Chocolate blogging. More fun in the Philippines!
(Machiavelli Chocolate - Batangas Star)