(source of poster -http://www.foodanddrinksasia.com.ph/)
(source of poster -http://www.foodanddrinksasia.com.ph/)
After office, I visited the Food and Drinks Asia 2012 Event at the World Trade Center. My particular aim was to find anything chocolate related in the exhibition/event. It was a 3-in-one event that also include Food Franchising and Grocery Asia. Lot's of food tasting and cooking demonstrations. So the entrance fee is worth it, sulit! These kind of exhibitions or events are not only good for investors or entrepreneurs but as a blogger and consumer it is also an opportunity for me to be more informed about products that I consume. And I hope that it will make me an informed and enlightened consumer, that of chocolate in particular. But also, I gained insights from other non-chocolate products as well.
I learned from my conversations with different local chocolate suppliers/companies that it is an industry practice not to divulge information about the sources or suppliers of their international importations of chocolate couvertures and supplies in the name of market competition. It is the same with some bakers and pattiseries strategy of protecting their secret ingredients of their products. But some are not too guarded to reveal where they source their importations or for
bakers to inform chocolate ingredients that others also use for their cakes and pastries.
It was my first time to come across names the like of Dutche and Puratos (Carat, Belcolade etc). So it seems the chocolate business in the country is still dominated by big European suppliers particularly those country origin of Belgian and Swiss couvertures. One baker informed that the other chocolate premium brands are too expensive for them to use and would jack-up prices of their cakes and chocolate. But those expensive brands on rare ocassions are used per customers request.
I had the impression also that bakers and pastry chefs tend to stick to a particular brand since customers get used to a particular taste and would complain if they find a different taste in their second purchase of the same product. Consistency is an attribute for some bakers. Customer would patronize bakers and pastry chefs for distinct and particular taste or flavor of cakes/pastries that they get accustomed to. So consistency for quality is a way for bakers to keep their loyal
customers coming back to them.
But for me with an evolving taste for chocolates, I am also particular as to the kind of chocolate I am eating (as to its single or country origin), where and how it was sourced (free trade and eco-friendly). I had an interesting exchange with one of the suppliers who seems not convinced that Philippines will be able to produce and compete with the European manufactureres given their long tradition and the kind of climate the country have.I told the exhibitor that I am also concerned about the issue of fair trade and child labor in Africa since it was mentioned that their European supplier source cacao from that continent. Being told they are into wholesale and supply most businesses that uses chocolate I am now more conscious with products that has chocolate in it like donuts, cakes, truffles, chocolate drinks and other choco products.
I pointed out that Cacao Coops in Davao are now into producing good quality couvertures and it is even used by Askinosie.
And there's an effort to revive the cacao industry. I was reminded of cacao disease and infestation that happened in Quezon that I admitted I have no knowledge about and for that I need to do some research to be more informed. As a blogger who at first intended to just blog about reviews of chocolate bars, I am now more keen on the need also to blog about the cacao industry and help promote it so that the chocolate that I like and love will not have to be sourced out or imported from other countries but can be locally produced and manufactured. So cacao growers or farmers will have more income and more beautiful cacao trees will be planted to add up to greenery and beautify the Philippine landscape.
But definitely I would still want to continue to taste and review cacao or chocolate bars from other countries.
Below are some chocolate suppliers/companies that are mostly based in Paranaque. I have not tasted most of their products but still I listed them here for reference that might be helpful to others. Also it is chocolated related. So it is a free marketing for them (I was not paid to have them listed here). So, it is to readers discretion whether to buy or not from them. I can't assure and guarantee readers as to the quality of their products.
Contact Information of some Booth Exhibitors
Sweet Mary Ann's Patisserie
0917-8576-6744 / firstname.lastname@example.org
I had a chance to talk to them and learned that they source their cacao from Albay in Bicol Region. Although they are not familiar of the variety of cacao since it was gathered from neighbors. Most households in Bicol I came to know grow in their backyard cacao. She produces tableas and truffles aside from other patisseries.
dolcebianquita.multiply.com / email@example.com
I had a nice conversation with her and learned a lot of those chocolate couvertures she uses for her cakes/pastries and chocolate truffles. Also she guards her secret ingredients to some of her products.
Miguelitos Int'l Corp.
They got a big booth and several staff but very secretive as to the source of their cocoa supply which they said European.
Delicatesse Food Corporation
firstname.lastname@example.org / www.delicatessefoods.com
A wholesaler of chocolate supply.
Patrick Lee and Art Roy
email@example.com / www.coconaturasugar.com
I thought coco sugar could be an alternative to cane sugar. But, I wonder how it would mix with chocolate. I am not sure yet of pastry Chef using this kind of sugar. But the exhibitors mentioned that it is good alternative sugar for diabetic.
Achievers Food and Bakery Ingredients Corp
firstname.lastname@example.org / www.achievers.com.ph
Got several of their brochures since the staff could not answer my queries and their main person was moving around when I went to their booth.
Bon Chan(email@example.com) /929-0712
Their booth sells Soyfresh (soya drinks) and other imported Malaysian chocolates and chocolate coated biscuits and wafers.