Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Eastwood Mall Chocolate Festival

Finally an event that I look forward attending! I do not have yet information and details of the events and will be posting here as soon as I get new updates. An advance announcement for Pinoychocophiles to mark your calendar.


                                                                

(source - http://megaworldlifestylemalls.com/images/uploads/Chocolate-Festrival.jpg)


Chocolates Everywhere.
 Eastwood Mall Atrium.
September 7-9, 2012
For Inquiries, call : 709-0888 / 09178380111


Read more here - http://megaworldlifestylemalls.com/main/eastwood/info/events/87/Chocolate-Festival

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Filipino Lifestyle Features Pinoychocophile




Zy Gonzales is one of the co-founders and co-authors of blogsite The Filipino Lifestyle who I came across with in one the bloggers fora.  As mentioned in their website "The Filipino Lifestyle is a team of witty, young and talented online editors. We are here to provide entertainment, useful information and up-to-date topics about Filipino’s lifestyle be it about food, travel and leisure, fashion, and technology."

I was invited to be featured in their their lifestyle blog. Here is an excerpts of their entry about me, with some of my adds-on and links:
The openness of the internet has allowed a lot of people (including us) to air our thoughts and ideas for everyone to see. Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter and blogs have given small people the voice in the world of the internet.
In the vast number of small people with big voices, there are a few rare individuals whose voice are distinct and unique. When bloggers around the web stick to writing about gadgets, fashion, food, travel, photography and design, there are those who venture into a niche so unique that they become an authority in that particular field of interest. One good example of this kind of blogger is PEBA (Pinoy Expats/OFW Blog Awards) Luzon and Manila Coordinator – Pete Rahon.
Pete is one of only a handful of bloggers who have decided to express his love and enthusiasm for a particular topic – chocolates. According to Pete, his passion for chocolates has deep roots, which started from his childhood which was later renewed by social bookmarking site Pinterest.



Read more here - http://www.thefilipinolifestyle.com/2012/08/hobbyist-in-focus-pete-rahon.html


Maraming salamat Zy for featuring me in your blog!





Monday, August 27, 2012

An Account of Cacao History in the Philippines





I read somewhere and now I can't find the link that a plantation of cacao was first established in Batangas. I am looking for that information or any lead of more exhaustive cacao's history here in the Philippines.

From the c-spot here is their version of cacao's history in the Philippines, from this link -
http://www.c-spot.com/atlas/chocolate-sources/oceania/philippines/

Asia became the 1st recipient of cacáo outside its American homelands. Accounts vary but starting in the latter half of the 17th century, a Spanish galleon transported pure Mesoamerican Criollo across the Pacific to the Philippines. Many place the date at 1663; others 1666. The oldest documented record, however, is 1670: a single plant leaving from the port of Acapulco, Mexico. Once safely harbored in The Philippines, cacáo began its global journey, moving farther westward & onward.

(Note - Perhaps the importation of cacao or its entry to the Philippines was 1663 and since it takes about 3-5 years for it to bear fruits or fully mature so it was recorded around 1670).

As if conquering the New World weren’t enough, Spain fed its appetite for expansion by colonizing the many island puzzle-pieces that join The Philippines, an entrepôt for the exchange of a global emporium of goods so that the rich can sip cocoa from the Americas or tea of India poured from a Mexican silver pot into a Chinese porcelain cup, accented by spices from Southeast Asia while wearing silks from there too, paid for in part by gold out of East Africa… & slave labor. 
Unlike Asia as a whole, Filipinos were early converts to both chocolate & Catholicism, which went hand-in-hand with Spanish merchants & Jesuit missionaries conquering these islands in 1543, the same year Copernicus radically altered the planet-count.
The first migration of cacáo outside its American homeland appears to be pure Criollo leaving the port of Acapulco (probably uprooted from valleys cultivated to the southeast in around the then-called town of Tecuanapa) on Manila galleons. Crews carried chocolate onboard for drinking on ship. It would comfort them during sailing nightmares plagued with bad food, outbursts of some epidemic or other, & the occasional storm… arriving in The Philippines in 1666, although botanist Francisco Manuel Blanco records the date at 1670 in his comprehensive Flora de Filipinas. He goes on to report that this plant was the source of most cacáo still growing in the country at the time of his book’s publication in 1837, by & large confirming an earlier account from world voyager Gemelli Careri’s travelogue – Giro Intorno al Mondo – printed in 1699 of his 2-month visit there during which his hosts suspected the eccentric Italian for a spy of the pope & so opened every closed door for him: “They have brought from New Spain [re: current day Mexico] to The Philippines the cacao plant, which has multiplied so well, although it has degenerated a bit…”
In addition to uncertain dates, claims arise that the Pamplemousses Garden on Mauritius, rather than The Philippines, was first on the receiving end. It had cacáo at least as early as the late 1600s. Then there’s Celebes (Sulawesi) where locals insist that cacáo arrived in 1560, a full century beforehand.
Whatever the circumstances of the date & place, descendents of this Criollo transported on the Manila galleon formed the foundation for the first plantations in Indonesia, Malaysia & beyond, once cacáo spread farther in its second stage of dispersal around Oceania.
Eventually hybrids & the introduction of Amelonado in the second half of the 20th century came to comprise the bulk of The Philippines harvests.
Here is a link of the publication made in 1837 by Fr. Manuel Blanco documenting the presence of cacao in the country. 





Pages of this book with reference to cacao are:
pp323, 354, 434-35, 354, 600-05, and 876
I hope someone could help translate these pages for me.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Chocolate Snob's Chocolate Journal


I got a permission from Rachel Rifat, owner of  the blog Chocolate Snob with link http://chocolate-snob.blogspot.com to re-blog some snippets of her entries. Scanning through the blog, it was started in 2006 and the last entry was December of 2010.

The review for most of the chocolates she tasted is terse. As opposed to my plan of doing my reviews of associating  childhood and or recent past memories with what the bar evoked while tasting it. So up until now my reviews are in my chocolate journals and have not seen the light of being published here in this blog.

But what I find interesting is Ms. Rifat's chocolate journal (scrapbook or album) of those chocolates she reviewed. Her handwritten notes of the chocolate bars she reviewed are then posted on her blog with the photo of the chocolate bar's wrapper. I have plans to do the same but up until now the chocolate wrappers remain stock up in a box awaiting to be put in an album.


( The photos are owned/copyrights of Rachel Rifta

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Curio Chocolat: Painting and Cacao Glyph



A Late Classic (A.D. 600–800) vase depicts a Maya lord being presented with a bowl of frothing cacao, or chocolate. (© Justin Kerr) 

Bottom photo is a  glyph, shown second from the bottom on the far right column, is the sign for cacao.





Monday, August 20, 2012

Chocolate - Good or Bad for your health!




I've seen videos and read several articles extolling the benefit of chocolates especially dark chocolates. So I came to wonder about the article below which I quote:

So far, manufacturer-sponsored trials looking into the benefits of chocolate have been small -- with fewer than 100 volunteers -- and, like the new one on cognitive benefits, didn’t involve a placebo substance to see whether chocolate really has as big a health benefit as all of us chocolate lovers would like to believe it does.
Source - http://www.boston.com/dailydose/2012/08/17/why-chocolate-shouldn-dubbed-health-food/aghGQTL5Se8DlEyvJWGZXP/story.html

 I agree that consumers should be more wary of those chocolates being promoted by manufacturer as healthy chocolates. Chocolate lovers should be more careful in distinguishing those claims. Although I have yet to see such claim written in a chocolate bar that the company's chocolate is such. But as a chocophile who now enjoys dark chocolate, I am keen on eating and tasting more those dark ones, until I find the divinest of them all chocolates!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Curio Chocolat: Chocolate vessels



In the 1920s, cylinder vessels similar to those used in Mesoamerica to hold chocolate beverages were discovered at Pueblo Bonito (860–1128), the largest multistory masonry complex, or “Great House,” at New Mexico’s Chaco Canyon. (Courtesy Patricia Crown, from the collections of the American Museum of Natural History, photograph by Marianne Tyndall)

Source - http://www.archaeology.org/1011/abstracts/chocolate.html

Related Read - http://chocolate-snob.blogspot.com/2009/02/first-sign-of-chocolate-in-ancient-us.html

Friday, August 17, 2012

Chocolate Profile and Directory - Akesson's




Starting with this entry I will be featuring every now and then different chocolate brands from around the globe. Definitely these brands form part of my tastelists or tastelines. And hope to come up with my own review of each of the bar.

My resource for the list came from the book Chocolate Unwrapped, Taste and Enjoy the World's Finest Chocolate by Sarah Jane Evans. I acquired and read the book and now serves as my autograph book. I have one signature already that of Top Pastry Chef Anil Rohira of Felchlin Swiss.

Part 2 of the book of Ms. Evans's is the Chocolate Directory where she reviewed 82 dark chocolates containing not less than 70% cocoa content that are listed alphabetically. For each of the chocolate bar she gave some background story about the company, basic information of the chocolate as to its origin, ingredients, aroma, and taste. She came up with a tasting guide to make a profile of the chocolates which include the following flavors:

  • Floral - jasmine, violet, rose, honeysuckle
  • Fruity -  citrus acidity (lemon, orange, tangerine, lime, grapefruit), tropical fruits, passion fruit, banna, dried fruits
  • Winey - red fruit, redcurrant, balsamic
  • Honey  - vanilla, fudge, syrup, treacle, biscuit
  • Creamy -  coconut, milk, cream, caramel
  • Nutty - walnut, hazelnut almond
  • Spicy - white/black pepper, chili, ginger, liquorice, cinnamon, nutmeg
  • Toasty - lightly toasted, high toast, burnt
  • Smoky - leather, tannin,a sh, rubber, tar, meaty, tobacco
  • Earthy - woody, mushroomy

I think I am familiar with most of the taste but still I am in that stage where I am still trying my best to distinguish how these flavor are present int he chocolate. Ms. Evans uses her skills in wine tasting as applied to the the chocolate she reviewed.


Now for the first brand - AKESSON'S


Source: chocoweb.nl via Edwin on Pinterest


From their website here goes their story (http://www.akessons-organic.com/en/akessons/):

The cacao plant was first given its botanical name by Swedish natural scientist Carl von Linné (*1707-†1778), who called it "Theobroma cacao" ("cocoa, food of the gods"). This was the first contribution of Sweden to the world of chocolate...
Just like pepper or coffee, this beautiful name, cocoa, is associated for many people with exotic adventures in remote countries. As a child, travelling the world was irresistibly attracting me and this is indeed how these wonderful products first got my attention. My chance was given to me by my father, through whom I discovered early the world of plantations in Africa.
As a Swedish diplomat, my father first worked for the Embassy in Paris in 1945. Years later his journey took him further South to Cameroon, where he ran a trading company, until, eventually, he settled in Madagascar in the 1970's after he had taken over various plantations on the island.
So it is in Madagascar, at our family estates, that my journey through the fascinating world of cocoa, spices and other delicious natural wonders really started. There I have learned over the years the secrets and subtleties of managing and developing plantations.
  Ultimately, I focused on and specialised in fine and flavour cocoa and spices, whilst my consistent aim was to achieve the highest quality in a sustainable way.

CONTACT
AO GMBH
Baarerstrasse 8
6300 Zug - Switzerland
AKESSON'S ORGANIC LLC
9730 W. US Hwy 90
Schulenburg, TX 78956 - USA
FAX:
+1 (952) 241 4994
For orders, please, contact us at:
order@akessons-organic.com
For general information, events, media, PR & communication issues, please contact us at: info@akessons-organic.com
Today, our family plantations in Madagascar and in Brazil supply world famous chocolatiers and chefs with our much appreciated products. In close collaboration with these passionate artists, I experienced the fascinating artwork to conjure cocoa into chocolate and how pepper enhances recipes and, ultimately, I launched ÅKESSON´S, a small and exclusive line of chocolate and fine exotic foods.
ÅKESSON´S philosophy is to produce the most tasteful, authentic and ethic products or carefully source them from some of the best farms around the world in order to deliver the highest standards.
The creation of ÅKESSON´S could not have taken place without the close collaboration and support of my family and friends. I am eternally grateful to all these people and especially to the growers and the team with whom I work every day.
Together, we now invite you to a journey of discoveries through the world of our hot and pure tropical foods...

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Crowd Mapping Chocolates and Cacao in the Philippines



I have done some google maps before but this time I tried the features available at crowd map and I find them very useful.


Since it can be used to Curate Local Resources - crowdsourcing isn't just for emergencies, you can use it for local knowledge and business too.

Ordinary people have a voice, and interesting things happen when you aggregate those voices and visualize the results. Surprising information and insights can be found.
Crowdmap is a tool that allows you to crowdsource information and see it on a map and timeline. It is the Ushahidi platform, built by the team who created Ushahidi as a way for anyone to run their own crowdsourcing site without having to know the intricacies of running their own server. It's free and it's yours to use.

So I will be using crowdmap to map about cacao and chocolates here in the Philippines. I have used three categories so far, cacao growers, chocolate resto, and artisan chocolatiers. Since it is a crowd map, everyone is enjoined to contribute. Sali na!


Check my chocolate crowdmap  here : https://pinoychocophile.crowdmap.com/https://pinoychocophile.crowdmap.com/


Heavenly Chocolates was my first entry in the map with this link - https://pinoychocophile.crowdmap.com/reports/view/2


Saturday, August 4, 2012

Swissness Chocolate Bar at Manila Peninsula



Last August 2, 2012, Thursday the ten-day festival of Swiss cuisine and fun at The Peninsula Manila commenced. Their lineup of activities include:

* Old Manila - Three-course menu, Degustation menu
* Escolta - Swiss Buffet, Schueblig Eating Contest (Aug.5)
* The Lobby - Chocolate Bar (Aug.2,3,4,9,10 & 11), 8pm
* Kitchen Party on August 9 at 6pm
* The Gallery - "Timeless: Swiss Landscapes"
* Lucky Draw for a Trip to Zurich onboard Swiss International Airlines, Victorinox Swiss Army watches and a knife, wines from Werdenberg International Corporation and Jewelry from Hans Brumann

For inquiries or reservations, please call 887 2888 or e-mail: diningpmn@peninsula.com.

Dubbed as Swissness, I went on the opening day to try their Chocolate Bar at The Lobby of the Hotel. Manila Peninsula invited Top Pastry Chef Anil Rohira to prepare Swiss Felchlin chocolate pastries and confectioneries. Award winning Chef Rohira is the current Export Corporate Pastry Chef of Felchlin. He travels around the world conducting chocolate pastry classes and tours chefs to their company's factory in Switzerland. The company is one of the leading Swiss chocolate makers that provides chocolate to hotels like the Manila Peninsula.

Felchlin adheres to this values:
Felchlin not only stands for a single product but for consistent thought and action with regard to quality, which permeates the entire company. The formulated and practised values are thereby our driving force from both within and without.


                                                                        Source: Uploaded by user via pete on Pinterest


This chocolate fountain is on one of the tables set-up for the buffet. I like its sweet, smooth and silky texture, a good dip for the strawberry and mallows. It would be nice if  there were  more varieties for the dips. The table also contain ice creams - truffle and rocky road with various toppings (I like the dark chocolate topping.)



Chocolate cakes and pastries

This is the other table set-up for the Chocolate Bar with Manila Peninsula's big nougat bar, their own toblerone bar - Penougat. This table contain most of the chocolate pastries.


                                                                                       Source: Uploaded by user via pete on Pinterest


My starter plate: dipped mallow and strawberry and chocolate bread pudding. The texture of the bread pudding is a bit rough with bitter hint of the chocolate.


                                                                                   Source: Uploaded by user via pete on Pinterest

Crispy mocha, the covering is crispy barquillos and it has a overpowering mocha taste, a bit sweet for me.


                                                                                      



                                                                                           Source: Uploaded by user via pete on Pinterest



Chocolate Cremeux and Chantilly is one of the best pastries that I liked best. The Chef introduced this lengthily to some of the hotel guests who was at the bar getting their fill of the chocolate desserts. There are 5 layers into it and a combination of different cocoas (white and dark coming from different origins Americas and Africa). I intentionally turned it to its side to see its bottom and lo, some mixed nuts underneath. The combination of the chocolate mixed well with its crumbly and crunchy nuts.





Orange Chocolate Cream 
(I also like the mix of sweet sour orange and creamy chocolate.)

Chocolate Intenso


Passion Milk Chocolate



Sacher Torte this cake I enjoyed well compared to the Black Forest Gateau ( I found a little bit soggy, perhaps several days old from the shelf? The bread part is disorientingly coarse.) Anyway the torte was fantastic, the smell is fragrant cacao with bitter sweet taste. The chocolate lollipop is also good with those in shot glass mousse called Exotic  Chocolate adventure, fruity cocoa moussed mixed with passion fruit and other fruit jelly.



Black Forest Gateau


More fotos here - http://pinterest.com/rahonpete/chocolate-bar-2012-manila-peninsula/



Thursday, August 2, 2012

Top Pastry Chef Anil Rohira: Up Close and Personal at Manila Pen



Swissness is Manila Peninsula's ten-day festival of Swiss cuisine and fun that started today August 2, 2012. Among their exciting lineup of activities is a Chocolate Bar at The Lobby that will run from  August 2,3,4,9,10 & 11 starting at 8pm.

Upon taking my reserved seat, I was told by the F&B Manager that Chef Anil Rohira went out for the night. A bit upset, I focused my attention instead to the smorgasbord of delectable chocolate pastries and confectioneries. But after sometime, lo and behold the chef came in to check his chocolate bar. That made my night, I both enjoyed the wonderful chocolate creations and the company of the creator himself for a chat.  


with Top Pastry Chef Anil Rohira of Felchlin, Switzerland



On Manila Pen’s Chocolate Ladies

I am very impressed and amaze that Manila Pen has showcased these quality chocolates to the world and their chocolate ladies are very productive.  I would hire them if I have my own place. Everything chocolate that you come and enjoy at the Peninsula is Felchlin. I have known the chefs for a while. I have been here two years ago for chocolate promotion and had cooking classes too.


Distinguished Pastry Championship Judge

I was in the US last July 8-9 serving as a judge for the World Pastry Cup. I have given up competing, in my younger days I used to compete. But there are times in life when you focus on certain things, it was competition then, now it is more teaching classes and I enjoy travelling and meeting chefs around the world.


Childhood Chocolate Memories

We have strong British influence and Cadbury is the most recognized brand in India. It is strange, when I was a small kid while enjoying a bar of chocolate I wonder how it would be like to swim in a pool of chocolate, those memory keep flashing to me. But now, when I look at how chocolate is made at Felchlin, I am so close to that experience when I see the machineries and see those volumes of chocolate we make. When we have chefs classes in Switzerland, we walk them through the processes of chocolate making and give them a factory tour.

Top Pastry Chef Anil Rohira


Felchlin is a Premium Brand

Most outstanding and amazing Felchlin is its closeness to the source or its closeness to nature when in comes to bean selection. We are directly involved with the plantations where we got our cocoa beans from. We are very selective on the nature and quality of the beans that we acquire. We are the smallest chocolate manufacturing in Switzerland but the most exclusive simply because of our orientation to quality. We try to be sustainable, fair trade and preserve the integrity of the nature has to offer us in terms of quality and origin.

There are some chocolates that has some specific applications as to fruits and nuts and the flavor.
Every brand has something to offer and room for the application of these other brands. There are different levels of chocolate quality and Felchlin is a premium brand. I am a firm believer of Felchlin and I choose to work with them.  

One thing that many people don’t know about Felchlin is that aside from being an amazing quality conscious company, they are the most wonderful people you gonna meet.

Explaining the origins and  and flavors of Felchlin
chocolate.



Signing my Chocolate Book (Chocolate Unwrapped by Sarah Evans) 
and his message/autograph and business card.





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