Saturday, October 26, 2013

Ecuador chocolate-focused tour

Below is my dream tour to Ecuador definitely chocolate plantation would be one of the places I would like to visit. This one is a high priority in my bucket list. Dreaming of Latin American tour but with cocoa/chocolate twist hmmmm....

Original source for the post below - http://www.ecuadorchocolatetours.com/

jeffrey-stern

Join Jeffrey Stern on an exciting chocolate-focused tour. April and May are prime harvest months for cacao in Ecuador. While there can be some rain, it´s always warm and harvest activities are at their peak during these months.
Get to know Ecuador’s chocolate and cocoa industry firsthand, while also learning about Ecuador and the splendid colonial part of Quito. Jeff Stern is the owner of Gianduja Chocolates in Quito, Ecuador and will be our tour leader. He has lived and worked in Ecuador in the chocolate and cocoa business for the past 7 years and knows the ins and outs of the cocoa industry on the ground in Ecuador. He is a graduate of L’Academie de Cuisine culinary school in Gaithersburg, MD and has worked in the culinary industry for over ten years.  He also holds BA from New York University in Latin American Studies and an M.Sc. from UT Austin. He is fluent in Spanish.

Read on or call us on 858 222 0332 for more information and to speak directly with Jeff Stern.
cocoa-image-one

Saturday, April12-Saturday, April 19, 2014

Registration Deadline Closes February 7, 2014

This tour includes the itinerary described below. However, Ruth Kennison will not accompany us on this tour.

Saturday, May 10-Saturday May 17, 2013

Registration Deadline Closes March 15, 2014

This program is delivered in English.
Day 1 (includes breakfast, lunch and dinner)
Pick up from airport prior evening. Transfer to hotel located in the Old Colonial Downtown in Quito. After checking in and a quick rest we will head towards the Middle of the World Monument, and on our way we will have lunch at a restaurant located inside an extinct volcano.
After lunch we will enter the Monument and visit the famous ethnographic museum which will introduce you to the different indigenous tribes and cultures of Ecuador. We also have the opportunity to stand on the Equatorial line and take a picture with one foot in the Southern hemisphere and the other one in the Northern hemisphere. Walk through the town they have created here to get some souvenirs or have some coffee or a snack. Finally we will visit the IntiƱam Museum, where you will be fascinated by the experiments they run (with our help) to prove that you are located at 0 latitude. Drive back to Quito for dinner and rest of the evening to rest.
An early dinner will be the great opportunity to have an introduction/overview of the tour, by our tour leader.
Day 2 (includes breakfast, lunch and dinner)
After breakfast we will travel to the Amazon region in Ecuador (4 hours drive). We will cross the Andes and admire the beautiful change in vegetation between the 2 regions (7 different climates). Arrive to Huasquila Amazon Lodge at lunch time. Before we take you to your bungalow, let us invite you an Amazon cocktail and give you a short briefing on Huasquila and its surroundings. You will be delighted by our bamboo’s dining hall with open views and typical decoration. When you are ready we will take you to your bungalow, built by local people in kichwa style and in harmony with nature. The bungalows are equipped with all facilities and you can rest a little or just enjoy the view of the Amazon from your hammock. After lunch you can enjoy a quick visit to an animal rescue center and/or stay at the lodge´s pool and enjoy the afternoon.
Day 3 (includes breakfast, lunch and dinner)
After breakfast we will travel to a local indigenous community, where local farmers that belong to KALLARI Association will host us and show us their cocoa plants, how they work in their farm, try some of their specialities such as chicha, and interact with them. To reach these communities we will have to take a boat through some of the Amazon rivers, and we will always have KALLARI staff joining us at all times, to explain how they coordinate and work with its members. At the end of the day we will drive back to Huasquila for dinner and a well deserved rest.pictwo
Day 4 (includes breakfast, lunch and dinner)
After breakfast we will visit the city of Tena, from where we will travel to the Collection of Cocoa Center operated by KALLARI. Here we will learn the process of how the Center operates, meet their staff and learn the most interesting facts about KALLARI. We will also spend part of the afternoon visiting with this fascinating organization. Rest of the afternoon will be spend at Huasquila Lodge.
Day 5 (includes breakfast, lunch and dinner)
Today we will discover the Amazon region rafting down its rivers. It is an amazing experience with full safety precautions. We will be in the river for approximately 4 hours, surrounded by flora and fauna. We will have lunch rest stop on the river and then continue our raft down to the Napo river (biggest affluence of the Amazonas river). At the end of the rafting, we will visit the city of Tena, to have time to experience the atmosphere of this town, interact with the locals and see get to know a bit more of the culture. Dinner at Huasquila, and rest of the evening to relax.
Day 6 (includes breakfast, lunch and dinner)
After breakfast we will start our journey back to Quito. Arrive to Quito for lunch. We will check in the hotel and have some time to relax. We will also have an afternoon chocolate tasting at the Gianduja Chocolate workshop, with the owner Jeff Stern who is also one of our tour leaders.
Day 7 (includes breakfast, lunch and dinner)
Today we will visit the Ecuatoriana de Chocolates factory, to see first hand large-scale chocolate production and discuss their operations and the social and economic aspects of the chocolate industry. After lunch we visit colonial downtown where we will walk through the biggest and most well-preserved colonial center in South America (declared World Heritage by UNESCO). We will go visit centuries old colonial downtown and its famous churches, and learn the most interesting facts about each location we will visit. We will finish the tour by visiting the Panecillo Hill, where we will have an overview of the whole colonial downtown. Guest can leave on day 9, or there is the opportunity to do an extension to the Galapagos Islands.
Day 8 (includes breakfast)
Departure day for some clients OR beginning of Galapagos extension. Please contact us directly if you are interested in a Galapagos or other extension, and you can work directly with our tour operator in Ecuador for any necessary arrangements.
Please note, appropriate age for this tour is 16 yrs. and up.
NET PRICE PER PERSON:
 PER PERSON US$ 1,950 (regular program 8 days)
Single supplement $200 additional
The price includes:
  • All tours and activities specified in program
  • Accommodations specified in program
  • All entrance fees during tours and activities specified in program
  • All meals specified in program
  • Private transportation
The price does not include:
  • International airfares and airport taxes
  • Any expenses not specified in program (personal expenses, alcoholic beverages, souvenirs, laundry, etc)
  • Equipment rental or supply (if necessary)
  • Personal insurance
  • Any medical expenses

Monday, October 21, 2013

COCOA NURSERY MANUAL




The source of this manual was fro the site of Malagos Chocolate here - http://www.thegiftfarm.ph/pages/cacao-nursery-manual


PLANT PRODUCTION AND NURSERY OPERATIONS
FOR COCOA NURSERIES IN THE PHILIPPINES.
EDITION No. 1

The following manual is based on preferred or best nursery practices, developed for
SUCCESS Alliance in Asia. These practices will be relevant to many countries according
to available materials, resources and budgets. This current manual draws heavily from
the Cocoa Nursery Manual of SUCCESS Alliance Vietnam, September 2007, but with
modifications for the conditions and practices as used in the Philippines. It will be used
to guide cocoa plant production under the CoCoPAL Program funded by the USDA. It is
intended to update it regularly, as new data and practices are uncovered.


Acknowledgements

ACDI VOCA wishes to acknowledge the contributions of a wide range of people who have worked in cacao nursery development and extension in South East Asia. Their contributions have been in developing best practices, developing new techniques, introducing new materials and technologies, developing extension and training materials and programs, relating to cocoa plant production.


These people and groups include:

Mr David Lim, Malaysia, Consultant with World Cocoa Foundation

Huynh Van Thanh, Nursery Coordinator, SUCCESS Alliance Viet Nam
Dr Pham Hong Duc Phuoc , Viet Nam, Nong Lam University Cocoa Leader

Nursery operators in Ben Tre, Tien Giang, Binh Phuoc and Ba Ria Vung Tau Provinces of Viet Nam.

SUCCESS Alliance staff in Viet Nam and the Philippines

Mr Peter Cruz and staff of the MARS Cocoa Development Centre, Philippines

Nursery Operators Mindanao, Philippines.

CoCoPAL Staff Philippines


Author:
Nicholas Richards
Chief of Party, ACDI/VOCA Philippines


Cocoa Nursery Manual Philippines June 2011. © ACDI/VOCA



Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Ralfe Gourmet, wealth in chocolate biz



Ralfe Gourmet was featured in an online article by ABS-CBNnews.com. Click the link to read the entirety of the article. I made some excerpt of the article. Check also their FB link below to get update.

How a former kasambahay got rich with chocolate
by Vincent Paul A. Garcia, ABS-CBNnews.com
Posted at 08/10/2013 2:07 PM | Updated as of 08/20/2013 6:42 PM
MANILA, Philippines -
Instead of lady luck blessing her with a golden ticket to her own chocolate factory, Raquel Choa, a former "kasambahay", built hers from scratch. Read more - http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/business/08/10/13/how-former-kasambahay-got-rich-chocolate


But today, Ralfe Gourmet uses around a thousand kilos of cacao beans every month and makes over 5,000 different kinds of chocolate that includes alfajores, tablea rice crispies, chocolate sticks, and tablea singles.
Ralfe Gourmet also supplies chocolate to various high-end local hotels, resorts and airports throughout the country.
With the success of Ralfe, Choa managed, along with her husband, to buy 33 hectares of cacao plantation at Cebu. Ralfe, today, makes around P200,000 per month.

Check their FB page here - https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ralfe-Gourmet-Chocolate-Boutique/187109351389119

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