The Malagos Tree to Bar Chocolate Experience

Davao Cacao Export

A plain chocolate lover will know what is a good chocolate. And “a good chocolate comes from good beans,” says the Puentespina family of the Puentespina farms in Malagos, Davao, producers of single origin, tree to bar Malagos Chocolates.

In the time of the FoodPrints Davao taping, I meet the Puentespina matriarch, Charita, a fervent and sprightly lady, who herself inspires. One day I see her at the farm, showing us around the cacao farm and another day I see her in girl scout senior uniform, cutting up durian at their gentrified space in the city.

Mrs.Charita Puentespina

The Puentespina Farm covers 24 hectares of land. Maximizing land use with a diversified setup, they grow Grade A Trinitario cacao beans (a crossbreed between Criollo and Forastero) and a variety of flowers and fruits, raise goats and make artisan cheese.

Puentespina FarmCacao Flowers

Says Discover magazine, “A cacao tree produces tiny, dime-size flowers on its trunk, a strategy called cauliflory. Once pollinated, a flower will take up to six months to develop into a mature pod. Fewer than 5 percent of all cacao flowers bear fruit.”

Cacao (2)Cacao TreePuentespina Farm Cacao CommunityMucilage (pulp) is cleaned off the cacao beans with the aid of sawdust.Mars Cocoa Development Center, Puentsepina Farm, Davao

Tita Charita says, to sustain livelihood with communities, they’ve also tried exporting to global chocolate brands such as Mars, Inc. Their very own brand, Malagos Chocolate, developed by son Rex, makes premium raw, untreated 100% pure chocolate and 65% dark chocolate, meant for the dark chocolate lover and a suitable couverture for baking.

I can’t bake nor am I a farmer, so I can’t be too technical with their chocolate’s characteristics. But from what I saw, the methods they use are healthy and at par with fair present-day standards.

I’ve just eaten the last rectangle from the couple of dark chocolates I bought from the chocolate counter at Malagos Farmhouse. Very robust and smooth, it has complex flavors of wood, nuts, aged red wine and slightly tangy fruit.

The visit was such a treat.

Cacao FermentationCacao fermentation.Cacao DryingThe solar dryer.Cacao SeedlingsCacao seedlings.Malagos FarmhouseMalagos Dark ChocolatesDavao CacaoHot Cocoa

My best ever  hot extra rich chocolate drink made from tableya was at the Puentespina vacation house, located at the Puetespina Farm in the Baguio District of Davao.

*With special thanks to Mrs Charita Puentespina, Dr. Bo Puentespina, Vault, Ruben Neri and FoodPrints with Chef Sandy Daza.

Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2014

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