From being tagged as dirty chocolate, Philippine cacao-based products are being elevated to luxury status with the efforts of champions such as tablea maker Raquel Choa, the Chocolate Queen of Cebu
Choa, who grew up surrounded by cacao trees in Balamban town, Cebu, said she had been processing cacao beans since she was a little girl, but it was only recently that she realized that cacao was the heart of chocolate making. She now considers homegrown cacao a hidden treasure in plain sight.
The woman behind chocolate destinations Ralfe Gourmet, The Chocolate Chamber and Casa de Cacao holds high hopes for the Philippines chocolate industry after having partnered with the likes of the Manila Hotel, Manila Polo Club, posh island-resort Amanpulo and, most recently, Shangri-La Hotel Mactan. Choa teamed up with Shangri-La Mactan to offer special chocolate creations and chocolate-based recipes to guests.