Cebu chocolates as Asean delegates’ tokens
CEBUANO ingenuity will be highlighted once again during the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) in Manila this month, where locally-made artisanal chocolates will be given out as tokens to delegates.
Raquel Choa, Cebu’s Chocolate Queen, is set to fly to the capital this week to deliver the 9,000 hand-rolled chocolate truffles for the delegates and 70 pieces of cacao de bola for foreign ministers in time for the anniversary rites on August 8.
“We are very blessed that Cebuanos were the ones chosen to give the tokens for the Asean anniversary celebration,” Choa, who is also an Inquirer brand ambassador, said in a press conference earlier this week.
Next week’s celebration will feature a landmark lighting ceremony of the Asean lantern as the Philippines plays host to this year’s Asean summit.
The ceremony will culminate the Asean foreign ministers’ meeting and other related meetings, which began on Wednesday.
Choa’s chocolates, which are made from cacao beans sourced from different parts of the country, were already showcased in previous Asean meetings this year as well as meetings for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) in 2015.
Last April, Choa led an intimate gathering filled with sweet treats for spouses of Asean ministers at the Cacao Garden of Shangri-La’s Mactan Island Resort and Spa.
While Choa is no stranger to having her creations showcased to international audiences, her latest production is her biggest for the Asean yet.
Coincidentally, August 8 is also the start of the two-day National Cacao Congress in Cebu City.
Choa, who currently sits as the chair of the Central Visayas Regional Cacao Council, will give a talk on the potential of cacao beyond chocolate as well as a demonstration on what can be done with cacao.
While the Philippines is at an advantage in cacao production due to its strategic location, growing conditions, and the availability of land, the country faces a huge gap, which industry stakeholders are trying to address.
This year, Choa is set to open another venture called Batirol, aimed at reaching the mass market with affordable chocolate drinks and other chocolate products. Batirol will also highlight cacao beans from different regions of the country.
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