Chocolate On The Road: Tree To Bar (A Creation Story)

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“When you already have a product, you now have a story to tell about how this product came to be and where it all started,” says one person. “When you already have a product, you already have a story to tell.”

-Wit Holganza

Most countries around the world have more than one small-batch chocolate maker. In fact, you can make chocolate anywhere you can find electricity to power the proper machinery. Those raw materials of cacao beans & cane sugar (the most common sweetener), however, are only cultivated in the tropics. So why isn’t more chocolate made in the tropics?

It comes down largely to money. But in the fine chocolate industry, there is a slow shift in interest within countries of origin to be making their own chocolate. Beyond doing all the work of raising and processing the cacao, they also want to be able to reap the rewards of making & selling chocolate.

In this episode, we hear two related stories about cacao in the Philippines, talking to 3 tree to bar chocolate makers about the many steps involved in making chocolate from the cacao bean to a finished product. But beyond that, we take a long hard look at what’s next for cacao farmers, and how to make that future happen sustainably.

To read the article version of this episode, click here.

A post shared by Max Gandy | Chocolate Travel ? (@damecacao) on Mar 6, 2019 at 7:51am PST

Topics We Cover

  • Production of chocolate and the more traditional processing of cocoa in the Philippines
  • The background of Eyeth and Nhel’s farm, as well as information about cacao farming in the Davao City area of the Philippines
  • The five stages that chocolate goes through from tree to bar
  • The challenges and opportunities that come with expanding a chocolate company in a third world nation
  • How agricultural tourism can and should contribute to the creation of fascinating, exquisite chocolate in the region

Show Timeline

0:00-2:57~ Background on the location of interviews & today’s topic

2:57-12:00~ Phase 1 of tree to bar chocolate (cacao cultivation & harvest)

12:oo-16:41~ Phase 2 of tree to bar chocolate (post-harvest processing of cacao)

16:41-22:20~ Phase 3 of tree to bar chocolate (actually making the chocolate)

22:20-24:25~ The struggles of being a chocolate maker in a developing country

24:25-36:15~ Agrotourism in Davao City and on working cacao farms in general

36:15-38:05~ Final thoughts

More About Our Guests

Eyeth and Nhel Belviz are the people behind the establishment of Rosario’s Chocolates in Davao City, in the province of Mindanao, Philippines. They also manage a cacao and durian farm that was established in the 1970s by Nhel’s parents. Check out Rosario’s Chocolates on Instagram, and purchase some of their treats at one of the kiosks they have scattered across Davao City or in the Pasalubong center in the city’s downtown area.

Gran Verde Family Farm was established in the 1960s by Wit Holganza’s parents, and she now serves as the farm’s manager as well as its architect. There, she cultivates cocoa as well as other native fruits, which she then sells or processes into goods with additional value. Follow Gran Verde on Facebook and Instagram to get up-to-date information about upcoming events and new product releases.


How is chocolate made story?

The beans that are removed from the fruit of a tree known as Theobroma cacao are used in the transformation process that leads to the production of chocolate. Cacao beans are removed from the fruit pods that are harvested from cacao trees. These pods can be yellow or deep red in color. Cacao beans go through several processes before becoming chocolate, including fermentation, drying, and roasting.

What was chocolate called before it was known as chocolate?

The Aztec word “xocoatl,” which referred to a bitter drink brewed from cacao beans, is where etymologists believe the word “chocolate” originated from. Etymologists trace the origin of the word “chocolate” to “xocoatl.” Theobroma cacao, which is the Latin name for the cacao tree, literally translates to “food of the gods.”

What is the history of chocolate?

One of the earliest civilizations in Latin America was the Olmec, and they were the ones who discovered how to make chocolate from the cacao plant. During rituals, they would drink an ancient chocolate drink, and they also used it as a medicine. The Maya, who lived many centuries later, referred to chocolate as the “drink of the gods.”

What is the journey of chocolate?

Theobroma cacao is the only plant that can produce cocoa, and it does so only in the warm, humid climate of the equatorial forest. Cocoa is the dried and fermented seed of this plant. It is the most important component of chocolate. Cocoa powder and chocolate are both made using the paste or liquor that is extracted from cocoa beans after they have been processed.

How does chocolate make one creativity?

Eat chocolate if you want to be creative.

Polyphenols are a class of antioxidants that can help reduce anxiety and improve your mood, both of which can lead to an increase in your ability to come up with creative solutions to problems. Chocolate contains polyphenols. Taking a short break to eat a candy can also serve as a source of creative fuel and help us see things from a new perspective. This can be accomplished simply by taking a break.