March 7, 2017

“You must not let anyone define your limits because of where you come from. Your only limit is your soul.” – Gusteau, Ratatouille

I come from a middle class cooking family in Manila, Philippines before I went to Dubai with my sister Iman some thirteen years ago. I rode my first international airplane and asked the international cabin crew “miss, can we have extra rice?” 


My mother was a cook. My mother’s mother was a cook. My summer memories always involved packing rice and food for delivery to offices in Makati. If not packing, we were busing the dishes, washing the pots and pans. If not that then we were standing in the cafeteria as food server in the cantee...

January 21, 2017

An afternoon of beautiful January weather, 16 chocolates to taste, 13 of which were hand-crafted by yours truly, fine chocolates from Madagascar, Tanzania and Ecuador and even chocolates with interesting inclusion - crickets!  OPM could only think of the most perfect group of people to participate in its first chocolate tasting session - OPM's Charter Investors. 


Sometimes. we can't find the right words to describe what we taste, so over the months, I've developed this chocolate tasting info-graphic, that is straightforward and basic enough to guide someone who eats chocolates for pleasure, or one who is starting to develop one's palate for chocolate tas...

December 19, 2016

I wanna wake up in the city that never sleeps…New York! New York!

           

Unlike my Atlanta and San Francisco chocolate escapades, where I had the pleasure of experiencing personalized tours, chocolate tasting, and most importantly a time to discuss chocolates with the chocolate makers, I went to two of the biggest chocolate makers in the city –without having received a confirmed appointment. 

Just some of the pics I took while in NYC.  My friend Tristan told me a photo by a NYPD sign is a MUST.  And NYPD was no scarce in Manhattan, they were everywhere, so taking one was very easy (pic in the middle, this is one of the many).  Another mu...

December 9, 2016

From Mid-West Michigan, to Southern State of Georgia, to West Coast Nevada and now to the Pacific Coast of California, home to one of the most famous bridges in the world – San Francisco.

I headed to the Bay Area and visited some of the greatest chocolatiers and chocolate makers of the city. Bay Area also happens to be home to many huge American chocolate factories. My focus though was micro-batch chocolate makers, those people who create small-batch chocolates from cacao (or cocoa) beans developing them until the cocoa beans actually become an actual chocolate bar or bon-bon. This differentiates the chocolatier from the chocolate-maker. The chocolatier skips the c...

December 5, 2016

I’ve been asked, plenty of times, “Why go to the U.S. to study about chocolates, when Europe is THE place for THE best chocolates?”

The reason is that the bean-to-bar chocolate movement in the U.S. and North America is growing stronger than ever, surpassing even Belgium, Switzerland and the UK.  The coffee industry is on its “third wave,” producing high-quality coffee and treating it with the same reverence as fine wine, while chocolates, has now been for the past decade on a “chocolate-bean-to-bar renaissance.”  The burgeoning craft chocolate makers in the USA have a different approach in making chocolate bars; from sourcing beans, to creating new flavors, all the...

August 23, 2016

Cacao Doctor Luchie Suguitan held Chocolate 101: An Introduction to Chocolate Tasting, attended by the Farmers of OFW para sa Magsasaka and representatives of the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of Trade & Industries (DTI) of the CARAGA Regional, Provincial and Local Offices, held last 15th of July 2016.

Cacao Doctor also explained how one's five senses are engaged when tasting chocolate (and process in this order):  Sight, Smell, Sound, Feel and Taste!

That morning, the attendees experienced and discovered the different flavors of chocolate in the following forms: 

• Roasted cacao nibs (from Peru)

• 100% pure cacao chocolate...

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