What can I tell you about Philippine cacao that you may not already know?
Askinosie Chocolate sources single-origin chocolate from its partner farms in the Malagos county region of Davao province, Philippines. For an inside look on the current state of cacao harvesting in the Philippines (and the current challenges inherent to organic farming in Mindanao), I highly recommend a visit to Shawn Askinosie’s blog. I found this post particularly informative, as I had never heard about cacao fermentaries or seen pictures of the drying beds that cacao beans spend up to 10 days fermenting in.
I’ve come across some thought-provoking pieces on how the Philippines is positioning itself as a prime cacao-growing region capable of bringing our Callebaut-calibre beans to the global market. “Can Mindanao save the world chocolate industry?” provides a great primer to understanding the role that Davao-grown cacao could play in the projected global chocolate shortage of 2020.
The Philippines is home to the Mesoamerican Criollo, a cultivar that “the country needs to highlight…since there is no original bean left in Mexico,” says social enterprise chocolatier Alyssa Jade McDonald-Bartl. According to B.G.D. Bartley’s The Genetic Diversity of Cacao and Its Utilization, “the cacao that was cultivated in the Philippines during the first two centuries following the first introduction [in 1670, of the cacao plant to Philippine shores via the Acapulco-Manila galleons] belonged entirely to the Criollo group.” Promoting the sweet, acidic notes of Criollo beans, Bartl continues, can help create “a stronger connection between farmers and chefs…to put together the whole story” of Philippine cacao.