By Gil Gabriel D. Ragil | DTI-EMB
THE Philippines participated at the Salon du Chocolat, Mondial du Chocolat and du Cacao (Paris Chocolate Show) from October 28 to November in Porte de Versailles, Paris, France.
Each year, thousands of visitors congregate at the Parc des Expositions to visit the booths and stands of 220 participating exhibitors. Visitors find chocolatiers, patissiers, confectioners and other artisans from all over the world. With over 500 participants from 60 countries, including renowned chefs and pastry chefs, the Salon du Chocolat featured the biggest names from the chocolate and patisserie worlds, making it a must-see event.
A yearly trade fair for the international chocolate industry, it began in 1994 supported by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Previous venues were Paris (France), New York (the United States), Tokyo (Japan) and Moscow (Russia).
The major highlight of this five-day global event was the announcement of the winners of the International Cocoa Awards in a highly celebrated ceremony on October 30 in the presence of representatives and farmers from 50 countries. Attendance was by invitation only.
The Philippine participation was the very first time the country was represented at the Salon du Chocolat. The Emerging Products Division of the Export Marketing Bureau under the Trade and Investments Promotion Group of the Department of Trade and Industry organized an Overseas Business Matching Mission (OBMM) in close collaboration with the Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC) in Paris, France, with the booth design provided by the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions.
Commercial Attache Froilan Emil D. Pamintuan of the PTIC in Paris did everything, including using his personal funds to ensure the successful initial foray of Philippine cacao producers and chocolate makers at Salon du Chocolat. A total of 18 company representatives from eight agencies/companies involved in cacao farming and production and chocolate making comprised the members of the Philippine delegation. Val Turtur, chairman of the Philippine Cacao Industry Council based in Davao City in Mindanao, headed the delegation. Companies that joined the OBMM were Malagos Agri-Ventures Corp., Auro Chocolates, Dalareich Food Products/Ginto Fine Chocolates Corp., Hiraya Artisan Chocolates Inc., Kablon Farm Foods Corp., Nutrarich Nutraceutical Innovations and Theo and Philo Chocolate Factory Inc.
Interestingly, the Cacao Excellence Program chose the cacao-bean samples sent by Charita Puentespina of Puentespina Farms as one of the best 50 samples from a total of 166 samples received from 40 countries for its 2017 edition. Malagos Agri-Ventures Corp. is a sister company of Puentespina Farms, both being members of the Puentespina Group of Companies based in Malagos Garden Resort, Davao City. The 50 cocoa samples were made into 50 chocolates using the same process to determine the bean quality only. The very best was then chosen by a jury and awarded the International Cocoa Award in a ceremony that was the major highlight of the Salon du Chocolat.
The Philippine participation at Salon du Chocolat was hailed by the cocoa and chocolate sectors as a breakthrough for their farmers, artisans, producers and manufacturers in the highly competitive and exciting world of chocolates. Proud of the quality and delicacy of their cacao and chocolates, Filipino exporters belonging to this sector were very upbeat, they were able to join the globally famous chocolate brands of Europe, the US, Belgium, France and Japan. Those participating at Salon du Chocolat had their hands full given its program alone lined up a total of 12 activities during the five-day event.
Its 2017 Show Program listed the following: live demos, Chocolate Fashion Show, Salon du Chocolat Junior, workshops, live performances, Japan area, chocolate sculptures, bookstore and booksigning, conferences, cocoa-producing countries, the opening night, and BtoB Village. Activites and subevents for chocoholics and foodies alike were enjoyed immensely.
The live demos by top chefs, great French and international chefs, pastry chefs, master chocolatiers and young talents followed one another in the Pastry Show demonstration area in presenting their best chocolate recipes. One learned tips, techniques and how to create one’s own chocolate delights from the masters.
For passionate foodies, the L’Atelier de Sens areas was reserved for free pastry and chocolate workshops every day during the Salon. L’Atelier de Sens was founded in 2004 and had three workshops in Paris and one in Lyon, both in France. They are highly considered as the perfect partner to delight chocoholics. The Salon du Chocolat maintained its policy that to understand chocolate is to love it.