Today I have the privilege to taste something truly special. After Marou, this chocolate from Madgalena’s is the second sample of Asian made chocolate I have tried so far.
Cacao isn’t native to the Philippines, the place where this chocolate was created. However, due to being a Spanish colony, cacao was introduced in the country and now a days cacao originating in the Davao area of The Philippines is used by several industrial chocolate makers and at least one artisan bean to bar chocolate creator.
Gerry & Cynthia Baron started Magdalena’s Chocolates in 2011, in order to create a pure Philippine chocolate. They create chocolate using locally produced products like cacao, vanilla and raw cane sugar. Currently they produce only 20 kilo per week, making them truly small batch.
The package is surprising. Clearly this is not a single bar. Magdalena’s hasn’t used a mold or decorations or anything alike. They simply create the chocolate and spurt them into droplets, letting them harden as they are. Nothing says artisan or hand-made more than this. Not a single piece looks like another. Novel and surprising, it sets Magdalena’s well apart from other producers. The chocolate pieces almost seem like little pralines as we know them in Belgium.
The package states all the usual information as ingredients, benefits of chocolate and nutrition facts. Good eye for detail.
But now we finally get to taste them!
Origin: Davao, Philippines
Production: Magda Coco Treats, Magdalena, Laguna, Philippines
Price paid: €- sample received from Magdalena’s
Color: Due to the long voyage, the chocolate must have been rattles around a bit, causing it to be dusted with cacao dust. It takes the shine away from the deep brown, reddish chocolate
Aroma: Chocolaty, vanilla and subtle spices come forth
Taste: The chocolate starts rather sudden with a wave of earthy aroma’s. I detected some mushroom flavors, artichoke and wood. A gentle bitterness comes through while the earthy aroma’s give way for a flash of vanilla. Next, the aroma creates a tartness reminding me of fresh cheese cake. Very surprising and the first time I noticed this in chocolate! Near the end of the melt, a clear coffee aroma emerges and moves the experience over to the aftertaste, which keeps going on the cheesecake flavor and offers surprisingly a lot of chocolate flavor and some smoky wood.
When I first tried the chocolate, I immediately was reminded of Claudio Corallo’s Sao Tomé bar. But Magdalena’s chocolate offers a more complex taste. While the earthy, mushroom flavor won’t be enjoyed by everyone, it sets the chocolate apart from others. The texture is a bit coarser than usual and the chocolate a little dryer in the mouth, but I prefer this over too much cacao butter.
While it might not (yet) be as refined as other chocolate bars, it still offers a great deal of flavor and opens up a new array of flavors that I’m not accustomed to, which shows Asian chocolate is a very distinct origin on its own.
Remarkably, Gerry informed me that due to the small size of his business and the limitations of the local made machines, he doesn’t include a conch yet and tempering could do with perfecting. But in my eyes he does indeed achieve a great result already. Magdalena’s is a name to keep in mind the next year! I can’t wait to try the chocolate covered fruit and nuts he sent me.