The Chocolate Chamber Cebu

   I have met the reigning Chocolate Queen in the Philippines - Raquel T. Choa last year and ever since, I couldn't help but be astounded by her story. It wasn't just with how she carries herself, her flexible business acumen, and how she surpassed her personal tribulations. It's how she elevates her chocolate journey by helping the farmers who have toiled the good earth that produces the cacao beans needed to make her finest chocolate creations. 

    More and more farmers' market has sprouted all over Cebu City and while sustainability has become an overarching theme for most businesses, its essence shall always go back to its grassroots level which is with the farmers. With sustainability in mind, The Chocolate Chamber, once again provides the farmers of FCCT Cooperative (First Consolidated Cooperative along Tañon Seabords) a venue for them to sell their produce. Situated right beside the Chocolate Chamber , the mini market (tabo) aims to not only promote local products but also to support local farmers through sustainability and a greater appreciation for local agriculture.

     The support that TCC provides to the farmers of FCCT is in consonance with its joint slogan which is Go Glow and Growing Together. Cacao educator Edu Pantino shared that it's actually from the mantra of Cacao de Filipinas Fellowship (CFF) - the advocacy arm of The Chocolate Chamber. "Go is for the individual enablers who can contribute to the goals of CFF on their personal capacity whichever life has called them to follow their passion. Glow is for our institutional members which are our partners. We're talking about hotels and corporations that also contribute to the dreams of CFF. Lastly, Grow for farmers. It could be a cooperative or individual farmer. With our Grow partners, we showcased their produce," he added.  

     The produce from FCCT is not limited to cacao. For instance, TCC buys and consumes fresh milk from the cooperative which they use as part of their delectable creations. "We have partnered with FCCT because we share the same vision which is to help the farmers earn. We showcase their produce by small-batch as much as we could," Pantino said.
Growing Together! Raquel T. Choa (in the middle) with FCCT members. The group is holding some of the fruits and vegetables available in FCCT's mini tabo market
Raquel T. Choa - the reigning Chocolate Queen of the Philippines
Raquel T. Choa, the Philippine Chocolate Queen/ President and Founder of The Chocolate Chamber (in the middle) along with FCCT members
     FCCT has just been growing together with TCC for over a year, but the partnership has already flourished ripples of good harvest. FCCT Marketing Officer Marlyn Secretaria shared that they are beyond grateful for TCC. Secretaria said that before the partnership of FCCT and TCC, the local farmers of the cooperative never imagined that they will be given a venue to display their products in the city. She added that more than the chance to earn more, the Chocolate Queen has given them the gift of courage both through her tales and living philosophy.

       "Now, the local farmers are more excited to plant. Maám Raquel taught us the value of planning in sustainability especially in not just waiting to earn from a singular kind of plant but to explore other means of earning with other crops," Secretaria said. This is evident in the creation of TCC's take on Ube Ensaimada. Knowing that FCCT farmers produce healthy purple yam, the Philippine Chocolate Queen rustled up a delicious recipe using the crop expeditiously.

    The future is definitely bright with agriculture. Apart from their use of locally-grown ingredients, The Chocolate Chamber would also like to impart the value of consuming locally-grown produce to their beloved customers with their specially-curated dining experiences. TCC offersand serves Mornings with Cacao - an elevated version of the classic Filipino breakfast and 1521 Chocolate High Tea - TCC's interpretation of the quintessential afternoon tea.  One can also have the opportunity to learn deeper about the whatnots of cacao through the Chocolate Chamber's Chocolate Academy and Cacao Course. Visit TCC's official Facebook page for details. 

Visit FCCT's mini tabo market. Shop for fresh and affordable fruits and vegetables. Please be reminded to follow safety and health protocols.

📍🌿Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. March 12 and 13, 2021 (this Friday and Saturday) 

📍🌿Location: Beside The Chocolate Chamber

📍🌿For advance orders/pick-up and delivery, contact Ms. Marlyn D. Secretaria (FCCT Marketing Officer)  📞09431281850