The Department of Trade and Industry Region 2 conducted the Kakawsafe: Capability Building and Knowledge Sharing of Cacao Processors on November 23-24, 2017 at the Department of Agriculture Food Technology Center, Carig Sur, Tuguegarao City.

The two-day capability building and knowledge sharing was conducted to provide skills training on tableya-based chocolate production compliant with food safety standards.

About 26 participants composed of farmers, processors, traders, and enablers attended the activity and as an output, 2 label designs were developed.

The overall development goal of the activity was to produce and launch cocoa products that meet food safety and quality standards.

Among the activities included were (1) promoting and facilitating knowledge sharing on the proper way of tempering cacao and product development specifically on the application and usage of tableya (2) acquiring an effective product costing system (3) learning the art of chocolate plating and presentation.

In his opening message, Mr. Jaime Pagalilauan, Chief of Administrative, and Finance Division delivered the opening message. He encouraged the participants to be proactive to be a successful entrepreneur. He also introduced different financing programs that the agency provides.

For the first day, Ms. Mary Grace Belviz and Mr. Emmanuel Belviz, Owners/ Managers of Rosario’s Delicacies discussed an overview of the Science of Chocolate Making.

According to them, the quality of chocolates came from the quality of beans that they came from. The bean quality is influence by the harvest practices, pod breaking and bean removal, fermentation, drying and storage. Proper way of harvesting cacao and pruning of trees were demonstrated by Mr. Belviz.

Among the key points in pod harvesting and storage were 1.)Keep tools and equipment clean and well-maintained.2.) Harvest pods as soon as they ripen: generally, harvest every week during peak periods and every two weeks in non-peak periods.3.)Carry out a separate weekly sanitation check and remove diseased, insect damaged and mummified pods using tools that are only used for this purpose.

On the other hand, Ms. Mary Grace Belviz discussed the science in chocolate making. Below are the highlights her discussion were the following: 1.) For cacao bean to be considered as quality, it must be well fermented, dry, free from abnormal and foreign odors, free from any evidence of adulteration, free from insect infestation, free from broken beans, fragments and pieces of shell, free from foreign matter and reasonably uniform in size.2.)

There are nine equally important steps to achieve the chocolate as finished products; these are roasting, cracking/winnowing, grinding, butter extraction, mixing& formulation, refining, conching, tempering and molding/cooling/ageing.3.) Roasting develops the original flavor of chocolate into beans.4.)Cracking/Winnowing removes the shells to prevent off-flavors and gritty textures in the chocolate 5.) Grinding is the process of crushing the nods to create chocolate liquor.6.) Mixing is the process of producing a chocolate mixture based on the desired percentages.7.) Refining is the vital step of reducing the particle size of the mixed chocolate to a size that cannot be felt on the palate.8.) Conching is the process accompanied by a long term exposure to heat, oxygen and agitation.9.) Tempering is done to ensure the chocolate sets with proper gloss and brittle snap, and 10.)Molding, Cooling and ageing is very important step to stabilize the fat crystals to increase melting point and shelf life.