Utzurrum: Raising the Tsokolate Bar

Chinggay V. Utzurrum
·2 min read

WHO hasn’t heard or read about Raquel Choa, the undisputed Chocolate Queen in these parts? She has elevated the lowly cacao at her establishment, The Chocolate Chamber, to heavenly concoctions of choco bars, cookies, pastries etc. and everything in between.

Well, Raquel didn’t waste time in designating her 23-year-old son, Jonathan to be her Choco Prince or The Chocolate Chamber Keeper for their Chocolate Academy.

One of his first pursuits was “Raising the Tsokolate Bar,” a program of the Chocolate Academy, to uplift standards and share the discovery of working with tablea chocolate, revealing the potential and unique qualities of Philippine Cacao.

As a backgrounder, Jonathan’s first exposure to molded chocolate was at age 15, which happened at the Singapore-based ADM Cocoa PTE LTD, maker of deZaan premium cocoa, back in 2013.

To enhance his knowledge and skills he was back in 2015, under the tutelage of ADM’s seasoned Chocolatiers. Still, despite his newly acquired learnings regarding foreign chocolates, Jonathan never forgot Mama Raquel’s valued teachings on the versatility of our very own homegrown variety, the cacao.

Flash back further to when Jonathan was 13, and province-based, where he initially experienced grinding the cacao beans and baking from his mom. Forward to 2020, and he is now in charge of production, still grinding beans, however on a more sophisticated level. He innovated the humble “pan de sal” into three varieties: Plain pan de sal, Tablea pan de sal with Tablea chocolate ganache, and Malunggay-flavored pan de sal. These chewy favorites are best paired with The Chocolate Chamber’s (TCC) Tablea Chocolate Peanut Butter, which is one of the first few product developments of Chocolate Queen Raquel.

The Chocolate Chamber will be conducting, under Jonathan’s stewardship, an event about “Raising the Tsokolate Bar” in the near future. Jonathan will also touch on the wonders of cacao, as it transforms into the chocolate products we all crave for, including how to melt, temper and mold the pieces into various shapes.

The venue for the above demonstration/event will be at The Chocolate Chamber (TCC) Cafe at Robinsons Galleria Cebu. Call Robby Alugar through mobile no. 0917-326-0113 for reservations. TCC will accept only a maximum of six persons/demo, for a fee of P385/person for a duration of 30 minutes.