All my life I have always been fond of chocolates. I have often wondered how it feels to stuff my mouth full of these tasteful gastronomic creations until I just couldn’t anymore. One day, I got an invite from Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort & Spa to partake in the launching of a “chocolate event” and I found myself grinning at the thought.
The Land of Chocolate, they called it. This was a project finally realized after two years of careful development with the purpose of “enhancing the overall guest experience” at the resort. As a guest, my experience was definitely a memorable one.
The afternoon started with cocktails at the lobby lounge. It was during this time when I got the chance to talk to Mark and Kelly, the founders of Auro Chocolate. For those who don’t know them, Auro Chocolate is a proudly-Filipino bean-to-bar chocolate company that sources their cocoa beans directly from farming communities in Davao. I was also able to taste one of their chocolates and was impressed at how easily I would’ve passed it off as an imported brand if I hadn’t known better.
After we had our fix of cocktails and casual conversations, we were ushered into the resort grounds where a hidden young cacao farm was nestled in an otherwise quaint garden. Here, in the area they called La Tierra del Chocolate, chocolate sommeliers demonstrated how cacao beans are pounded (and whatever else they did) to create authentic chocolate rooted in nature and reflective of Philippine tradition. I experienced pounding the beans myself and I have to admit, it is not an easy job. I salute all Filipino cacao farmers and chocolate makers.
Of course, this wouldn’t be a chocolate tour without the chocolates themselves! I got to try a bunch of chocolate-themed pastries from macaroons, tarts, and eclairs complemented with a selection of fresh fruits. On the side is a glass (or in my case, a couple of glasses!) of native hot chocolate, popularly known as sikwate, paired with a traditional Cebuano merienda of biko (Filipino rice cake) and mango. Living out my fantasy, I stuffed my mouth full with all these sweets (albeit discreetly). It was awesome!
After the chocolate tour, the rest of the afternoon was spent lounging with decadent high tea and cocktails on hand. I will never get tired of gulping down one cocktail after another! I may have had a couple of lemongrass martinis with chocolate, deliciously prepared by Jefrie (one of Shangri-La’s best bartenders).
This was indeed a chocolatey experience *burp* and I’m definitely coming back for more (as soon as my sugar high gets depleted!). For inquiries and reservations, you may call +63 32 231 0288 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for having me, Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort & Spa!