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Auro Chocolate’s partner SOFA setting the bar high for global cacao production

By Eileen Mencias

The Saloy Organic Farmers Association (SOFA) of Calinan District, Davao City, was recognized as one of the best cacao producers in the world at the 2023 Cacao of Excellence Award held in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

SOFA collaborates with Auro Chocolate, a globally recognized Filipino chocolate brand, as one of its partners.

In the 2023 edition, the Cacao of Excellence program received 222 cacao bean samples originating from 52 participating regions. Out of these, 50 of the finest samples were chosen to receive gold, silver, and bronze awards. The winners were categorized based on their regions, including Africa and the Indian Ocean, Asia and the Pacific, Central America and the Caribbean, and South America.

SOFA was one of the four awarded silver in the Asia and the Pacific category. The other three were Indonesia’s Koperasi Kakao Kerta Semaya Samaniya, Malaysia’s Mispari Ramli, and Taiwan’s Chung Sheng Chen.

Seven from the Asia Pacific were awarded gold: Hawaii’s Green Farms Hawaii, Maui Kuia Estate-Reserve, Will Lydgate and the Lydgate Farms Ohana; Indonesia’s PT Ebier Suth Cokran Cooperative and PT Perkebunan Hasfarm Sukokulon; Taiwan’s His Hsien Lai; and Thailand’s Beantobar Chocolate Chanthaburi Co. Ltd.

There were no bronze awardees in the Asia Pacific.

The cacao bean samples underwent sensory evaluation. The 50 best samples were tempered, molded, and evaluated by 32 experts and professional chocolate makers.

The Cacao of Excellence is a program hosted by the Alliance of Bioversity International and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture. The Alliance is part of CGIAR, the world’s largest agricultural research and innovation partnership, while the International Center for Tropical Agriculture focuses on the global crises of malnutrition, climate change, biodiversity loss, and environmental degradation.

The awards were hosted by Chocoa, the annual marketplace for cacao and chocolate that focuses on quality and sustainability.

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