Cacao Talk: The Award-Winning Filipino Farmer That Put Negros On The Map As The "Home Of The Best-Tasting Chocolates" - Meaningful Life

It’s chocolate.

Negrense farmer Christopher Fadriga is the closest we’ll get to a real-life Willy Wonka.

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More than his cocoa products that have received international recognition, it’s Fadriga’s sense of “pure imagination” that rings true to the spirit of the beloved chocolatier.

Home of the best

The cacao farmer envisions a Negros Occidental that is known for more than just exporting sugarcane.

“Our dream is to make Negros Occidental an heirloom cacao-producing province and home of the best-tasting chocolates grown by our passionate next-generation cacao farmers,” Fadriga said.

Now, he’s a step closer to making this vision a reality. Fadriga won gold at the 2021 Cocoa of Excellence Awards, a global competition that recognizes the work of cocoa farmers by celebrating quality, flavor diversity, and unique origins.

Moreover, he is one out of only three Filipinos who placed in the competition. The 39-member Cocoa of Excellence jury evaluated 235 cacao bean samples from over 50 countries. From this large pool, they ultimately selected Fadriga as well as Davao’s Arthur Lagoc and Carlos Barsicula.

The Negrense local highlighted how the island has geographical blessings like rich volcanic soil and suitable weather.

Growing potential

“Our highlands are our assets where we can develop other high-value crops like coffee, avocado, citrus, salad veggies, bamboo, and so much more,” Fadriga projected.

Bago City Mayor Nicholas Yulo would recognize the farmer’s achievement. He mentioned how Fadriga has effectively turned Negros into one to watch out for.

“It is truly a great honor for our city as one of its outstanding sons has made a name. Not only for himself but was able to catapult his home city to the chocolate map of the world… His cacao beans planted and grown from the sweet soil of our city have enamored the discriminating taste of worldwide chocolate makers,” Yulo said.

The 2021 Philippine Cacao Quality Award also chose Fadriga as one of its four winners. All of whom successfully demonstrated the quality and uniqueness of domestic cocoa varieties.

“The world is ready for our cacao and chocolates. We just need to grow more to meet the demand,” Fadriga concluded.

Banner Photo by Tetiana Bykovets on Unsplash

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