Theo+Philo: What every Pinoy chocolate lovers should have
Are you eager to press that restart button on your eating habits this year? Don’t do it just yet, not until you have tried Theo+Philo artisan chocolates.
I was resolute to put a stop to my sweet cravings, especially with chocolates, when I discovered a few bars of Theo+Philo. It was enough to change my mind. But I don’t mind since, for a change, I know I’m munching on healthier variations that use local ingredients.
What is impressive about Theo+Philo is that its taste and texture can be at par with high-quality European chocolates. Not only are you assured of good quality cacao beans from Davao and sugar sourced from Bacolod, you also get to help put the spotlight on Philippine cacao and those who farm it.
Philo Chua, the brains behind this artisan chocolate venture, is a web developer who switched careers to herald the craze for locally sourced chocolate bars. After working and living in the United States for quite sometime, Chua decided to take the plunge and pursued his dream of starting a bean-to-bar chocolate business after years of study and research.
“It was difficult at the start, especially here in the Philippines. When talking to suppliers and companies for machines nobody knew what I meant when I mentioned about processing cacao beans. If they did know, they could only offer industrial-sized machines from foreign manufacturers that were too big and too expensive for me,” Chua said in an interview with Entrepreneur.
“It was a steep learning curve—I had to deal with mechanical motors which I knew nothing about and was literally getting down and dirty if something broke down. I was a one-man team at the start. From sourcing, R&D, repairs, production, design, accounting, etc.,” he added.
So far, Theo+Philo choc bars I love the most are Dark Chocolate with Calamansi,
Dark Chocolate with Green Mango and Sea Salt, Milk Chocolate Turon, and Milk Chocolate with Pili and Pinipig. But it was their 70% Dark Chocolate and Dark Chocolate with Chili (Sili Labuyo) that gained bestseller status.
Their Dark Chocolate with Calamansi is a twist to my favorite Dark Chocolate with Orange bars that I usually buy at supermarkets and groceries. Milk Chocolate Turon and Pili and Pinipig provides a classic twist to your favorite Pinoy street food.
If you’re a bit adventurous, you might want to indulge in their take on the classic Filipino dish Adobo with their Milk Chocolate Adobo flavored with soy sauce toffee and black pepper and their Barako! Which is also a winner among lovers of organic Barako coffee. They also have Bittersweet Dark Chocolate with Ginger Mint and Milk Chocolates with Potato Chips and Pepper.
Theo+Philo chocolates can be bought at Human Nature outlets, some specialty boutiques, Bo’s Coffee branches, Gourdo’s, Sofitel Hotel Le Boutique Gift Shop, Connie’s Kitchen, the Market at Salcedo Village in Makati City, Gawad Kalinga Enchanted Farm in Bulacan and Café+. (Ched Romulo)