The shop seats seemingly ordinary at first glance. Unassuming. The glass that separates the house of sweets from the outside refracts the day light, creating a glossy tint, which eventually reduces the transparency. You could not get an apparent view of what is actually inside.
Behind the fragile walls is The Chocolate Chamber.
Initially, you may wonder if it either sells your favorite Belgian chocolates, or houses a candy collection sourced from foreign makers. Your curiosity engender, more likely. You’ll probably make a stop and take a close look of the interior.
The Chocolate Chamber Boutique
Greeting you is a map, showing the world’s largest producer of the choco “rawmats”. That includes the Philippines which started planting Theobroma cacao in 1670. The map is actually painted from real cocoa liquor, a produce of the pounding step in traditional chocolate making.
Below the map are the simple tools used in process, such as mortar and pestle for grinding the nibs and bronze pot for melting the cocoa liquor. Also in the display are sacks of roasted cacao beans and shelled nibs.
On the right is the boutique’s counter. Locally made cookies, candies, bars, and spreads all wrapped in accordance with the brand promise are on display.
Perched on counter’s end is an infinite flowing chocolate fountain. Temptation will surely raise your finger to take some melts, and then lick it.
The left side is the main receiving chamber, showcasing all the house specialties. At one corner seats the molding station. It is where the chocolatier displays the art of attaining the brown emulsion’s consistency.
A dine-in table is set up exclusively for distinguished guests. If you want to try their sweets, you’ll be guided to a cafe nearby which is built solely for diners.
Ms Raquel Choa, the founder of the The Chocolate Chamber, strategically separated the place for diners from the merchandise stall. This is to allow each guest to focus on their individual purpose—undisturbed dining experience for the dine-ins and personalized shopping spree for the take-aways.
The first ever Cebu Food Crawl brought me to the doors of The Chocolate Chamber.
The Art of Chocolate Making
Edu, the man in-charge of the marketing and communications, welcomed us with some trivia about the business. Ms Raquel then joined us after few moments and started showing us her art, chocolate making.
She used the mortar and pestle to ground the nibs until it attains the desired texture and smell. Before doing the pounding part, however, the cacao seeds were sun-dried, roasted, and shelled first. Winnowing follows to completely separate the nibs from the shells and unnecessary fibers.
Some parts of the pounded nibs were rolled round, using merely her artistic and delicate hands. Imagine the effort and love she put in every chocolate she makes. The rounded cocoa mass is called tablea which she set aside for further use. It could be shredded to top drinks, pastries, and other sweets.
The other part were mixed with milk, “conched”, and then molded into bite-sized bars.
The Sweet Offers of The Chocolate Chamber
After the demo, the humble Ms Raquel, served us her creations.
She personally shook and melted a chocolate bar in hot milk using a sealed canister. Poured it in a classy porcelain cup and topped it with grated tablea. That was soothing.
A bite of the oatmeal chocolate cookies is also a winning munch. It was crunchy at first, then eventually turned a bit chewy. The sweetness will not overwhelm your senses, just enough to satisfy your cravings.
The chocolate peanut butter is a lot better than any other chocolate spread I’ve tasted. It was blended to perfection—not too fatty, not too saccharine.
When I tried the flourless cake, I felt the fine and smooth texture that slowly melted in my tongue. I admit, I don’t crave for sweets. Nevertheless, I keep on imagining the experience I had on my first flourless pastry chomp.
There was also this chocolate cake called cerveza negra cake wherein the layers of crunchiness added excitement to the noteworthy dessert treat.
The Chocolate Chamber also serves meaty and vegetarian pizzas which crusts are chocolate-based. You may find it odd, but I promise you, it does not disappoint.
About The Chocolate Chamber
The Chocolate Chamber is café arm of Ralfe Gourmet founded Ms Raquel Choa. Being a cocao farmer herself, Ms Raquel journeyed a difficult past before reaching what she is now today. She founded the Philippines finest chocolate maker for an advocacy to support the thriving cacao farming industry.
She is the founding member of CFF or the Cacao de Filipinas Fellowship.
Behind every creation is a labor of love and fine artistry. She even trains her children about the art, making the business a family affair.
You may visit The Chocolate Chamber at:
Unit C2-C5, G/F Sarrosa International Hotel
F. Cabahug cor Pres Quirino Street, Mabolo
6000 Cebu City, the Philippines