‘Food for the heart’: Local chocolates and love amid coronavirus

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 12) — With chocolates among the most universal ways of celebrating love, this company is winning over the hearts of Filipinos and the rest of the world one locally produced chocolate bar at a time.

“We Filipinos love celebrating romance. What better gift than chocolate? Everybody loves it and most especially, [it’s] food for the heart,” Kelly Go, co-founder and managing director of Auro Chocolate told CNN Philippines’ The Exchange with Rico Hizon.

The products of Auro Chocolate, which was launched in mid-2017, consist of fine single-origin cacao and chocolate bars made with “sustainably sourced” beans from farming partners in Mindanao, according to its website. And more and more Filipinos have been embracing homegrown chocolates like what they have been making, Go added.

“What makes it special is not only does the raw material, the cacao come from the country but it’s also produced here so we’re able to help our factory workers, give more employment,” she further explained. These efforts also lead to the creation of goods that is enjoyed not only in the Philippines but also abroad.

Auro Chocolate has launched collaborations with firms in the United States, Australia, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Japan, Singapore and Vietnam. Since its creation, it has already won 36 global awards from prestigious award-giving bodies like the Academy of Chocolate and International Chocolate Awards.

And while the COVID-19 pandemic was challenging for Auro Chocolate, as with other companies in and out of the country, the company co-founder still expressed gratitude for new opportunities that arose amid adversity.

The company has pivoted towards e-commerce especially during lockdowns, allowing them to still sell their artisanal goods and directly engage with customers all the more.

“[D]uring the process of pivoting more towards e-commerce, we had to slow down our production a little bit but thankfully from third quarter onwards, it’s been really a steady gradual increase,” said Go. “And we’re thankful we really didn’t have to let go of our team members.”

And with Valentine's Day just around the corner, Go likewise gave aspiring and current lovers some advice: flowers work best with dark chocolate.

It's because it has more cacao, which makes it better for the heart, she added.