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Odes to chocolate

Raye Sanchez



Jose Sagoban is one of the farmers where Auro Chocolate gets its cocoa from. FACEBOOK.COM/AUROCHOCOLATE

When we think about cacao or cocoa, we usually think about chocolate — everyone’s favorite treat. Did you ever think a part of this precious plant can be used for fashion?

During the Chocolate Fashion Show, as part of the celebration of the Salon du Chocolat 25th anniversary in Paris, France, renowned Filipino fashion designer Michael Leyva represented the Philippines and made a staggering ensemble.

The prestigious fashion show gathers designers and chocolatiers to present an anniversary collection dedicated to chocolate’s great epic from 500 years ago in Mexico to the present day.

The world’s largest event dedicated to chocolate showcased different creations made from chocolate-related materials. Among the browns and whites was Michael’s golden asymmetrical crystal-embellished gown made from primed cocoa leaves.

The parade of chocolate dresses was previewed last 29 October at the Grand Palais in Paris.

Filipino chocolate company, Auro Chocolate, made waves alongside the designer. Davaoeño cacao bean farmer Jose Sagoban managed to bag the Top 50, later on, Top 20 Best Cacao Beans award from the 2019 International Cocoa Awards, the most prestigious cacao excellence award, notably the only Filipino to do so.

Mang Jose is one of Auro Chocolate’s cacao producers. When Auro Chocolates found out that he was included in the Top 50, they decided to bring him to Paris to receive the award himself. Little did they know he would also make it to the Top 20.