For the longest time, Treena Tecson has held a fervent adoration of chocolate.

Having been raised in sugar-loving Bacolod, dessert was an essential part of any meal—and Tecson’s favorite in particular was “anything with chocolate”. This love would carry itself over as she grew older; Tecson shares she would even make it a point to get various chocolate bars whenever they’d travel abroad, taking her time to taste and appreciate them, noting their nuances, and even collecting the wrappers and boxes. Not only did her love span the final product, but also the process behind them. “I appreciate the art of chocolate making and I admire professional chocolatiers who have turned their passion into a profession,” she tells us. “I always thought to myself that chocolatiers have the best job because they get to make chocolate all day.” As 2017 rolled in, Tecson decided it was time to take her passion a step further and pursue her long-held dream: to be among the chocolatiers she has long admired, and craft up her own chocolate. This dream has found its incarnation in True Chocolate, a home-based chocolate-making venture through which Tecson shares her passion to the world.

Tecson worked hard to perfect her tempering technique—and it pays off in the brilliant, glossy sheen of her Belgian Milk and Belgian Dark bars.

“I was motivated by my passion so I was determined to learn as much as I could no matter what,” shares Tecson. Though she runs a PR consultancy business during the day, Tecson began attending short courses and weekend classes, practicing her chocolate-making at night. “[It’s] my way of relaxing and recharging after a busy day [as] I get to focus on the craft and enjoy the process,” she shares. “It was such an exciting experience to learn about the process and from then on I was hooked.” She started posting pictures of her creations on social media, garnering positive responses from her friends and family. This motivated her to continue practicing and researching on the art of chocolate-making, determined to perfect the meticulous craft. “It took me some time to be satisfied with my skills because I am a bit of perfectionist, which is actually a good trait to have if you want to work with chocolate,” says Tecson. “[But] like they say, you will always make time for the things that you value [and] the things that are important to you.”

Pistachios, almonds, and sea salt lend the Nutty Dark truffles a savory counterpoint and a welcome crunch.

Working with Belgian couverture chocolate—her weapon of choice for being “stable and consistent to work with”—Tecson works her magic and churns out bars and truffles, all made by hand and in small batches. You’ll notice the chocolate bars (available in milk or dark variants) carry an especially smooth, mirror-like sheen, thanks to the tempering process Tecson has worked hard to hone. “The process is very precise . . . [and] the challenge is to achieve and maintain the right temperature,” she says. Aside from the glossy appearance, it contributes toward the successfully crisp “snap” the resulting bars make when broken into pieces. You’ll want to savor each square slowly as it melts flawlessly buttery on the tongue, gradually revealing its deep, cacao-forward profile and smooth finish. With the truffles, on the other hand, a ganache of the chocolate is rolled into balls and into different coatings: cocoa powder in the no-fail Classic Dark variant, or chopped roasted almonds and pistachios and pink sea salt (a savory contrast that balances out and brings out the chocolate’s profundity) in the creamy, crunchy Nutty Dark variant. “I am in inspired by flavors that complement and enhance each other,” she shares when asked about the philosophy behind them. “I want to keep it simple and let the chocolate shine.”

Rolled in cocoa powder, the Classic Dark truffles are elegant in their simplicity.

Even more exciting, Tecson tells us of her coming plans to come up with her own bean-to-bar chocolate using cacao sourced from her hometown of Negros—a region not yet as known for the bean as other areas like Davao or Bicol, but which she hopes to be able to highlight through her creations. “I visited our farms in Mt. Kanlaon Occidental and had the chance to talk to the farmers, and they were excited about the interest in cacao which are endemic in the area,” she tells us. “Some of the trees have been there since the Spanish Era, as I was told by the locals.” Though currently still in the works as she mentions farmers need further training on proper farming practices and processing to be able to bring out the cacao’s best, she looks forward to being able to help and create a livelihood for them in the process.

While Tecson admits juggling her PR day job and new chocolate-making venture can be challenging at times, the opportunity to pursue her passion is one she deems to be ultimately worthy and fulfilling. “Life is good and I am thankful when I look back [and] I realize that everything just fell into place.”

True Chocolate PH

A line of handcrafted bars and truffles made with Belgian Chocolate.

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SPEND: PHP 200 for the bars, PHP 200-400 for the truffles
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