Treena Cueva Tecson always had a secret passion: chocolate.
“Having a fondness for sweets was inevitable,” she said, having grown up in Bacolod, one of the country’s sugar-producing regions. “We always had dessert after every meal and, as a child, my favorite dessert was anything with chocolate.”
Treena dreamt of being a chocolatier, but for many years, it had to take a backseat to her career in public relations. Still, the mom of two found ways to make chocolate a part of her life.
“It’s my favorite indulgence,” she point out. “I would seek out chocolate bars when we travel abroad, taste them, compare them to each other and savor the different flavor profiles and nuances. I appreciate the art of chocolate-making and I admire professional chocolatiers who have turned their passion into a profession.”
Finally, in October last year, she decided to take the plunge: “I knew I wanted to pursue this passion and I had to start somewhere. I attended my first chocolate-making class. It was such an exciting experience to learn about the process, and from then on I was hooked.”
In the beginning of the year, Treena set a goal: “I will be turning 40 and I thought this would be the best time for me to pursue my passion for chocolate, not yet knowing where it would lead me. My husband also supported and encouraged me.”
Because Treena was busy running her PR consultancy business during the week, she devoted evenings and weekends to chocolate.
“Chocolate making is my way of relaxing and recharging after a busy day,” she said. “I get to focus on the craft and enjoy the process. I researched about the art of chocolate-making and practiced at home. I attended short courses and weekend classes to improve my skills.”
Family and friends encouraged Treena, who was by then sharing on social media her chocolate journey. Soon, she started making chocolate bars and truffles for them. “The response was overwhelming,” she said.
Earlier this month, True Chocolate PH was born. Treena had turned her passion into a home-based business, creating delicious treats in her roof deck chocolate kitchen.
“I decided to name the brand True Chocolate PH,” she explained, “because chocolate is my true passion, my true joy, and also because I use true, quality ingredients. I don’t add any extenders or stabilizers in my chocolate creations.”
True Chocolate PH’s Belgian Chocolate bars, which are available in dark and milk variants, are P200 each. Classic Dark Truffles (Belgian dark chocolate truffles rolled in cocoa powder) go for P200 for a box of 6 and P400 for a box of 12.
Our favorite, Nutty Dark Truffles (Belgian dark chocolate truffles rolled in roasted almonds and pistachios with a hint of pink sea salt), are P240 for a box of 6 and P480 for a box of 12.
“People often prefer milk chocolate because of the creamy taste, but I would ask customers to try the Belgian Dark Chocolate bars, too, since they don’t have a strong, bitter aftertaste,” Treena said, adding that they are her favorite as well.
She recommends the dark chocolate truffles, too: “They are decadently delicious.”
But we say try them all, especially the Nutty Dark Truffles (seriously, they’re a killer). “The roasted almonds and pistachios add texture, and the hint of pink sea salt adds an interesting contrast in flavor,” said Treena.
Treena uses imported Belgian couverture chocolate in making her Belgian chocolate bars and dark chocolate truffles. But she wants her brand to use ingredients from her province, too.
“I’m experimenting on using local cacao beans sourced from Negros to create a local tree-to-bar chocolate,” she said. “To be able to create a local chocolate bar from my hometown is important to me because I know that I will be helping the farmers and communities who grow the cacao. I know Negrenses will support and appreciate a product made with quality ingredients sourced from Negros Island.”
Because Treena’s chocolates are all handcrafted in small batches, you will need to wait a week for your orders—but they are really worth the wait. They’re available for pick-up at her home in San Antonio Village in Makati.
She’s currently working on creating more products, including sugar-free variants and others that she will introduce for the holidays.
“I get suggestions and requests from family and friends, so I try to make products that they would like,” she said. “I am working on a sugar-free version of my chocolate bars and truffles for those not allowed to take sugar due to dietary restrictions, and for my friends who love chocolate and are on the Ketogenic Diet.”
Visit facebook.com/truechocolateph or follow @truechocolateph on Instagram. E-mail [email protected]