After a long day of island hopping and snorkeling in the blistering sun, blue sea and powdery sand around and off Mactan Island since day break, we were totally exhausted by sun down. Our bus was valiantly fighting the evening rush hour traffic as we inched our way to our last stop, Ralfe Gourmet Tavern and The Chocolate Chamber (before dinner in Ayala, downtown Cebu).
By this time, I was famished and tired, and a good dinner followed by sleep were the only things on my mind. I really was in no mood to visit a "chocolate factory".
But, moments after stepping into Ralfe Gourmet's Tavern, the warm welcome, ambiance and chocolate aroma was enough for me to forget all the pain.
It's really true that chocolate can change any person's mood in an instant. Make anyone happy :-D
We were received by Raquel, the founder and owner of Ralfe Gourmet, boutique chocolate maker.
Ralfe Gourmet is a fully vertically integrated chocolate maker with their own cocoa plantation in Cebu, factory at The Tavern, and retail outlet known as The Chocolate Chamber.
Everything starts with the cocoa beans.
The intricate art of preparing and roasting the cocoa beans is what gives chocolate it's alluring aroma and irresistible flavours. For this, Raquel constantly mentioned her grandmother Lola, who taught her about chocolate since Raquel was a child.
At Ralfe Gourmet, the sun dried cocoa beans are still grounded to a paste by hand pounding.
Freshly pounded 100% pure cocoa mass can already be eaten.
Raquel packs the ground cocoa mass into small round, flat cakes. The cakes can be made into chocolate drinks with hot water or milk.
Raquel making a large jug of pure hot chocolate drink for us. It reminded me of how teh tarik (pulled tea) is made in Malaysia and Singapore.
A warm cuppa of Tablea, a local Filipino drink made with pure cocoa beans.
Rich luscious body, deep balanced soothing bitter sweet flavour and smooth enchanting aroma of pure chocolate.
Ohhh.... How I miss this moment.
Besides the chocolate beverage, Ralfe Gourmet makes a wide range of artisanal, hand crafted chocolates right here at the Tavern.
Such as this Chocolate Praline with a whole chocolate nib (roasted cocoa bean) at it's heart.
Raquel is a most gracious lady and host. She had a plane to catch that evening yet she insisted on seeing us off at the Tavern's door as we left for Ralfe Gourmet's retail outlet, The Chocolate Chamber or TCC.
Yes, TCC in Cebu is The Chocolate Chamber (not to be confused with Singapore's The Coffee Connoisseur).
Inside the air conditioned chocolate tea house, all furnishings and cutlery were of select, premium quality. Raquel paid great attention to the details. There were even red shoals on the back of the chairs, in case any customer feels the air in TCC a little too chilly.
TCC serves all of Ralfe Gourmet's fine chocolate products in beautiful tea house setting with Cebuano hospitality. TCC must be the only chocolate themed restaurant in Cebu.
Besides their extensive range of chocolates and chocolate drinks, TCC also serves sandwiches, pastries and cakes.
My trip to Cebu was arranged by OMY Sg, and sponsored by Philippines Department of Tourism and SilkAir.
Getting to Cebu is easy as SilkAir flies between Cebu and Singapore everyday.
Restaurant name: The Chocolate Chamber by Ralfe Gourmet
Address: President Quirino Street, Corner Magsaysay Street, Barangay Kasambagan, Cebu City, Cebu, Philippines (near Sarosa Hotel in Mabolo, Cebu City)
Hours: Mon to Sat 9:00am – 9:00pm | Sun 10:00am - 7:00pm
Tel: (091) 7628 7661
Date visited: 10 Nov 2014
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