To emphasise the high quality of their chocolate products, the Spanish called the very best chocolate ‘Filipino’.
Chocolate remained a beverage and possibly a food ingredient in local delicacies like suman moron, into the 19th century. In 1828 a Dutch chemist, Van Houten, invented the chocolate press, which separated the cocoa fat from the solids and turned the latter into a powder to make chocolate drinks.
The modern chocolate bar was developed by an English confectioner, Joseph Fry in 18471. A Swiss by the name of David Peters is generally creditted with adding milk powder to the mix to create milk chocolate in 1878.
The product of the time may have had a coarser, grainier texture than todays. The process of ‘conching’, which results in a smoother texture and better aroma was only invented by Rodolphe Lindt in Berne, Switzerland, in 1879.
Eating chocolate was being advertised in Manila by the late 1870s. La Bilbaina was operating a steam-powered manufacturing plant in 1877.
Chocolate is made of cacao powder, cacao fat – sometimes with the addition of peanut oil – and sugar, and melts easily in tropical climates. How the company overcame that problem has yet to be determined but some method of keeping the temperature low enough must have been used, possibly with the help of ice from the relatively newly established ice plant of Julio De Witte.
So, put all that fine history together and one can easily understand why a Spanish company called Artiach chose the name Filipinos to give their lines of white, brown and dark chocolate-enrobed biscuits an assumption of excellent quality.
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