Mark Ocampo, co-founder and managing director of Auro Chocolate explains why chocolate is so much more than dessert.

What is Auro Chocolate?

Auro is a dynamic home-grown Filipino bean-to-bar chocolate company that sustainably sources cacao beans from local farmers to produce high quality goodies. Headed by Gen.T Honouree Mark Ocampo and Kelly Go, Auro’s co-founders and managing directors are proud to say that the brand now has a presence in Japan and is scheduled to open in more international locations soon.

Changing The Chocolate Experience

Most of us immediately associate chocolate with desserts, pastries, and sweet treats. We have been conditioned to make this connection since this humble and versatile bean has mostly been used for desserts. However, Mark and the Auro team are geared to prove that cocoa is just like any other cooking ingredient out there – able to be infused into your every meal. The Auro team is very excited to expand the average diner’s palate by presenting totally new and diverse chocolate experiences. Think savoury. Think cocktails. Think endless possibilities!

Auro presents the Auro Chocolate Bar Crawl around Poblacion! A chocolate bar crawl. Intrigued? You should be! Five Poblacion hot-spots (Khao Khai, Lampara, Polilya, Alamat and Pedro Tap House) are serving up scrumptious savouries and unique cocktails all with some sort of a chocolate twist. Each dish or beverage is bespoke, created between Auro and the corresponding establishments' culinary talents.

From a chocolate chili cheese dog, pinakbet salsa tossed in dark chocolate vinaigrette, deep fried Hainanese chicken topped with mole, red bean chocolate chili stout shepherd's pie to dark chocolate bagoong with green mangoes, there truly is something for everyone to enjoy (vegetarian options too)! 

“I wanted to re-think the way people enjoy chocolate and for people to re-think the way the eat chocoalte. Our goal is to bring people together, and create a community around chocolate. I want people to see that it is just like any other ingredient, and understand that chocoalte should not be limited to dessert. It opens the door to much more creativity in the way we use it. The Bar Crawl truly features the creativity of all our partners involved.” - Mark Ocampo, co-founder and managing director of Auro.

No dessert; a compelling challenge put fourth by Mark and the Auro team piqued the interest of chefs and mixologists around Poblacion. Encouraged to play and think out-of-the-box, the whimsical culinary minds behind Khao Khai, Lampara, Polilya, Alamat and Pedro Tap House began running wild.

Each establishment created unique and head-turning dishes. Chocolate was looked at as your average ingredient and not just as a sweet treat!

We chat with Mark Ocampo, Auro's co-founder and co-managing director to get more insight on this exciting project:

Why a bar crawl, in particular?

“It all started when I was taking different groups of visiting friends around Poblacion. At some point, it became so repetitive that it was basically my go-to tour for everyone in town. As I took them around, I noticed the lack of cacao/chocolate-based infusions in each of the places we went to so it really got me thinking. Why not create an experience tailoured to how I would show someone around, featuring a product we create, in a unique Filipino experience that hasn't been done before.” 

The Auro Bar Crawl: What To Expect?

Your partner bars and restaurants differ in theme and cuisine. How did you choose which ones to include? Do you think chocolate suits certain cuisines more than others?
“Definitely working with some of Poblacion's best played a major role in determining which places to start with. The challenge was limiting it to just 5 locations because there are a lot of amazing places around the area. I think that's the beauty in the overall concept; it's not tied to any one cuisine. It really showcases the creativity of all the partners involved. The possibilities are truly endless.”
What foods do you think chocolate pairs well with? Why?
“A classic mole is a one of the most recognised savoury dishes incorporating chocolate through the ages and is typically paired with chicken depending on the recipe. Polilya took it up a notch by making a Hainanese Chicken Nugget topped with mole, kesong puti, sesame seeds and cilantro which is one of the fantastic dishes created for the bar crawl exclusively.”

What liquors do you think chocolate pairs well with? Why?
“I think wine, rum, whiskey and bourbon pair well with chocolate, but through the Bar Crawl, my eyes were opened. All our partners were so creative in how the used the ingredient, it blew me away! Pedro Tap House did one with beer++, which was excellent! Lampara's take on a chocolate boulevardier infused with cacao was/is a crowd favourite. Alamat infused their drink with some Pandan syrup which was really delicious. Polilya did a refreshing white chocolate margarita, while Khao Khai really kicked things off with their sweet and spicy Bangkok Fire drink!”

For the next 4 months (July – October) catch this one-of-a-kind bar crawl happening every Friday and Saturday from 4:30 - 7:30pm, beginning at 5pm sharp! They only accept 30 people per day so book your ticket as soon as you can!  

Be at Khao Khai by 4:30pm for registration. Crawl will start at exactly 5pm! 

Location: Khao Khai, 5772 Ebro Street, Poblacion, Makati City
4:30 PM Registration 
5:00 PM Start of Crawl at Khao Khai 
5:30 PM Lampara 
6:00 PM Alamat/Polilya 
6:30 PM Alamat/Polilya 
7:00 PM Pedro Tap House

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