Monday, October 25

«Chocolate de Alicante» is born to internationalize the sector

The Antiu Xixona factory manufactures millions of kilos a year of chocolates for Mercadona.

The Antiu Xixona factory manufactures millions of kilos a year of chocolates for Mercadona.

The province promotes the brand «Alicante chocolate” for internationalize the sector and give producers a tool to differentiate themselves and value an industry that is a leader in Spain. The province is the largest producer of chocolates nationwide, with about 22 million kilos of chocolates, especially between Jijona and The Villa. And from the Association of Manufacturers of Nougat, Derivatives and Chocolate of the Valencian Community (TDC) yesterday presented a project to create the brand “Chocolate de Alicante”, during a regional conference on local products, commerce and tourism in Xixona.

The association has already registered this brand in the EUIPO, the Intellectual Property Office of the European Union which has its headquarters in Alicante. And this project is part of the one started between 2014 and 2020 with EU funds to create a European Chocolate Route, according to Alexis Verdú, technical advisor of the TDC and director of Quality of the Regulatory Council of Jijona and Turrón de Alicante. In this way, we want to give continuity to this initiative and offer producers a differentiating tool.

Verdú recalls that the province is the largest producer of chocolates in Spain, and that in Europe it is considered the origin of chocolate, from where this bitter food from America was transformed 500 years ago into the delicious sweet that we know today. And that at the same time it can be used for the nougat sector, which also produces a huge amount of chocolates and which can benefit from this project.

The initiative is based on a double strategic axis of structuring the project: the differentiation and revaluation of the Alicante industrial producer, and diversification and increased competitiveness as a tourist destination. Verdú remembers that in the province there are leading companies in the chocolate sector, such as Valor, Clavileño or Antiu Xixona, which manufactures sweets for Mercadona. And with the “Chocolate de Alicante” brand, it is offered to take advantage of its full potential in the foreign market, where Alicante has great prestige for its cocoas. And he points out that, although it is a project in an embryonic state, it could lead in a few years to the constitution of a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) such as that of nougat. And it is that he highlighted that another of the regions immersed in the European Chocolate Route, that of Modica in Italy, has already created its own chocolate PGI, which reveals the great potential of this route.

Another aspect of the project that is put on the table is to unite the two producing centers with industrial heritage, Xixona and La Vila, with two first-rate tourist centers: Alicante and Benidorm, to seek synergies, seasonally adjust products and promote tourism from interior through “industrial tourism.”

The presentation of this ambitious project took place yesterday at El Teatret de Xixona, in the conference “The product as destination. The objective of this regional meeting is to promote projects that value local products. Professionals from the gastrotourism sector of the Valencian Community reflected on the keys to developing projects that contribute to the protection of the native products of the territories and turn them into competitive tourist, gastronomic and commercial destinations. And the province, with nougat and chocolate, has two very relevant elements. One has had a prestigious designation of origin for decades, and the other could have one in a few years. The “Chocolate de Alicante” brand could be its germ.

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