Thick & Rich Filipino Hot Chocolate (Tablea Tsokolate)
A traditional Filipino holiday drink.
Hot chocolate is definitely on everyone's comfort food list but for me and most Filipinos I presume, nothing is as comforting as a cup of our native hot Tsokolate (chocolate, sometimes called Tsokolate Eh or Tsokolate Ah), made from ground Tablea or Cacao Chocolate Discs/Tablets. Traditionally served on Christmas and New Years' Eves but is also available all year round, native hot chocolate is rich, thick, and oh-so-chocolatey as the Tablea are made from pure cacao nibs that are roasted, ground, and then mixed with a bit of sugar and sometimes even ground peanuts, depending on the region the Tablea came from.
Intrigued? Read on as I tell you more about this delicious drink.
(Photo credit: Burnt Lumpia)
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Tablea is the Spanish word for tablet and Tsokolate is the Filipino word for chocolate so the direct translation for Tablea Tsokolate is Chocolate Tablet. The Philippines was under Spanish colonial rule for more than 300 years (1521-1899) and it was during this period that Filipinos learned to grow cacao trees and produce these tablets.
The Filipino tablea is made from locally grown cacao beans and comes in many forms - balls, thick flat discs (like in the above photo) or even in squares but the discs and balls are the most commonly found in our local groceries and gourmet establishments. Abroad, Tablea can be found in any Filipino specialty store.
Traditionally, native chocolate is made by heating and dissolving Tablea in hot water in a batirol or tsokolatera, a special cast-iron pitcher specially made for this purpose. The chocolate is then whisked by rubbing a batidor, a wooden utensil similar to the Spanish molinillo, in a circular motion between your palms to add froth and foam to the liquid. Keep mixing until a somewhat thick, grainy consistency is reached. Milk and sugar can be added as desired before serving.
Read the Filipino blog entries on Tablea Tsokolate below to learn more about this native delicacy.
- Tablea Tsokolate or Cacao Chocolate
Have knowledge of tablea tsokolate and be familiar what made this batangas delicacy as one of traditional hot beverage.
- Burnt Lumpia: Tsokolate: Filipino Hot Chocolate
Although cacao trees flourish in the tropical climes of the Philippines, chocolate is not indigenous to the islands. In fact, like a few other Filipino foods, chocolate was introduced to the Philippines by Spain via Mexico (the cacao tree IS...
- Market Manila: Hot Chocolate from Tablea
As kids we didn't have chocolate Starbuck's frapuccinos with cinnamon or nutmeg sprinkled on it. aatabWe had hot chocolate. And our hot chocolate was made from fresh tablea (blocks of cocoa powder) made from cacao beans grown in the Bohol town I used
- Dessert Comes First: A chronicle of the food-obsessed food writer, Lori Baltazar.
Say each syllable quickly like a staccato beat: cho-koh-la-teh-eh! with the accent on the "eh" thus my exclamation point. It's Filipino thick hot chocolate, specifically made with tablea, (tab-LAY-ah; also tableya), cacao balls. Tablea also comes in
- Hot Chocolate Drink From Tablea Tsokolate - Pinoy Food | Free Filipino Food Recipes
Our Noche Buena is never complete without the hot tsokolate made from the native Tablea (cacao chocolate). I often visited my great grandmother in Cebu and her past time involved making tablea.
(Filipino Hot Chocolate)
Makes 1 serving
1-2 Tableas or discs (the more tablets you use, the richer the chocolate taste is)
1 cup hot water (or milk, if you want your chocolate creamier. Non-fat milk can be used too)
Combine the chocolate tablets and and hot water or milk in a bowl. Using a whisk or stick blender, dissolve the tablets in the liquid and mix until you reach your desired froth quality and consistency. Pour into a mug and enjoy with grilled ensaimada, a Filipino pastry (in the photo) or suman, a steamed sticky glutinous rice cake wrapped in banana leaves.
(Tsokolate & Ensaimada photo: Traveler On Foot)
Tablea Tsokolate is available in any grocery or supermarket in the Philippines but if you're in another country, it may be hard to come by unless there's a Filipino specialty store in your area. I've scoured Amazon for a close substitute and found this Mexican chocolate disc made of pure ground cacao that could taste similar to our native tsokolate, the Philippines and Mexico both having been under Spanish rule in the past.
(Photo credit: Shoot First, Eat Later)
Cacao chocolate that you can use to make your hot drink.
Our native batidor is obviously our version of the molinillo, a traditional Mexican turned wood whisk. Its use is principally for the preparation of hot beverages such as hot chocolate, atole and champurrado (a chocolate sticky rice dish we have in the Philippines as well).
(Photo credit: Anggebarceona on Flickr)
Making hot chocolate using a batidor or molinillo - Watch this video to see the whisking motion used to make thick and frothy native hot chocolate.
If you prefer to use whisks, that's perfectly fine too!
Best served with...
Filipinos love to eat and a cup of hot tsokolate is never complete without the following native delicacies.
The EnsaÃ¯mada is a pastry product that originated in Majorca in Spain. In the Philippines, the ensaimada is a brioche made with butter instead of lard. It is extremely popular throughout the islands especially during the Christmas season, when it is often eaten with tsokolate.
Ensaimadas come in different sizes but the most common are about the diameter of a regular doughnut. They are typically bought in bakeries, groceries, or specialty stores and are typically topped with cheese and a sprinkling of sugar. I've seen and eaten variants that are stuffed with ham slices, dotted with raisins, topped with native salted egg slices, or given additional flavoring like chocolate or purple yam but my favorite version is the plain, original ensaimada (as in the photo above) since this is how I knew it in my childhood.
If you would like to learn how to make this Filipino pastry, here is an Ensaimada Recipe.
(Photo credit: Jo's Deli)
Suman is a Filipino rice cake, made from glutinous rice cooked in coconut milk, and often steamed in banana or coconut leaves. It is often traditionally served during Noche Buena or Christmas Eve, but can be eaten year-round too.
The recipe for suman varies in every region of the Philippines. Some variants are cooked with coconut milk and salt; others are treated with lye. Most versions are served with a sprinkling of sugar, sometimes with grated-coconut, brown sugar, coconut jam, or drizzled with tsokolate like in the photo. It is best eaten with a cup of tsokolate and, if in season, slices of sweet Philippine mangoes.
The suman I'm familiar with is called Budbud Kabog because this is what my family serves every Christmas and on other special occasions. My family's housekeeper who's been with us for over 30 years makes it from scratch, the way she learned it in her province in Dumaguete, a city in the Visayan islands.
If you want to make it yourself, here is the recipe for Suman sa Ibus.
(Photo credit: Aebbey11 on Flickr)
Philippine recipe books - Learn to cook Filipino food.
The Philippines' National Hero Dr. Jose Rizal's revolutionary novel Noli Me Tangere, set in the Spanish colonial era, tells of a Franciscan priest who gave coded orders to his handmaids about the type of tsokolate to be served in gatherings. He instructed them to serve thick and rich tsokolate eh (espeso) only to privileged guests, while everyone else got the watered down version, tsokolate ah (aguado).
Fast forward to the future. Thick tsokolate eh is now available to everybody and is served typically along with native delicacies like suman or ensaimada as an accompanying drink or as a dipping sauce. A watered-down version can be made for those who would prefer to drink the hot chocolate straight up.
Thick and frothy Filipino Tsokolate. Care for a sip?
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