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Thick & Rich Filipino Hot Chocolate (Tablea Tsokolate)

Updated on December 30, 2010

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)

This Squidoo lens was awarded a Purple Star on April 22, 2010, what an honor! Learn more about the Purple Star Program by clicking on the link.

(photo credit: Lori Baltazar)

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.

(Photo credits: Miss Joey on Flickr / Awesome Planet )

Tablea Tsokolate

(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)

Taza Chocolate Mexicano Disc, 70% Dark Organic, Cacao Puro, 2.7 Ounce
Taza Chocolate Mexicano Disc, 70% Dark Organic, Cacao Puro, 2.7 Ounce

Taza Chocolate Yerba Mate Stone Ground and Organic Chocolate Discs. For eating or drinking. The recipe behind this disc comes from the streets of Oaxaca City, Mexico. Made using only Mexican stone mills, and containing only 2 ingredients (organic cane sugar, Organic Cacao beans). Gluten, soy and dairy free.


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)

Bene Casa Wooden Hand Mixer Molinillo 13 Inch
Bene Casa Wooden Hand Mixer Molinillo 13 Inch

This wooden hand mixer or molinillo is great for mixing ingredients and is traditionally used for making Mexican hot chocolate. This fun kitchen gadget is great to keep around the house and you'll find a number of different uses for it.


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 Ensaïmada 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.

Noli Me Tangere (Touch Me Not)
Noli Me Tangere (Touch Me Not)

In more than a century since its appearance, Jose Rizal's Noli Me Tangere has become widely known as the great novel of the Philippines. A passionate love story set against the ugly political backdrop of repression, torture, and murder, "The Noli," as it is called in the Philippines, was the first major artistic manifestation of Asian resistance to European colonialism, and Rizal became a guiding conscience and martyr for the revolution that would subsequently rise up in the Spanish province.


Thick and frothy Filipino Tsokolate. Care for a sip?

Thick and frothy Filipino Tsokolate. Care for a sip?
Thick and frothy Filipino Tsokolate. Care for a sip?

Your thoughts on this page are most welcome too.

Do you have a special hot chocolate recipe that's close to your heart? - Share your thoughts here!

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    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 2 years ago from Germany

      Oh my! I have not drink Sikwate for years. Thanks for reminding me this. Yummy!

    • jeiwalking profile image

      jeiwalking 4 years ago

      I love hot chocolate. This lens make me drool. LOL!

    • seleen fouad profile image

      seleen fouad 4 years ago

      I love chocolate drinking and eating thanx for the nice info

    • Charito1962 profile image

      Charito Maranan-Montecillo 4 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      This is one good lens! Mabuhay ka! - Ms. Charito from the Philippines

    • kcsantos profile image

      kcsantos 5 years ago

      This is perfect especially this holiday season!

    • Judith Nazarewicz profile image

      Judith Nazarewicz 5 years ago from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

      Mmmmmm looks so good! Love the lens!

    • aliciamaggie54 profile image

      aliciamaggie54 5 years ago

      Sounds good.

    • ionee251 profile image

      ionee251 5 years ago

      I just bought some Tablea Tsokolate last Saturday.. I always love it! Thank you for sharing.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      any source of tablea in Pampanga?

    • Wedding Mom profile image

      Wedding Mom 5 years ago

      Interesting lens. it looks rich and I am sure it's delicious.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Wow, I love it! You are inspiring!!! I just found your blog, I like it because i was seeking for such type of info.

      I hope it benefits all one who land up here.

      Thanks for sharing!!

    • HarrietC LM profile image

      HarrietC LM 6 years ago

      wow, sarap naman...yummy ^_^

    • profile image

      crstnblue 6 years ago

      Very nice lens!

      As special hot chocolate drink recipe - my favorite is with a drop of cinnamon and whipped cream

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Yep...In Cebu, one of the best sources of Tableya is in Argao.

      Your article makes me crave for Sikwate ;)

    • BLouw profile image

      Barbara Walton 6 years ago from France

      What an interesting and beautifully presented lens. Found it to add to my lens about chocolate. Let me know if you have any 'how to make a lens like mine' lenses - I'd love to know how to do it. Blessed.

    • profile image

      jimmyworldstar 6 years ago

      Sounds delicious! It's good to see the different takes on hot chocolate throughout the world. I normally eat cannolis for dessert but having that rice cake with some hot cocoa doesn't sound bad either.

    • heartycindypen profile image

      Hearty Cindy Penaranda 6 years ago from Ormoc City

      Wow, I love this... Im also a filipino and I love "tsokolate" though high in cholesterol...

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I would love a sip of your Filipino Tsokolate right now and your Sunman and Ensaimada are tempting treats to go with it,, deliciously done!

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 6 years ago from Canada

      Back to say I shared a link to your hot chocolate page on my Facebook page,

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 6 years ago from Canada

      Looks delicious and no, I don't have a special hot chocolate recipe.

    • profile image

      ivanpabz 6 years ago


    • rhodacks profile image

      rhodacks 6 years ago

      We used to have this every morning at my grandmother's house.

    • profile image

      blanckj 6 years ago

      Very unique. Thanks for sharing.

    • marckq profile image

      marckq 7 years ago


    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Ooh It just looks yummy. It would be the drink to have on a cold winter day. Great lens!

    • garyrh1 profile image

      garyrh1 7 years ago

      Ah wow. I haven't heard of these yet and I've been in the Philippines for a couple months now. Sounds great.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Refreshing Hot Chocolate.

      Blessed by Squid Angel.

    • zlipztream profile image

      zlipztream 7 years ago

      This lens just made me miss batirol even more. I think I'd ask my wife to make me some later.. Thanks for sharing this lens!

    • spider-girl profile image

      spider-girl 7 years ago

      Wow that looks yummy! I must try it :)

    • spider-girl profile image

      spider-girl 7 years ago

      Wow that looks yummy! I must try it :)

    • Sensitive Fern profile image

      Sensitive Fern 7 years ago

      My mouth is watering! I've seen some of those cocoa tablets in the grocery stores but didn't really know what they were. Now I do. Thanks!

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Looks wonderful! Really nice lens!

    • oztoo lm profile image

      oztoo lm 7 years ago

      Ooh I do love chocolate. I must ask my daughter in law about this tablea tsokalate. She's from Cebu. Now I've got to explore your other pages on Phillippine recipes.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      This is the Right Time of Year for this, actually its good all year long!!

    • LouieWrites profile image

      LouieWrites 7 years ago

      Great lens! I love chocolate =)

    • miriamjimenez profile image

      miriamjimenez 7 years ago

      love this, love this much!!! actually, that's what I have now while posting this comment. slurp, slurp...

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      You asked "Do you have a special hot chocolate recipe that's close to your heart?

      Well now I do...Thanks and very informative site!

    • jgall34 lm profile image

      jgall34 lm 7 years ago

      Wow that looks really good. I have a few favorite hot chocolate recipes and I will definitely need to try this one. thanks

    • Grasmere Sue profile image

      Sue Dixon 7 years ago from Grasmere, Cumbria, UK

      Mmmm this looks just gorgeous.

    • howdoyouspellst profile image

      howdoyouspellst 7 years ago

      That sounds delicious!! Yum yum yum, chocolate is great in any form.

    • SciTechEditorDave profile image

      David Gardner 7 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area, California

      Wow! Masarap! Magandang lens! I've liked, favorited, thumbs-upped, and lensrolled this beautiful lens to my lens on the Philippines! Congrats on a great job!

    • Faye Rutledge profile image

      Faye Rutledge 7 years ago from Concord VA

      Very interesting info and this sounds wonderful!

    • jp1978 profile image

      jp1978 7 years ago

      So that what sikulate e and a means! I love tsokolate! A Filipino breakfast wouldn't be complete without it. Add tuyo (dried fish), sinangag (fried rice), and suman... FTW!

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Hi! everyone I am a tablea lover in fact I sell it please visit our website at for more information. thanks

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Congratulations on your Purple Star. I love Tablea and my mouth started to water just reading this. Kablon Farms tablea is sold in one of the grocery stores of Phnom Penh, Cambodia so I will make myself your choco drink later.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Congratulations on your Purple Star. I love Tablea and my mouth started to water just reading this. Kablon Farms tablea is sold in one of the grocery stores of Phnom Penh, Cambodia so I will make myself your choco drink later.

    • lollyj lm profile image

      Laurel Johnson 8 years ago from Washington KS

      Yummmmm. What a delicious looking lens!! Would love a mugh of your hot chocolate right now.

      Congrats on your purple star.

    • WindyWintersHubs profile image

      WindyWintersHubs 8 years ago from Vancouver Island, BC

      Congratulations on your Purple Star! Your version of hot chocolate looks really tasty. :)

    • AuthorNormaBudden profile image

      AuthorNormaBudden 8 years ago

      Congrats again, Purple Squid. I'll add this to your feature later but, for now, I think you'll want to visit:

    • aka-rms profile image

      Robin S 8 years ago from USA

      Your Purple Star has been awarded by our Purple Star Queen of the week, luvmyludwig.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Tablea Tsokolate is the best! better try some.. you'll love it..

    • clouda9 lm profile image

      clouda9 lm 8 years ago

      This Filipino Hot Chocolate drink sounds ooh so yummy - could just smell it with the photos you have here. Had to add to my Beverage Chefmaster lens ;)

    • luvmyludwig lm profile image

      luvmyludwig lm 8 years ago

      This sounds fabulous!

    • profile image

      Kapalbility 8 years ago

      I just read this from Men's Health (Back Issue I've read from Bench Fix)! Chocolate Eh is concentrated -- like an espresso. Chocolate Ah is watered choco -- like a latte! One letter, big difference!

    • JoyfulPamela2 profile image

      JoyfulPamela2 8 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      Chocolate is the best food on earth! I could sure use a cup of hot chocolate right now. Yummm!

    • profile image

      Kapalbility 8 years ago

      Not really. But I just love choco tablets! We can get them at Pasig, after attending worship at The Feast, and I just love snacking on them on their own!

    • poptastic profile image

      Cynthia Arre 8 years ago from Quezon City

      Thank you Nicki, Lakshyaa, Carol, and Holley for stopping by! Your feedback means a lot to me. (:

    • Holley Web profile image

      Holley Web 8 years ago

      Oh my goodness! The chocoholic in me is having a nervous breakdown ;) Love it! I'll take the tsokolate eh in a BIG cup!

    • Stazjia profile image

      Carol Fisher 8 years ago from Warminster, Wiltshire, UK

      After reading this and looking at the pictures, I am now desperate for a cup of hot chocolate. Very good, lensrolled to my chocolate lenses.

    • lakshyaa profile image

      lakshyaa 8 years ago

      Wow...looks yummy :) I wish I could try it right now!

    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 8 years ago from UK

      Looks so wonderful, it's making me quite hungry! I wouldn't mind trying the food either - looks delicious.

    • poptastic profile image

      Cynthia Arre 8 years ago from Quezon City

      @jptanabe: Why thank you for dropping by Jennifer! (: it is pretty cold here tonight too (quite astonishing really as this is a tropical country) so a mug would be good but unfortunately I'm out of tablea. High on my to-do list is buying a pack of it tomorrow morning. (:

    • jptanabe profile image

      Jennifer P Tanabe 8 years ago from Red Hook, NY

      Mmm this Hot Chocolate does look delicious! It's cold enough today to put it high on my wish list. Thanks for sharing!

    • poptastic profile image

      Cynthia Arre 8 years ago from Quezon City

      @triathlontraini1: Thank you for visiting and for the nice comment about our country, and oh! What a shame that you didn't get to taste it. There's always next time. (:

    • triathlontraini1 profile image

      triathlontraini1 8 years ago

      I've been to the Philippines and have always loved their food and friendly people. I'd never heard of this before. It looks very tasty!!

    • poptastic profile image

      Cynthia Arre 8 years ago from Quezon City

      @anonymous: Oh wow thank you for the visit and the blessing, Bev! I hope you get a chance to try our hot chocolate someday. (:

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      I so love Hot Chocolate and the Filipino Hot Chocolate sounds wonderful. Sending Angel Blessings your way today.


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