It’s no big secret that most everyone loves chocolate, especially Filipinos. While our chocolate culture isn’t exactly endemic to us (historians say that it was the Spanish who brought chocolate to our shores from Mexico), that doesn’t mean that it isn’t deeply-rooted and crazy passionate.
Nothing encapsulates the history of Filipinos’ love of chocolate better than tsokolate tablea. To celebrate this wonderfully strong and sweet local treat, we’ve decided to let you in on a few things you like to know about it.
What is it exactly?
Tsokolate tablea, or just plain tablea to most Filipinos, can be literally translated to “chocolate tablets” in English, because that is exactly what it is. Dried local cocoa beans, most often from the province of Batangas, are roasted for a few hours before being ground to a rich, chocolate-y paste. The tablea itself is made by adding sugar (most often muscovado) to the paste and shaping it into balls or tablets, hence the name.
How do I use it?
Traditionally, tablea is used to make Filipino hot chocolate or tsokolate. Unlike most European-style hot chocolates, the Filipino version is much stronger because it uses the whole roasted cocoa bean and not just cocoa powder or processed couverture.
To make it, all you have to do is add 2-3 tablets of tsokolate to around 1 cup or 250 ml of boiling hot water. At this point, you can adjust how much tsokolate you add to the mix, depending on which brand of tsokolate you are using and how thick or strong you like your drink. To this thick mixture, you can add milk, sugar and even a little bit of salt. To make a really authentic drink, you can use a traditional tool called a batirol to add a bit of froth and body to the chocolate. If you don’t have access to a batirol, you can always just use a wooden spoon or a whisk.
Once you’ve dissolved your tablea in the water, you can actually use it in all manner of desserts aside from hot chocolate. You can make things such as cupcakes, brownies, tortes and even cakes! Try the recipes below if you’d like to give it a shot!
Images from industry.gov.ph