This New Show On The Asian Food Network Highlights Philippine Cacao

The cacao is actually used in potions for its healing properties in Siquijor!

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Most Pinoys first encountered cacao through tableawhich is made with ground and roasted cacao that is molded into tablets or balls. Usually used in champorado (chocolate rice porridge), tablea is also used to make piping hot tsokolate, our version of the hot chocolate.

The Philippine episode of Asian Food Channel's new TV Show, Maximum Foodie, puts the spotlight on cacao and how it has become a unique Filipino ingredient. TV host Sashi De visits the Philippines and enlists the help of chef Chele Gonzalez and Rob Crisostomo, who works closely with cacao farmers in Davao. Together, they search for ancestral varieties of cacao such as the Criollo, a prized variety which you can still find in backyards in Davao and Siquijor.

"The cacao plant, the tree is definitely entrenched into the Philippines, the Filipino culture. It was spectacular to see little cafes where people just come in in the morning and have a hot chocolate drink and then go on their merry way. The takeaway is the rest of Asia is going to learn a lot about cacao from the Philippines in the very near future," shares Sashi De.

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In Siquijor, he shares that cacao is actually used in potions. "What really floored me was to learn how the ancestral variety, Criollo, is used by the shaman and faith healers found in Siquijor Island because their potions are meant to be extremely potent, they only work with this ancestral variety so to see Criollo naturally growing in healers' backyard was amazing enough but to learn that they actually use it in their actual potions for its healing properties was totally unbelievable."

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Sashi De, who is also a filmmaker, also visits Hong Kong, Bali, Vietnam and India for Maximum Foodie. "Each episode is a particular story about the culinary world," he adds.

Maximum Foodie premiered August 15, 10 p.m. on The Asian Food Network. Catch the Philippine episode on afn.com on August 26.

Asian Food Network is available on Sky Cable Channel 248, Cignal TV Channel 62, and Destiny Cable Channel 22.

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