My sister always accuses me of being a hoarder. Not the kind that appears on some reality TV show, needing intervention, no. But yeah, I must admit that I do hoard things. A lot. In the spirit of turning over a new leaf, I decided to clear out my cupboards and discovered that I had stockpiled, not only 1, not only 2, but 8 rolls of tablea!!!
What is tablea?
Tablea is a Spanish word that means tablet. For Filipinos, tablea simply equates to chocolate tablet. Tablea is made from roasted local cacao beans that were grounded to form a chocolate paste. The resulting paste is then molded into tablets.
Since I had a veritable pile of tablea rolls on hand, my hands were really itching to use them. I flipped through my notebook (where I write my recipe ideas) and finally settled on making the easiest and most common recipe for tablea: tablea tsokolate.
Tablea tsokolate is the ultimate Filipino hot chocolate. Another term for it is tsokolate de batirol (batirol or batidor being the local term for the molinillo, a wooden whisk or frother). Aside from its rich chocolatey taste, authentic tsokolate is also characteristically frothy.
Like any average Filipino, I didn’t have any batirol lying around in the house so I made do with the cheap milk frother that I got for only $2. It worked wonders on the tsokolate, so much so that my kitchen walls have now become an avant-garde art piece of brown splatter. 10/10 for both art and function. ?
Tsokolate Eh, Tsokolate Ah
Did you know that the tsokolate was featured in Jose Rizal’s masterpiece, Noli Me Tangere? Rizal cleverly used the tsokolate as a subtle way to drive his point (social injustice) home. Drinking tsokolate was an important marker of a person’s social or political clout; the tsokolate‘s thickness increases in proportion to your relative importance.
In the bad old days of colonialism, tsokolate eh (for espeso, rich and thick) was served to the elites of society, aka the colonizers and their ilk. The masses only got the watered down version, tsokolate ah (for aguado, thin and watery).
Whether it is eh or ah, tablea tsokolate is traditionally made with tablea, milk or water, and a bit of sugar. If you want to kick it up a notch, try topping it with some whipped cream, cacao powder, chocolate syrup, or even broken pieces of tablea.
Ready to make that perfect cup of hot tablea tsokolate?Print
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