According to historical records, chocolate was introduced to the Philippines by the Spanish during the galleon trade from Mexico, about four centuries ago. In those times, chocolate or cacao was primarily consumed as a drink, and it was a staple morning beverage for the espanolas, mestizas, and the principalia of Intramuros. Chocolate tablets, known as tableas, were made by Chinese chocolateros to cater to the preferences of each family. These chocolateros would grind the chocolate in grinding stones, and sometimes imprint the family name or emblem on them. The resulting chocolate was cooked in chocolateras and whipped with a batidor to create foam. The chocolate could be served thick, known as tsokolate E for espeso, or thin, known as tsokolate A or Aguado. (Source: Tikim -Essays on Philippine Food and Culture by Doreen G. Fernandez)
Drinking Tsokolate Eh is part of my cherished childhood memories of Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Before I even knew of Swiss Miss and Nesquick, I was already enjoying the real deal – hot chocolate made from pure cacao or tablea. This hot chocolate is exceptionally rich and thick compared to American hot chocolate. My Ninang Aveling was the one who would prepare this for us; she would purchase the chocolate or cacao from the market and have it ground. She would also add ground peanuts, which gave it a distinct flavor and taste that I loved. Think of it as Reese’s peanut butter cups in liquid form.
Currently, there are several artisan chocolatiers in the Philippines, some of which have been recognized internationally for their high-quality chocolate products. For instance, Auro, which was introduced to me by my older sister, and Theo + Philo, a Filipino artisan brand that produces high-quality chocolates, spreads, and baking ingredients. Recently, my youngest sister gifted me with a pouch of Premium Unsweetened Chocolate disk made by Malagos, another Filipino brand based in Davao.
I have transformed these churros into a Filipino-style hot chocolate, and this is a revised recipe since I previously shared it a few years ago, which you can find here.
Here’s how to make it: Warm one cup of milk in a saucepan and add ten coarsely chopped pieces of Theo + Philo chocolate nibs and one disk of Malagos Premium Unsweetened Chocolate. I also added one tablespoon of smooth peanut butter. Keep stirring with a wire whisk until the chocolate has melted, and the mixture has heated through. Be careful not to let it boil.
Immediately pour into cups. This is enough to fill two small cups. You don’t need a big mug to enjoy this since it’s rich and thick.