According to history, the Spanish brought chocolate to the Philippines four centuries ago through the galleon trade from Mexico. Chocolate or cacao was primarily served and prepared as a drink then. It was said that the espanolas, mestizas and the principalia of Intramuros need their cup of chocolate to start their day. Tableas (chocolate tablets) are prepared by Chinese “chocolateros” according to taste of each family. They would go from house to house with their grinding stones and they would at times imprint the family name or emblem on them. These would then be cooked in chocolateras and a batidor will be used to create froth. It can either be served thick – tsokolate E for espeso or thin tsokolate A or aguado. (Source: Tikim -Essays on Philippine Food and Culture by Doreen G. Fernandez)
Drinking Tsokolate Eh is part of my Christmas and New Year’s eve childhood memories. Before I was ever introduced to Swiss Miss and Nesquick I was already getting the real deal. Hot chocolate from pure cacao or tablea. This is very rich and thick compared to the American hot chocolate. My Ninang Aveling is the one who prepares this for us, she will buy the chocolate or cacao from the market and have them ground. She also adds ground peanuts to it and this gives it it’s distinct flavor and taste I just love. Just think Reeese’s peanut butter cups in liquid form.
My sister sent me chocolate tablea just before Christmas and this I made into Tsokolate Eh for Christmas morning brunch.
To make, place 1 1/2 to 2 cups (Amount of water depends on how thick you want your hot chocolate to be) water in a small pot and let it come to a boil. Then add 5-6 tablea chocolate and let this melt. Instead of adding sugar I used sweetened condensed milk (Sweeten to taste). Cook over low heat while stirring constantly until heated through. Add about 2 tbsp. creamy natural peanut butter and stir until dissolved. Transfer your hot chocolate into a small pot and use a batirol to achieve the desired consistency, this would also create the froth that you need. Pour into small cups and add milk if you want.