How to make: Tsokolateng tablea (Filipino hot chocolate drink)

How to make: Tsokolateng tablea (Filipino hot chocolate drink) | casaveneracion.com

It’s so funny that when you Google “tablea,” most of the Filipino websites that appear in the search results pages say that tsokolateng tablea translates to “cacao chocolate.” Huh? Chocolate is made from cacao so “cacao chocolate” is redundant. Tablea refers to blocks of cacao which, in Filipino cuisine, are heated with milk to make a hot chocolate drink. My grandparents used to serve this hot drink on Christmas Eve. My mother-in-law introduced me to the Antonio Pueo brand of tablea.

What’s the difference between tablea and the more modern chocolate drink mixes that proliferate? If you’ve tried both, you’d know the difference in taste and in texture. It’s the memory of those hot chocolate drinks made from tableas during my childhood that is probably the reason why I could never appreciate powdered chocolate mixes. I’m more likely to drop dark chocolate bars into a cup of hot milk or coffee than tear open a packet of powdered chocolate mix.

It’s the fat content that makes the difference. When cacao is processed into cocoa powder, most of the cocoa butter is lost. What cocoa powder has lost is retained in the tablea. The term tablea itself appears to have been brought over by the Spaniards, probably a diminituve of tabla or “plank” — small plank, in other words, which illustrates something solid in contradisctinction with cocoa powder.

But why all this talk about tablea which is traditionally associated with Christmas? Well, it doesn’t have to be Christmas to enjoy a rich cup of hot chocolate. Who needs an occasion for that?

casaveneracion.com Tsokolateng tablea (Filipino hot chocolate drink)

My friend and fellow lawyer, Eric, came over to the house recently and gave me a tube of Lola Consuelo’s tsokolateng tablea. My grandmother was named Consuelo but she’s not the Lola Consuelo whose heirloom recipe became the tableas in the tube that Eric gave me. I made a cup of chocolate drink with them and it was heavenly.

If you’re a tablea fan and you’ve tried different brands, you’d know that there are counterfeit tableas in the market that taste like old cardboard. Lola Consuelo’s tsokolateng tablea is the real deal. That’s why the contact numbers of the manufacturer are clearly visible in the photo above. Lola Consuelo’s tsokolateng tablea is one brand I am happy to recommend. There’s a blog that says the makers Lola Consuelo’s tsokolateng tablea participated in Eastwood Mall’s weekend gourmet market back in November. Perhaps, they are still there.

casaveneracion.com Tsokolateng tablea (Filipino hot chocolate drink)

So, did I use the traditional batidor to make my hot chocolate drink? When have I ever been traditional? I don’t even own a batidor. Here’s my ultra modern way of making a cup of hot chocolate drink with tableas.

Ingredients

  • about a cup of milk
    tsokolate tablea (how much depends on how rich you want your chocolate drink)

Instructions

  1. Pour milk into a cup (or mug, if you want a large serving). Drop the tableas into the milk. I don’t know the exact proportions, a lot depends on how strong you want your drink and the quality of the tableas, but for the cup you see in the photo (capacity is about three-fourths of a standard measuring cup), I added four tableas. Heat on HIGH in the microwave for a minute. Use a teaspoon to stir the drink and to crush whatever large chunks there are. And that’s it. Enjoy your drink. I surely enjoyed mine.

Cooking time (duration): 5

Number of servings (yield): 1 minute

Meal type: breakfast / snack

Comments

  1. nina says

    hi ms. Connie! Our family also has the christmas and new year’s eve tradition of having tsokolate with our noche buena/ media noche fares. My mom, with the help of our Manang, makes our own tableas. Now, i’m overseas and i only have ones from the supermarket… They do taste different from the ones from Manang.
    I have a lot of tableas stored and i want to experiment on using these for recipes other than for a drink. Have you used it on any other way?

  2. says

    I must try this brand!

    What I do is boil 2 cups of water, drop 2 to 3 tableas, stir, when it boils again, I put 1 beaten egg while stirring. Then voila! I alternate this with my usual oats for breakfast. :)

  3. jane says

    hi connie,

    cacao tablea is the best!! My grandfather make it from scratch. like from cacao seeds and grind it a lot of times to make a “tsokolate”- they called it.
    i agree with apple, we do that too. putting beaten eggs after it boils and condensed milk to make it sweet. yummy!

    My mom also used it to make “champorado” oats or rice.=)

    i dont like the one they’re selling in groceries, it doesnt taste good at all. ganun siguro once nakasanayan mo ang pure cacao.

    • mary jean gonzalez bondoc says

      hi Ms. Connie,

      yes, hot chocolate drink from cacao tablea reminds me soooo much of my father. He used to make this during new year’s eve while we’re waiting for the traditional putukan, and he used batidor!

      got to try this myself now that he’s no longer around, thanks for the post since i don’t have “batidor” either need to do some innovation.

      thanks ;D

      • Perla says

        Hi Mary Jean,

        I use the blender. I boil a large cup of water and drop 2 tableas made locally from our town. After that, I use the ‘magic bullet’ blender and add 2 tablespoons of condensed milk. This is perfect with pandesal and cheese.

        Perla

        • mary jean gonzalez bondoc says

          @Perla,

          hello there!
          thanks so much for the suggestion, i will try that soon as i find tableas here in cabanatuan….

          can’t wait indeed ;D

          • chi says

            Hi Connie,

            I’m trying to catch up – it’s been a while since I perused your blog! I’m actually in the PI as we speak and have been here for some time. It’s actually almost time for me to go back – boo hoo.

            Anyway, I LOVE tableas and have tried several brands. My grandma used to make them from scratch, read starting with roasting the cacao! Then the cacao would be stone ground – we had a little wheel used only for this purpose. Then a little sugar was added and the mixture pressed into this cartridge type tool which was squeezed to produce tableas. The smell of the roasting cacao was pure heaven! The only hot chocolate I’ve ever had that comes even close to hers, was in Madrid – con churros – omg, I was addicted.

            Like you, I had no idea what a batidor was. My grandma never used one. However, I bought a bunch in Mexico without realizing what they were – lol! So I have a bunch of virgin batidors somewhere in the house.

            Long story short, I have been using Pueo in the gold wrapper which I find still too sweet for my taste so I bitter it down with unsweetened cocoa. And just like you, I do mine in the microwave. Although I am a traditionalist by nature, I’m not a stupid and stubborn one so I will make use of technology when it applies and when the end result is the same. The m/w and I are one!

  4. ricgurl says

    Hi Ms. Connie, here in the province tablea tsokolate is called sikwate & is always served in the early mornings paired with puto maya…yum!