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Thick & Rich Filipino Hot Chocolate (Tablea Tsokolate)


A traditional Filipino holiday drink.

Hot chocolate is definitely on everyone's comfort food list but for me and most Filipinos I presume, nothing is as comforting as a cup of our native hot Tsokolate (chocolate, sometimes called Tsokolate Eh or Tsokolate Ah), made from ground Tablea or Cacao Chocolate Discs/Tablets. Traditionally served on Christmas and New Years' Eves but is also available all year round, native hot chocolate is rich, thick, and oh-so-chocolatey as the Tablea are made from pure cacao nibs that are roasted, ground, and then mixed with a bit of sugar and sometimes even ground peanuts, depending on the region the Tablea came from.

Intrigued? Read on as I tell you more about this delicious drink.

(Photo credit: Burnt Lumpia)

This Squidoo lens was awarded a Purple Star on April 22, 2010, what an honor! Learn more about the Purple Star Program by clicking on the link.

(photo credit: Lori Baltazar)

Tablea is the Spanish word for tablet and Tsokolate is the Filipino word for chocolate so the direct translation for Tablea Tsokolate is Chocolate Tablet. The Philippines was under Spanish colonial rule for more than 300 years (1521-1899) and it was during this period that Filipinos learned to grow cacao trees and produce these tablets.

The Filipino tablea is made from locally grown cacao beans and comes in many forms - balls, thick flat discs (like in the above photo) or even in squares but the discs and balls are the most commonly found in our local groceries and gourmet establishments. Abroad, Tablea can be found in any Filipino specialty store.

Traditionally, native chocolate is made by heating and dissolving Tablea in hot water in a batirol or tsokolatera, a special cast-iron pitcher specially made for this purpose. The chocolate is then whisked by rubbing a batidor, a wooden utensil similar to the Spanish molinillo, in a circular motion between your palms to add froth and foam to the liquid. Keep mixing until a somewhat thick, grainy consistency is reached. Milk and sugar can be added as desired before serving.

Read the Filipino blog entries on Tablea Tsokolate below to learn more about this native delicacy.

(Photo credits: Miss Joey on Flickr / Awesome Planet )

Tablea Tsokolate

(Filipino Hot Chocolate)

Makes 1 serving

1-2 Tableas or discs (the more tablets you use, the richer the chocolate taste is)

1 cup hot water (or milk, if you want your chocolate creamier. Non-fat milk can be used too)

Combine the chocolate tablets and and hot water or milk in a bowl. Using a whisk or stick blender, dissolve the tablets in the liquid and mix until you reach your desired froth quality and consistency. Pour into a mug and enjoy with grilled ensaimada, a Filipino pastry (in the photo) or suman, a steamed sticky glutinous rice cake wrapped in banana leaves.

(Tsokolate & Ensaimada photo: Traveler On Foot)

Tablea Tsokolate is available in any grocery or supermarket in the Philippines but if you're in another country, it may be hard to come by unless there's a Filipino specialty store in your area. I've scoured Amazon for a close substitute and found this Mexican chocolate disc made of pure ground cacao that could taste similar to our native tsokolate, the Philippines and Mexico both having been under Spanish rule in the past.

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(Photo credit: Shoot First, Eat Later)

Cacao chocolate that you can use to make your hot drink.

Our native batidor is obviously our version of the molinillo, a traditional Mexican turned wood whisk. Its use is principally for the preparation of hot beverages such as hot chocolate, atole and champurrado (a chocolate sticky rice dish we have in the Philippines as well).

(Photo credit: Anggebarceona on Flickr)

Making hot chocolate using a batidor or molinillo - Watch this video to see the whisking motion used to make thick and frothy native hot chocolate.

If you prefer to use whisks, that's perfectly fine too!

The Ensaïmada is a pastry product that originated in Majorca in Spain. In the Philippines, the ensaimada is a brioche made with butter instead of lard. It is extremely popular throughout the islands especially during the Christmas season, when it is often eaten with tsokolate.

Ensaimadas come in different sizes but the most common are about the diameter of a regular doughnut. They are typically bought in bakeries, groceries, or specialty stores and are typically topped with cheese and a sprinkling of sugar. I've seen and eaten variants that are stuffed with ham slices, dotted with raisins, topped with native salted egg slices, or given additional flavoring like chocolate or purple yam but my favorite version is the plain, original ensaimada (as in the photo above) since this is how I knew it in my childhood.

If you would like to learn how to make this Filipino pastry, here is an Ensaimada Recipe.

(Photo credit: Jo's Deli)

Suman is a Filipino rice cake, made from glutinous rice cooked in coconut milk, and often steamed in banana or coconut leaves. It is often traditionally served during Noche Buena or Christmas Eve, but can be eaten year-round too.

The recipe for suman varies in every region of the Philippines. Some variants are cooked with coconut milk and salt; others are treated with lye. Most versions are served with a sprinkling of sugar, sometimes with grated-coconut, brown sugar, coconut jam, or drizzled with tsokolate like in the photo. It is best eaten with a cup of tsokolate and, if in season, slices of sweet Philippine mangoes.

The suman I'm familiar with is called Budbud Kabog because this is what my family serves every Christmas and on other special occasions. My family's housekeeper who's been with us for over 30 years makes it from scratch, the way she learned it in her province in Dumaguete, a city in the Visayan islands.

If you want to make it yourself, here is the recipe for Suman sa Ibus.

(Photo credit: Aebbey11 on Flickr)

Philippine recipe books - Learn to cook Filipino food.

The Philippines' National Hero Dr. Jose Rizal's revolutionary novel Noli Me Tangere, set in the Spanish colonial era, tells of a Franciscan priest who gave coded orders to his handmaids about the type of tsokolate to be served in gatherings. He instructed them to serve thick and rich tsokolate eh (espeso) only to privileged guests, while everyone else got the watered down version, tsokolate ah (aguado).

Fast forward to the future. Thick tsokolate eh is now available to everybody and is served typically along with native delicacies like suman or ensaimada as an accompanying drink or as a dipping sauce. A watered-down version can be made for those who would prefer to drink the hot chocolate straight up.

Thick and frothy Filipino Tsokolate. Care for a sip?

Thick and frothy Filipino Tsokolate. Care for a sip?

Thick and frothy Filipino Tsokolate. Care for a sip?

Your thoughts on this page are most welcome too.

Do you have a special hot chocolate recipe that's close to your heart? - Share your thoughts here!

Thelma Alberts from Germany on July 20, 2015:

Oh my! I have not drink Sikwate for years. Thanks for reminding me this. Yummy!

jeiwalking on May 15, 2014:

I love hot chocolate. This lens make me drool. LOL!

seleen fouad on December 26, 2013:

I love chocolate drinking and eating thanx for the nice info

Charito Maranan-Montecillo from Manila, Philippines on December 19, 2013:

This is one good lens! Mabuhay ka! - Ms. Charito from the Philippines

kcsantos on December 23, 2012:

This is perfect especially this holiday season!

Judith Nazarewicz from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada on November 08, 2012:

Mmmmmm looks so good! Love the lens!

aliciamaggie54 on September 21, 2012:

Sounds good.

ionee251 on September 10, 2012:

I just bought some Tablea Tsokolate last Saturday.. I always love it! Thank you for sharing.

anonymous on August 09, 2012:

any source of tablea in Pampanga?

Wedding Mom on June 04, 2012:

Interesting lens. it looks rich and I am sure it's delicious.

anonymous on May 31, 2012:

Wow, I love it! You are inspiring!!! I just found your blog, I like it because i was seeking for such type of info.

I hope it benefits all one who land up here.

Thanks for sharing!!

HarrietC LM on March 29, 2012:

wow, sarap naman...yummy ^_^

crstnblue on March 10, 2012:

Very nice lens!

As special hot chocolate drink recipe - my favorite is with a drop of cinnamon and whipped cream

anonymous on March 06, 2012:

Yep...In Cebu, one of the best sources of Tableya is in Argao.

Your article makes me crave for Sikwate ;)

Barbara Walton from France on January 17, 2012:

What an interesting and beautifully presented lens. Found it to add to my lens about chocolate. Let me know if you have any 'how to make a lens like mine' lenses - I'd love to know how to do it. Blessed.

jimmyworldstar on December 11, 2011:

Sounds delicious! It's good to see the different takes on hot chocolate throughout the world. I normally eat cannolis for dessert but having that rice cake with some hot cocoa doesn't sound bad either.

Hearty Cindy Penaranda from Ormoc City on November 28, 2011:

Wow, I love this... Im also a filipino and I love "tsokolate" though high in cholesterol...

anonymous on September 18, 2011:

I would love a sip of your Filipino Tsokolate right now and your Sunman and Ensaimada are tempting treats to go with it,, deliciously done!

Treasures By Brenda from Canada on September 14, 2011:

Back to say I shared a link to your hot chocolate page on my Facebook page,

Treasures By Brenda from Canada on September 14, 2011:

Looks delicious and no, I don't have a special hot chocolate recipe.

ivanpabz on August 15, 2011:


rhodacks on July 08, 2011:

We used to have this every morning at my grandmother's house.

blanckj on June 01, 2011:

Very unique. Thanks for sharing.

marckq on May 21, 2011:


anonymous on May 11, 2011:

Ooh It just looks yummy. It would be the drink to have on a cold winter day. Great lens!

garyrh1 on March 28, 2011:

Ah wow. I haven't heard of these yet and I've been in the Philippines for a couple months now. Sounds great.

anonymous on February 27, 2011:

Refreshing Hot Chocolate.

Blessed by Squid Angel.

zlipztream on January 11, 2011:

This lens just made me miss batirol even more. I think I'd ask my wife to make me some later.. Thanks for sharing this lens!

spider-girl on December 21, 2010:

Wow that looks yummy! I must try it :)

spider-girl on December 21, 2010:

Wow that looks yummy! I must try it :)

Sensitive Fern on November 26, 2010:

My mouth is watering! I've seen some of those cocoa tablets in the grocery stores but didn't really know what they were. Now I do. Thanks!

anonymous on November 26, 2010:

Looks wonderful! Really nice lens!

oztoo lm on November 24, 2010:

Ooh I do love chocolate. I must ask my daughter in law about this tablea tsokalate. She's from Cebu. Now I've got to explore your other pages on Phillippine recipes.

anonymous on November 23, 2010:

This is the Right Time of Year for this, actually its good all year long!!

LouieWrites on November 22, 2010:

Great lens! I love chocolate =)

miriamjimenez on November 21, 2010:

love this, love this much!!! actually, that's what I have now while posting this comment. slurp, slurp...

anonymous on November 15, 2010:

You asked "Do you have a special hot chocolate recipe that's close to your heart?

Well now I do...Thanks and very informative site!

jgall34 lm on November 11, 2010:

Wow that looks really good. I have a few favorite hot chocolate recipes and I will definitely need to try this one. thanks

Sue Dixon from Grasmere, Cumbria, UK on November 07, 2010:

Mmmm this looks just gorgeous.

howdoyouspellst on October 31, 2010:

That sounds delicious!! Yum yum yum, chocolate is great in any form.

David Gardner from San Francisco Bay Area, California on October 24, 2010:

Wow! Masarap! Magandang lens! I've liked, favorited, thumbs-upped, and lensrolled this beautiful lens to my lens on the Philippines! Congrats on a great job!

Faye Rutledge from Concord VA on October 21, 2010:

Very interesting info and this sounds wonderful!

jp1978 on October 13, 2010:

So that what sikulate e and a means! I love tsokolate! A Filipino breakfast wouldn't be complete without it. Add tuyo (dried fish), sinangag (fried rice), and suman... FTW!

anonymous on June 01, 2010:

Hi! everyone I am a tablea lover in fact I sell it please visit our website at for more information. thanks

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on April 27, 2010:

Congratulations on your Purple Star. I love Tablea and my mouth started to water just reading this. Kablon Farms tablea is sold in one of the grocery stores of Phnom Penh, Cambodia so I will make myself your choco drink later.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on April 27, 2010:

Congratulations on your Purple Star. I love Tablea and my mouth started to water just reading this. Kablon Farms tablea is sold in one of the grocery stores of Phnom Penh, Cambodia so I will make myself your choco drink later.

Laurel Johnson from Washington KS on April 27, 2010:

Yummmmm. What a delicious looking lens!! Would love a mugh of your hot chocolate right now.

Congrats on your purple star.

WindyWintersHubs from Vancouver Island, BC on April 24, 2010:

Congratulations on your Purple Star! Your version of hot chocolate looks really tasty. :)

AuthorNormaBudden on April 23, 2010:

Congrats again, Purple Squid. I'll add this to your feature later but, for now, I think you'll want to visit:

Robin S from USA on April 22, 2010:

Your Purple Star has been awarded by our Purple Star Queen of the week, luvmyludwig.

anonymous on February 25, 2010:

Tablea Tsokolate is the best! better try some.. you'll love it..

clouda9 lm on February 18, 2010:

This Filipino Hot Chocolate drink sounds ooh so yummy - could just smell it with the photos you have here. Had to add to my Beverage Chefmaster lens ;)

luvmyludwig lm on February 13, 2010:

This sounds fabulous!

Kapalbility on January 10, 2010:

I just read this from Men's Health (Back Issue I've read from Bench Fix)! Chocolate Eh is concentrated -- like an espresso. Chocolate Ah is watered choco -- like a latte! One letter, big difference!

JoyfulPamela2 from Pennsylvania, USA on January 08, 2010:

Chocolate is the best food on earth! I could sure use a cup of hot chocolate right now. Yummm!

Kapalbility on January 01, 2010:

Not really. But I just love choco tablets! We can get them at Pasig, after attending worship at The Feast, and I just love snacking on them on their own!

Cynthia Arre (author) from Quezon City on December 18, 2009:

Thank you Nicki, Lakshyaa, Carol, and Holley for stopping by! Your feedback means a lot to me. (:

Holley Web on December 09, 2009:

Oh my goodness! The chocoholic in me is having a nervous breakdown ;) Love it! I'll take the tsokolate eh in a BIG cup!

Carol Fisher from Warminster, Wiltshire, UK on December 08, 2009:

After reading this and looking at the pictures, I am now desperate for a cup of hot chocolate. Very good, lensrolled to my chocolate lenses.

lakshyaa on December 08, 2009:

Wow...looks yummy :) I wish I could try it right now!

Indigo Janson from UK on December 07, 2009:

Looks so wonderful, it's making me quite hungry! I wouldn't mind trying the food either - looks delicious.

Cynthia Arre (author) from Quezon City on December 07, 2009:

@jptanabe: Why thank you for dropping by Jennifer! (: it is pretty cold here tonight too (quite astonishing really as this is a tropical country) so a mug would be good but unfortunately I'm out of tablea. High on my to-do list is buying a pack of it tomorrow morning. (:

Jennifer P Tanabe from Red Hook, NY on December 07, 2009:

Mmm this Hot Chocolate does look delicious! It's cold enough today to put it high on my wish list. Thanks for sharing!

Cynthia Arre (author) from Quezon City on December 07, 2009:

@triathlontraini1: Thank you for visiting and for the nice comment about our country, and oh! What a shame that you didn't get to taste it. There's always next time. (:

triathlontraini1 on December 07, 2009:

I've been to the Philippines and have always loved their food and friendly people. I'd never heard of this before. It looks very tasty!!

Cynthia Arre (author) from Quezon City on December 07, 2009:

@anonymous: Oh wow thank you for the visit and the blessing, Bev! I hope you get a chance to try our hot chocolate someday. (:

anonymous on December 07, 2009:

I so love Hot Chocolate and the Filipino Hot Chocolate sounds wonderful. Sending Angel Blessings your way today.

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