My Tablea Experiment

by - February 23, 2018

Have any of you ever heard of tablea? Technically tablea is a Spanish word that means tablet, but in the Philippines it commonly refers to a type of thick hot chocolate. Tablea is usually bought in the form of thick, tablet-shaped disks that are made from cacao which are melted in boiling/hot water. I’ve heard that tablea from the Philippines is different from other countries because ours is prepared using the whole roasted cocoa bean and not just the powder. 

I first had a taste of tablea during a trip to Taal, Batangas and I have had a craving for the chocolate since then. Lucky for me I was gifted some tablea from Butuan City and was able to travel to Iloilo where I also bought some tablea along with the traditional batirol that is used to prepare tablea. It was time for me to experiment on preparing tablea!

One interesting thing to note is that depending on where you bought the tablea, there is a different recommended measurement of tablea/disks to cups of water. The tablea from Butuan recommends 3 disks per cup of water. The one from Iloilo recommends 1 disk per cup. Preparation is also slightly different. The Butuan variant recommends the use of boiling water to melt the tablea while the Iloilo one recommends preparing it over fire with boiling water.  

I tried both methods. The first one I tried was the tablea from Iloilo. I used the batirol to mix the chocolate along with some evaporated milk. It was a bit difficult to use the batirol when it was on the stove because I felt like my arms were going to burn from the heat. The place where I got the batirol from in Iloilo recommended an hour of whisking with the batirol, which I couldn’t do because of the heat. We ended up with chocolate that was not as thick as expected, but it was still very good. I didn’t bother putting sugar into the batirol and just let whoever wanted to add sugar to add it on his/her own cup because I felt that the true taste of the chocolate would be overshadowed by too much sugar. 

With the Butuan tablea, I melted three disks per cup of boiling water and whisked it with the batirol. It was also difficult to do because the tablea took too long to melt since it was not on the stove. It was also not as thick as I expected it to be. I’d have to figure out how to make it thicker soon (hopefully without having to work too much on the batirol because it was such a challenge!). I think the Butuan variant was much stronger compared to the one from Iloilo. At some point it tasted a bit like coffee. My mother seemed to like it but I think I like the Iloilo version better. 

According to some of the websites I’ve visited that discussed tablea preparation, you don’t need the batirol to prepare this. You can use a whisk or a wooden spoon to melt and mix the chocolate in boiling water and have the same end result. Still, I prefer the old-fashioned way. I think there’s an appeal to it being prepared that way. Plus, I love that the batirol keeps the chocolate warm for a very long time compared to other pitchers. You could chat for a long time and still have hot chocolate to share using that. 

Have any of you tried Filipino tablea yet? Try it, you just might like it! 

You May Also Like