Saturday, December 17, 2011

Tsokolate (Filipino Hot Chocolate) 101

Filipinos look forward to Noche Buena, the night-before-Christmas dinner feast when families get together, take pictures (for Facebook, haha) and eat, eat and eat again. Little kids run back and forth to their moms pleading, "Now? Can we open our gifts now?!" while the adults arrange toasts and eat some more. It's pretty much like thanksgiving dinner; the only difference is that Noche Buena is  a dinner after dinner that's held usually close to midnight or after the 9 p.m. Christmas mass.

When our Kulinarya group decided that this month's theme is to share a Noche Buena recipe, a plethora of traditional recipes came parading in my mind. Ham? Well, my father-in-law usually prepares that, and I haven't even made my own homemade recipe yet. Chicken barbeque? I've shared my recipe for chicken barbeque already. The same goes for Sotanghon. I wanted to share something very special to me, like my late father's stuffed chicken but then I remembered that's what I shared on last year's Kulinarya post...  then I thought of sharing with you a holiday drink associated with Christmas which is tsokolate (rich and thick hot chocolate).

Tsokolate eh (cho-koh- lah-teh - eh) or tsokolate-ah (cho-koh-lah-teh-ah) sound like tongue twisters but they are actually two types of a hot chocolate drink in the Philippines.  The former is thicker and richer in texture, while the latter is watered down.  It's usually served in a cupita like the ones shown below. 

This hot chocolate drink is made of cacao balls, which are readily available in local markets in the Philippines.  Imagine my delight when I found a jar filled with cacao balls from my hometown in my  brother in law's pantry in Orlando. Benedict also had different sets of cupitas and batidor (wooden stirrer) to boot. It brought me back to my hot chocolate sipping days with these tiny cups!  But until now I don't know why these cups are so small .  You bet, a cupita is not enough for me haha.

To get an authentic texture, we need a batidor, which is used to make foam and froth.

For this holiday drink, we need 3 cups of milk. Then add cacao balls (normally 5-6 balls depending on whether  you want to make tsokolate-eh or tsokolate-ah). add sugar to taste.  Use the batidor by twirling  it between your hands like so...

Since it's Christmas (who would be thinking of calories and diet at this time of the year, right?) I will be serving my rich chocolate drink not in cupitas but in my Christmas cups... and to add a holiday twist, add whipped cream and cinnamon.  Stir and indulge!

 Maligayang Pasko (Merry Christmas!)


  1. Malou,
    Seriously I want a mug of that not a cupita. Where can I buy that over here. WIll you be kind enough to mail me those cacao balls?


    1. Folks with access to Filipino communities abroad will often find either Filipino or Asian markets that have a wide variety of Philippine imported ingredients. If you can not find the balls you should be able to find "tableta" which is the same thing in wafer/coin shaped forms. They are sold stacked and look like little batons. Different regions of the Philippines use different shapes so with sugar - some without.

  2. Merry Christmas to you too. Thanks for sharing all your recipes.

  3. Oh my! I want a cupita of that hot chocolate too... Love to have that on Christmas morning with suman sa ibos..
    Happy holidays Malou!

  4. I saw this on twitter and i want one now. I'm freezing here and I need a hot cup right now.

  5. This is actually the first time I have seen Cacao Balls. I do love Hot Chocolate Filipino Style. I hope you have a fantastic Christmas with your family Malou.

  6. Jenny. It will be on its way on Monday... promise.

    Mahal maaraming salamat.

    Marge: definitrly it goes well with kakanins. Thanks for stopping by.
    Lollian: would love to share the hot choco love with you why not haha.

    Kath: hello there... glad to have shared with you chocolate Pinoy style.

  7. probably the most comforting hot chocolate drinks for a Filipino .... so rich and nostalgic ... sip with your eyes closed ... :)

  8. I know it's Christmas when my children ask if it's time to make chocolate yet. It is just one of those things that doesn't taste the same if it's not Christmas. Lovely cacao balls. That tsokolate must taste so delicious. I was given some tabliya as a present and was very disappointed with the taste.

  9. This sounds really beautiful, and rich:-) So where could we find a batidor here in the states, or can we? I have never worked with cacao, but have a funny feeling my hubby would love it:-) Beautiful! Hugs, Terra

  10. Felix: definitely takes you back in time... closing your eyes? yes i do that too hehe

    Adora: I'm glad that our kids love it as much as we do. That makes our stash of cacao balls very precious... we only have it when everyone is in town.

    Terra: You could actually use a whisk. Honestly i don't have a batidor myself. The one in the picture is my brother in law's, so I used a whisk myself and it worked. The cacao balls are available in some Asian/Filipino stores. I'm not sure if it's available in your area though. Thanks for stopping by.

  11. Filipino hot chocolate is unlike any other. Do you have a source for cocoa balls/disks that don't have a lot of sugar in them? I'm diabetic and have to watch sugars and carbs. Merry Christmas!

  12. This traditional meal sounds like so much fun! I will have to keep my eyes open for cacao balls. It looks so good- love your additions.

  13. I love Tsokolate and your photos of those chocolate balls + the batidor make it so inviting! So many memories came to mind just now after reading your post. Thanks for sharing, Malou!

  14. Louie: Thanks for stopping by, The cacao balls that i used were unsweetened. They are from my hometown tho. I don't know if Seafood City in CA carries it.

    homestyleworldcook: thank you and lovely to see you here.

    betty ann: im glad i did spark some memories, it's magical isn't it?

  15. Sounds like Filipino Christmas has lots of fun with this delicious hot chocolate and dinner after dinner! The tool you use for the drink is amazing. Without using electricity you can make very nice foam! Cacao balls are amazing invention!

  16. I won't ever be satisfied with regular hot chocolate again after seeing this!

  17. Nami: They say that the Philippines celebrates Christmas the longest... we start celebrating as soon as the BER months (septemBER, octoBER, etc) come

    Joanne: I wish you will experience the rich and thick and when i say thick it's really THICK texture. it's the best!

  18. The cinnamon and the whipped cream for sure gives out a nice take on the hot chocolate!

  19. Tabliya is what we call those cacao balls in Batangas. My grandfather never ran out of those and he used to make hot tabliya drink for me and my cousins whenever we spend Christmas vacation at his place.

    Your delicious Tsokolate brought back wonderful memories of Christmases I spent with my grandparents, and I want to thank you for that!

    Merry Christmas to you and your family, Malou! :-*

  20. Tsokolate, for me, is THE highlight of Noche Buena!! I have cups and cups (or rather cupitas and cupitas) of it. One restaurant/bakery here in Manila called Mary Grace has a fabulous, ultra-rich and thick version that is wonderful for dipping ensaimada in.

    A note to Terra about where to find a batidor - try a Mexican grocery, where it is known as a 'molinillo'. It's a little longer than the Filipino implement but does exactly the same thing! 8-)

  21. Tsokolate is perfect for cold Noche Buena dinner right after the midnight mass. Thank you for sharing this treat.

    ~ ray ~


Thank you for stopping by and oh I would be thrilled even more if you could leave a comment... :) Cheers!

Share this thru:


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...