Switzerland has its chocolate confections, France has its pain au chocolate and Germany has its world-famous chocolate cake — but the Philippines has its own share of chocolate treats. Celebrate World Chocolate Day by treating your taste buds to one (or all) of these local favorites.
These tablets, balls or discs are made of roasted and ground nibs of cacao beans and typically used for our local hot chocolate. The beverage is traditionally prepared by whisking the tablea with water and milk using a batirol or batidor.
If you were paying attention in high school, you’d know that there are two types of hot chocolate (at least, according to Noli Me Tangere): tsokolate eh, which is a thicker, richer drink, and tsokolate ah, a watered-down version served to less important guests. A bit passive-aggressive, if you ask us — but we’ll happily take any cup of hot chocolate, especially when paired with ensaymada!
The Filipino sticky rice porridge is a decadent way to start the day or makes for a filling afternoon snack. Made with malagkit (glutinous rice), cocoa powder or tablea, sugar and condensed or evaporated milk, champorado is said to have come to our shores during the galleon trade and is a riff on the Mexican champurrado (a chocolate beverage made with corn flour). It’s usually eaten with some dried fish for that unbeatable — and some would say weird — sweet-salty combination.
There’s been a change in ownership and similar products have emerged over the years, but the original Choc Nut brand‚ with its striped wrapper enveloping a foil casing — is truly iconic. This teeny chocolate bar is made mainly of cocoa powder, peanuts and sugar, resulting in a distinctive flavor and a crumbly texture that’s akin to polvoron. It’s so well-loved that it’s been turned into an ice cream flavor and added to cookies, cakes and even drinks.
In recent years, the Philippines has been making a name for itself in the international chocolate scene, with an award-winning brand from Davao as well as a growing artisanal chocolate industry. From premium bars and truffles [pictured above, Risa Chocolates] to spicy dark chocolate from South Cotabato, there are plenty of delicious homegrown options to satisfy your sweet tooth. (You can read about some of our favorites here.)