In the Philippines, where vibrant culture and culinary heritage intertwine, a cherished tradition warms hearts and brings families closer during the festive season. Christmas is a time of joy, togetherness, and celebration, and one of the most beloved and aromatic customs is the preparation and consumption of tablea hot chocolate. This centuries-old tradition not only indulges the taste buds but also carries with it a sense of history and community that makes it truly special.
Tablea, a Spanish term meaning "tablet" or "tablet-shaped," refers to small discs of pure cacao made from locally grown cacao beans that have been roasted, ground, and moulded into convenient shapes. This tradition dates back to the Spanish colonial era in the Philippines, where cacao cultivation was introduced by the Spanish colonizers. Over the centuries, Filipinos have lovingly embraced and transformed this ingredient into a unique and heartwarming beverage that is an integral part of the Christmas celebrations.
Hot Chocolate, the Heart of Christmas:
During the Christmas season, tablea hot chocolate takes center stage on Filipino tables, evoking a sense of comfort and nostalgia. The process of making this delectable drink involves dissolving a piece of tablea in hot water or milk, and then vigorously stirring the mixture until it transforms into a velvety, thick concoction. The rich aroma fills the air as families gather around to bond, reminisce, and create lasting memories. It is not just a beverage; it's a testament to the enduring traditions that unite generations.
What makes tablea so special?
Purity and Authenticity: Unlike mass-produced cocoa powder, tablea is a product of artisanal craftsmanship. Its purity and authenticity resonate with those seeking a genuine culinary experience, free from additives and artificial flavours. It is made of 100% cacao mass, which means it doesn't contain any extra preservatives or compounds.
Sensory Delight: The process of transforming tablea into hot chocolate is a multisensory experience. It's beautifully strong aroma, the sound of stirring, and the visual transformation all contribute to a sensory delight that elevates the act of consuming food into a meaningful ritual. For many, it is the smell of Christmas mornings.
Connection to Heritage: Tablea is a link to the past, connecting modern Filipinos to their ancestors. It's a way of honouring and preserving a cultural heritage that has withstood the test of time. For many, it is an integral part of memories with their mothers and grandmothers, as they prepared their food for Noche Buena (Christmas Eve celebrations).
As the Christmas season approaches, the tradition of tablea hot chocolate offers a heartwarming way to connect with the past, celebrate the present, and create lasting memories for the future. This cherished Filipino tradition is more than just a beverage; it's a sensory journey, a cultural treasure, and a symbol of the warmth and togetherness that define the holiday season. So, as the weather turns cooler and the holiday spirit fills the air, take a moment to savour the rich and timeless delight of tablea hot chocolate, and let it remind you of the beauty and significance of preserving cherished traditions.
For all those in the European Union, you can purchase your Auro Chocolate 100% Tablea here at Kape de Filipina.