Lately, I have been reminiscing the summers spent at Tagum with my Lola Mommy (Papa’s mother). As soon as the school is over I commute via public bus and travel for 1 hour and 30 minutes to Tagum, Davao del Norte.
I have this vague memory of walking under cacao trees at our ancestral home looking for ripe cacao fruit. Once I spotted one and get a confirmation from Lola that I did find the right one, we would break it open and enjoy it’s fresh white meat. “Oh wag mo itapon yung buto” (Don’t throw the seeds) Lola would remind me. I was tasked to gather, wash and dry the seeds under the sun making sure that birds won’t steal them away. Once the seeds are dried, Lola would roast and grind it before she makes tsokolate or sikwate. The house would smell amazing.
We would always enjoy our tsokolate with Tagum biko – a rice cake with a sweet glaze on top. The biko we get from Tagum is like no other, I have sacrificed luggage space to bring some back here in Dubai. Another story to tell…
I have been looking for a tablea that would measure up to what Lola use to make me, tried several brands sold on groceries back in the Philippines but many of what I tried did not taste good. Mama recently discovered a chocolate brand from my hometown called Cacao de Davao. The packaging says they only use the finest cacao beans that are harvested and sundried from Davao.
Tsokolate drink is traditionally prepared on a pot over medium fire and stirred using a batirol to make it frothy. Alternatively you can boil milk or water on a pot then add shaved tablea so it easily melts.
Tsokolate or Sikwate
- 1 cup water or 1/2 cup water mix with 1/2 cup milk
- 2 tablea
- brown sugar to taste
- Boil water or milk on a pot.
- Once liquid is boiling drop 2 chocolate tablea. Add more tablea if you want a richer chocolate taste.
- Add sugar to the sweetness you like. Enjoy with your favorite kakanin.