Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Native Chocolate

According to the history, Spain colonized Philippines for more than 300 years. The cacao beans was brought by the Spaniards for the Filipinos to plant it in order for them to have source of hot chocolate drink for they were enamored with the novel taste of chocolate. In the Philippines, some of people engaged in making native chocolate as source of livelihood for it is best for offering and gifts.The tropical cacao tree grows best in a shady and humid climate. A cacao trees produced flowers and fruit the whole year round. It’s fruit, grows directly from the trunk and lower branches. The fruit color ready for harvest is yellow orange. Melonlike pods are split open to reveal between 20 to 50 beans embedded in a white bittersweet pulp. In our locality, makers of native chocolate usually remove the white bittersweet pulp from the beans by chewing (same method in eating santol fruit) and leave the beans for drying, spreading them out in the hot sun. After it is fully dried, the beans are cleaned and sorted, it is place in large frying pan (local term: “ Karahay”), mixed with granulated brown sugar (muscovado) just like the way coffee beans are roasted to bring out its best flavor. After that, they let it dry, and mold it by 1 X 1 inch in diameter, circular shape tablets, and after that wrap it in a bond paper. One roll contains 5 tablets. After that, native chocolate is used for making hot chocolate drink. At home, we boil the native chocolate with water, with a proportion of 1 roll is to 2 cups of water for about 10 minutes for best result.