Bitter journey of a sweet choco tablea

One of many Filipino comfort foods is chocolate. A chocolate that was once a seed, gently and laboriously transformed into a tablea.

Did you know that among the top makers of tablea or cacao chocolate can be found in Donsol, Sorsogon?

It was made by Coolen Mendiola and she learned this sweet cacao recipe from her mother.

“Ginagawa ko po [kung ano] yung tinuro sa’kin ni mama. Tradisyonal po ang paraan, yung makaluma, wala akong binago (kaya kakaiba) ang lasa,” Mendiola said.

Her mother started the business in 1980s, but eventually stopped due to cataract. After mastering the process, she decided to relaunch the business in 2019.

𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗽𝗿𝗼𝗰𝗲𝘀𝘀

The traditional method of making chocolate out of a cacao seed is can be achieved by carefully roasting the dried seed for 2 hours until it turned brown and developed a brittle outer coating that brings out the cacao’s natural flavor.

Using a mortar and pestle to smash down the components, the seeds will undergone a sieving process in an electric grinder to make the texture more refine.

To acquire that sweet flavor, carefully add sugar to the mixture with a 1:1 ratio.

The amount of sugar added will also determine the level of sweetness of the tablea.

After combining the sugar and chocolate, the mixture is sieved once more in an electrical mill before forming in an iron mold.

Once dried, the chocolate is now ready to be packed and labeled.

𝗕𝗶𝘁𝘁𝗲𝗿-𝘀𝘄𝗲𝗲𝘁 𝗷𝗼𝘂𝗿𝗻𝗲𝘆

The bitter journey of Mendiola as a single mother was made sweeter by the choco tablea she make.

While working in the municipality, she’s selling tablea as her side husstle which helped her to gain extra income and finance the education of her two daughters.

Mendiola was also quite appreciative of the tablea for giving her the ability to manage everything on her own.

She understand how important it is to impart this culture of work to the next generation that’s why she made sure that her daughters also learn how to create the product.

The closeness of her family ultimately taught Mendiola that no matter how many challenges are thrown to you, there is still sweetness at the end of the bitter journey.

Just like the sweet choco tablea she make, this painful path eventually amounts into a sweet result.

The product’s world-class quality and flavor is also offered on her Facebook account and can be shipped internationally. | Aaron John Baluis

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