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Bohol Tablea – A Taste of Bohol

When you think of Bohol, images of beautiful beaches, the Chocolate Hills, and tarsiers might come to mind. However, there’s another gem from this island province that you shouldn’t miss, Bohol Tablea. This local delicacy, made from pure cacao beans, is a testament to Bohol’s rich culinary heritage. Whether enjoyed as a warm drink or used in cooking, Bohol Tablea offers a unique and delightful taste of the island’s culture. In 2019, Bohol Tablea was celebrated as a top local product.

hot dark chocolate, also known as tablea, in a cup with a spoon on the side and other ball shaped sweets

History and Cultural Significance

Historical Background

The history of Bohol Tablea dates back to the Spanish colonial period when cacao plants were introduced to the Philippines. Over time, the local farmers perfected the art of making tablea, which are pure cacao tablets used for making traditional hot chocolate. The process of creating these tablets has been passed down through generations, preserving the authentic flavor that Bohol is known for. The tablea industry in Bohol has grown significantly, with many local stores and online shops offering this traditional product.

Cultural Importance

Bohol Tablea holds a special place in the hearts of the locals. It’s not just a food item,¬†it’s a part of their cultural identity. Traditionally, tablea is used to make a hot chocolate drink called “sikwate,” often enjoyed during special occasions and family gatherings. The preparation and sharing of sikwate is a cherished tradition that brings families and communities together, reflecting the warm and hospitable nature of Boholanos. When you visit Bohol, experiencing sikwate is a must.

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Ingredients and Preparation Methods

Key Ingredients

  • Cacao beans from Bohol
  • Water
  • Sugar (optional)
  • Milk (optional)

Preparation Process

  1. Harvesting: Ripe cacao pods are harvested from the tree and the beans are extracted.
  2. Fermenting and Drying: The beans are fermented for several days and then sun-dried to develop their rich flavor.
  3. Roasting: The dried beans are roasted to enhance their taste.
  4. Grinding: The roasted beans are ground into a thick paste.
  5. Molding: The paste is molded into small, round tablets known as tablea.
  6. Enjoying: To make sikwate, dissolve a tablea in hot water, and add sugar and milk to taste. This traditional chocolate drink is gluten-free and a staple in many local households.

Health Benefits of Tablea

Bohol Tablea is not only a delicious treat but also offers numerous health benefits, thanks to its rich cacao content. Here are some of the key health benefits you can enjoy when you incorporate tablea into your diet:

Rich in Antioxidants

Cacao, the primary ingredient in tablea, is packed with antioxidants, particularly flavonoids. These antioxidants help combat free radicals in the body, reducing oxidative stress and lowering the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer.

Boosts Heart Health

Consuming tablea may contribute to better heart health. The flavonoids in cacao can improve blood flow, lower blood pressure, and reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Drinking a cup of sikwate made from Bohol Tablea can be a heart-healthy choice.

Enhances Mood and Cognitive Function

Cacao contains compounds like phenylethylamine and theobromine, which can enhance mood and improve cognitive function. These compounds stimulate the release of endorphins and serotonin, the body’s natural “feel-good” chemicals, helping to reduce stress and improve mental clarity.

Rich in Essential Minerals

Tablea is a good source of essential minerals such as magnesium, iron, and calcium. Magnesium supports muscle and nerve function, iron is crucial for oxygen transport in the blood, and calcium is vital for bone health. Including tablea in your diet can help you meet your daily nutritional needs.

Supports Weight Management

While tablea is rich and flavorful, it is relatively low in sugar and calories compared to other chocolate products. The natural compounds in cacao can help regulate metabolism and appetite, making it a good option for those looking to manage their weight.

Promotes Digestive Health

Cacao contains dietary fiber, which can aid in digestion and promote a healthy gut. Fiber helps regulate bowel movements and can prevent digestive issues such as constipation. Enjoying a cup of sikwate made from tablea can contribute to overall digestive wellness.

Where to Find the Best Versions

craft chocolate and tablea for sale in a shop

Recommended Places

  • Bohol Bee Farm:¬†Known for its organic products, Bohol Bee Farm offers tablea that is both delicious and eco-friendly. They also sell their products online, making it easy to enjoy this Bohol delicacy from anywhere around the world.
  • Dao Chocolate Factory:¬†This factory produces high-quality tablea using traditional methods, ensuring an authentic taste. They offer tours where you can see the process and purchase products directly from their store.
  • Local Markets:¬†Exploring local markets in Tagbilaran City and other towns can lead you to small-scale producers who offer some of the best and freshest tablea. These markets are a great place to find 100% pure cacao tablea.

Personal Experiences

I remember my first sip of sikwate at Bohol Bee Farm, the rich, earthy flavor of the tablea was unforgettable. It was a chilly evening, and the warm drink was incredibly comforting. Another memorable experience was visiting the Dao Chocolate Factory, where I saw the entire process of tablea-making firsthand. The aroma of roasted cacao beans filled the air, and I left with a newfound appreciation for this local delicacy. My visit to the local markets in 2019 also introduced me to various other cacao-based products from Bohol.

Conclusion

Bohol Tablea is more than just a chocolate tablet, it’s a piece of Bohol’s history and culture. From its humble beginnings to its current status as a beloved delicacy, tablea represents the island’s dedication to preserving its culinary traditions. When you visit Bohol, make sure to try this authentic treat, whether you enjoy it as a hot drink or use it in your cooking, Bohol Tablea is sure to leave a lasting impression. If you can’t visit Bohol, you may find Bohol Tablea available in specialty stores or order it online.

Have you ever tried Bohol Tablea? Share your experiences in the comments, and don’t forget to explore other Boholano delicacies on our blog!

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