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A hot drink on a cold day

CEBU, Philippines — The days are approaching the height of the rainy season. The rains, as we know, keep ambient temperatures down. Besides, it’s going to get colder as the yuletide season sets in.The cold days naturally summon thoughts of something hot. It does not only mean hot food or drink. It means, too, that the food or drink has body-warming qualities that linger beyond the gustatory enjoyment of the treat.

In Cebu – and in other areas of the Visayas and Mindanao – a rainy-day favorite drink is the “sikwate,” a chocolate drink made mainly from “tableya,” round-shaped pure chocolate block made from locally grown cacao. Cacao tree grows easily in the backyard. In some areas of the country, cacao is even farmed in commercial quantities, encouraged by people’s penchant for the chocolate drink.

There are many other uses for the cacao “tableya.” Bakers find it to be a good ingredient in breads, cakes, and pastries. The thing has a distinct quality to it which effectively carries on to whatever food products it is used in.

For a hearty rainy-day drink, “tableya” is a handy material. It’s easily available, either at the supermarkets or at small sari-sari stores at the corner. The following recipe – a slight tweak of the one shared at – is a sample of how the traditional “sikwate” itself can be fiddled for a more delicious cup of hot chocolate drink.

Milky Sikwate with Peanut Butter


4 cups milk

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4 pieces Cacao “Tableya”

4 tablespoons Peanut Butter

2 tablespoons Brown Sugar



1. In a pot over medium heat, heat milk just until bubbles begin to form around the edge and steam begins to rise from the milk. Stir regularly to prevent film layer from forming.

2. Add the “tableya” and continue to cook, stirring regularly, until completely dissolved. Add peanut butter and stir until dissolved. If using sugar, add at this point.

3. Transfer into a serving pot. Using hand mixer whisk or “batidor,” twirl chocolate mixture, for about 2 to 3 minutes or until frothy. If using a mechanical frother, insert frother whisk into serving pot and holding at a slight angle, turn on and move up and down for about 30 to 40 seconds or until frothy.

Serve hot. (FREEMAN)

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