Preparing tsokolate from cacao seeds is an art. My grandmother, God bless her soul, would handpick the seeds and let it dry naturally under the sun.
After a couple of days she would throw the dried seeds into a hot pan, without oil (what’s the term for that?). She would then use a huge seashell, with smooth surface that’s usually used as trumpet/horn by fishermen, to manually press the seeds in a soft, slow rolling motion. Then she shapes the resulting product and lets it air-dry.
Take out the batirol and voila! Great-tasting tsokolate fit for gods (and grandchildren).
Back then, I never had the feeling that lola‘s tsokolate was special. I mean, it sure tastes great. But it was always there. It was normal. But then two things made me realize it was indeed special. First, she passed away and no one is patient enough to process cacao seed the way she did.
Second, I tasted a closely familiar tsokolate at Xocolat (Chocolate Cafe at Serendra, Bonifacio Hight Street, near Fully Booked and Abe Restaurant), and I bet lola could very well charge a similar price for her tsokolate.
Of course, lola didn’t know how to cook delicious Herb Chicken Panini (see photo to the right) just like in Xocolat. However, she could give Xocolat a run for its money when it comes to tsokolate. Good thing for Xocolat, lola is in another world. Good thing for me, I found Xocolat. I’ll be back for more of its tsokolate.
(Directions on how to go there: Serendra and Bonifacio High Street are found in Fort Bonifacio, which covers an area both in Taguig City and Makati City. Take C5 from Pasig or Katipunan, with the exit before reaching Market!Market!. If through EDSA from Quezon City, take the u-turn near the EDSA-end of Buendia, now Gil Puyat Avenue in Makati)