Chocolate tablea or tabliya (from Spanish tablilla, "tablet") is roasted, ground and molded cacao paste of fermented pure (100%) cacao beans without added ingredients and additives. It is often shaped into balls, pods, discs, or tablets (hence the name chocolate tablea). Every culture with a cacao growing history has a different name for this. In Samoa for example, it's called Koko Samoa. Chocolate tablea refers to blocks of cacao which, in Filipino cuisine, are heated with milk to make a hot chocolate drink.
What is chocolate tablea made from?
Chocolate tablea is made from cacao and cacao refers to the Theobroma Cacao tree. It is the term used when referring to unprocessed versions of the cacao bean, and is primarily used for the production of chocolate and cocoa by processing its beans.
Some cacao like that of The Koko Samoa, is made with only the finest cacao beans handpicked from the island's lush mountains. They are then roasted to a perfect sweetness and ground into a fine paste.
Other types of cacao can be generally very bitter, depending on the variety of the plant, and its soil, temperature, sunlight, topography, and rainfall received during the growing process. The same variety could taste different when grown in a different region as the soil will differ based on other crops in the area.
Chocolate tablea health benefits
The cacao in chocolate tablea is reputed to increase levels of certain neurotransmitters that promote a sense of well-being and the same brain chemical that is released when we experience deep feelings of love - phenylethylamine - is found in chocolate. Also, organic cacao is a rich source of minerals: magnesium, iron, potassium, calcium, zinc, copper and manganese.
Although you should always get professional medical help from your healthcare professional, cacao is often considered to be a superfood with unique qualities, which include; the ability to lower insulin resistance, guard against your nervous system (high in resveratrol antioxidants) and shield nerve cells from damage, reduce the risk of heart disease and strokes. Never replace professional medical treatment with chocolate, and always seek guidance from your doctor.
How is chocolate tablea made?
The process of creating chocolate tablea (or Koko Samoa as it's known to us) is a very much a part of the experience, and is often looked upon nostalgically. When the cacao pods are ripe, the pods are gathered from the tree and will continue to be gathered for the duration of the cacao pod opening session. Farmers then clean pulp around each seed, which can also be eaten as a sweet treat. The cacao seeds are then fermented in lined woven baskets, processed and sundried for storage.
The cacao beans are roasted over fire. When the beans are ready, the shells are typically discarded while the warm beans are transferred into a wood mortar where they are ground down to a liquid paste. The grainy cacao paste is then poured into molds and left to harden.
Where to buy chocolate tablea
There are many brands selling chocolate tablea, and some will taste like plain cardboard. This comes down to the cacao butter content within the chocolate tablea. The more it has, the richer, less bitter and more velvety the taste.
Some of the highest prized cacao in the world is found in the pacific islands. It is that cacao which has the fine flavour and characteristics that was responsible for Samoan cacao achieving a premium price over bulk cacao. At The Koko Samoa, we're proud to sell chocolate tablea made from Samoan cacao.