Tabliya came from the word “tablets” because the product shape resembles a medicine tablet. However, other product shapes exist. It is the old fashioned chocolate. Chocolate in its pure form without any added preservatives. True if the maker is following the Philippine National Standard for Talibya. It should be 100%. Added with nothing. No sugar, no milk and no weird extenders. However, people who cannot master the art of pure molding resort to adding 50% for more sugar, making it part of obesity and diabetes problems in the long term.
This technology is rather old, but I am making decent income from it even there are lots of modern chocolate competitors. Most of my customers are health conscious people.
Read the following steps to make your own native chocolate.
1. Select good quality cacao beans. It should be dry and posses a slightly sour smell. I am referring to properly fermented beans. It improves flavor and removes too much bitterness. You have some explaining to do if your customers are fan of wash-and-dry beans, alkalized cocoa or other heavily processed chocolates.
2. In case you own a cacao plantation. Harvest matured cacao pods. It has knocking sounds when shaken. Cut pods into halves. Place the seeds or beans in hard plastic bin and cover loosely. Let stand for seven days for fermentation to commence. Wash the seeds and let dry under the sun. Well dried cacao beans produce crispy sounds when stirred.
What I said sounds easy. It is not. It requires plenty of experimentation, time and patience. Please don’t give up my friend!
3. Roast beans in carajay under low flame. High flame will result in burnt beans. Continual stirring should be done to achieve even roast. Roast for one hour or until the rapid popping sound is heard. Transfer immediately into wooden trays. Cool immediately by stirring and placing in front of electric fan.
I ditched this method a long time ago. There is no way an even roast can be achieved with it. Maybe older guys can. Me? I cannot and new generations can’t too. There are two other ways to roast cacao. Choose one and master it.
4. Loosen the plate of your grinder. It should be loose enough just to break cacao beans in large pieces. Our goal is to separate nibs from shell in next step. Nib is cacao bean without the shell or chaff. Now, pass roasted cacao into grinder.
5. Winnow broken beans to remove the chaffs. Winnowing can easily be done by transferring beans from one container to another in front of electric fan. Air current will blow chaffs away leaving only the nibs. Repeat the process if necessary.
Now I have a diy machine to do method 4 and 5 with ease.
6. Grind the nibs in electric grinder. It will produce heat and liquefy the nibs. Metal grinder plate do well but stone grinder may produce finer product. Roasted peanut is added in this stage if desired.
7. Let liquefied cacao cool until you can easily make a small ball by hand. Mold tabliya using polvoron molder or mold into balls by hand. Mix sugar for sweet tabliya.
Tabliya can replace modern chocolate in most recipes. Champorado and hot chocolate are my favorites.
Over the years, I have been improving the process. It has a lot of changes. I DIY some contraption and acquired few equipment.
Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines. Do coaching and consultancy services on his free time.