Coming home to the Philippines means finding new gastronomic fare.
So much has changed in just over a few months and I felt delighted I ended up meeting a friend at the UCC Cafe near one of the 10 largest malls in the world - the Mall of Asia.
Customarily, I would skim menus zeroing in on the uncommon.
UCC's Kapatagan coffee grind, for example, prepared using the drip method, is a local produce from Davao (the information card shows the exact spot). I enjoyed every sip of it not only for its good aroma and flavor but because of the pride I felt knowing foreign companies have tapped on our own resources.
When I flew further down south to my native land, Dipolog City, I have noticed several changes in the food scene as well. And this encompasses the changes in the social habits and dining trends in our region.
Needless to say, I couldn't resist the calorific temptations that await me. I believe the pictures themselves have already spoken:
However, the trip's highlight was always about getting my hands on a few local specialities I can play around with in the kitchen. As a chocoholic, "Tablea" holds a special place. Tablea is pure chocolate liquor crudely formed into small discs (and now they come in drops, too). They are as pure as you can get. In chocolate-producing countries, they rate it as 99% Dark Chocolate.
I grew up drinking hot bittersweet chocolate made with tablea (we call it tsokolate) my mother would prepare during rare and special occasions and is normally reserved during the colder months especially Christmas time.
Nowadays, tsokolate is conveniently available and served in a few cafés (Bon's Café has become my favorite in town). In my opinion, good quality tablea can be found at Cathy's Kitchen. It's very pure and strong you need just a few pieces for every cup. I have bought several varieties in other cities but this one has preserved the "heart and soul" of my favorite childhood tablea.
With this recent discovery, I have whipped up a breakfast pancake using Cathy's Kitchen's tablea along with other interesting combinations most especially the use of cold-pressed Coconut Oil (Nutiva) replacing the butter for a more healthy option.