Dessert Comes First

An obsession with dessert and other unabashed opinions of a food writer

Magnum White King
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Hot Tsokolate on A Cold Day

posted by in Food Purveyors, Food Tripping

There’s a tsokolate – as opposed to “chocolate” – café in Baguio that’s been around since 2000, and I can’t believe that I didn’t know about it ‘til this year.

So on a recent trip up north, I pass by Choco-late de Batirol, a little café ensconced in a little corner on Scout Hill in Camp John Hay. Situated across from where the Lone Star Steak House used to be, it’s a makeshift place constructed of bamboo and wood with lots of quaint, mismatched furniture. Studiously Filipino, its counters display – curiously enough – a mishmash of Thai delicacies (squid rings, sampaloc, etc), native cookies and packets of dried fish, as well as the purportedly miraculous Goji juice.

Choco-late de Batirol

pouring tsokolate

Despite all the distractions, it’s very clear what the house specialty is: native tsokolate whipped with an old-style batidor and served in ceramic cups. Cooked in a large metal pot until wisps of steam escape under the cover, a server ladles the liquid into the tsokolatera (see cover photo). With demonstrable fluency and several brisk whisks of the batidor, he conjures a delightful froth that I envy. I couldn’t do the same with my batidor even if I whisked all day.

cup of hot tsokolate

The tsokolate comes to table an earthy brew redolent of soil and chocolate; I can almost hear the newly churned bubbles popping. I’ve always regarded cups as comforting vessels, the heat of this one warming my hands, the liquid it contains sustenance for the soul. Tsokolate is an alliance of imperfect proportions: chocolate paste made from freshly roasted cacao beans, water, milk — perhaps evap (evaporated milk) and sugar. Every person has his/her own recipe for it.

tsokolatera and batidor

Choco-late de Batirol’s tsokolate is somewhere between a tsokolate eh (thick) and a tsokolate ah (thin) in consistency, the light brown liquid tastes deeply of chocolate with grits of cacao that settle at the bottom of the cup. Its minimum sweetness is remedied with a teaspoon of light brown sugar: ah, perfect! The taste and consistency are very similar to the one at Tsoko.Nut.

suman
suman
bibingka and turon
bibingka and turon

Aside from the traditional tsokolate (P80), there are other flavored versions as well – Cointreau, Kahlua, and the Baguio Blend which hints of strawberry. Colder versions (P105-P115) include cinnamon swirl, choco-banana, etc. I’m told that Chocolate de Batirol’s owner Jojo Castro, roasts the cacao beans himself, after which he grinds them into a paste for the tsokolate. Hot chocolate is good on its own but it ascends to glory when paired with the café’s suman sa lihia (P50), the turon (P20) which is almost always freshly cooked since it’s so popular, or the house bibingka (P95) which is sweet and fluffy with fresh lashes of coconut.

The café is also known for its food, particularly the talangka with rice — I know, it sounds weird to have talangka as your main course, but eat it with the side salad of green mangoes, tomatoes, and red eggs. Or have the pork barbeque, beef kare-kare, pork binagoongan, or lechon paksiw (P220-P280). Portions are moderate but the food is affordable enough to order one more serving or come with a group and taste lots of other dishes.

talangka and rice
talangka and rice

Naturally, I nab a bottle of their tsokolate paste (P370) which I bring home with me so that I can recreate my own Chocolate de Batirol experience in Manila.

Choco-late de Batirol
Scout Hill, Camp John Hay
Open from 9am-9pm
0917.5071356
choco-latedebatirol@yahoo.com

Other hot chocolate posts:
tsokolate eh
a lola’s hot chocolate
transforming tsokolate – thin to thick
duman and tsokolate
my search for the best hot choc – Paris
Nana Meng’s tsokolate

16 Responses to “Hot Tsokolate on A Cold Day”

  • I love taba ng talangka with rice!!!

    You should also try “burong talangka” with rice dipped in calamansi & patis.

    Heaven!

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  • Did you close your eyes while sipping the hot tsokolate? I don’t know why, but it tastes so much better that way!

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  • thanks, lori!

    another great find!

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  • Hey Lor!

    Sana they’d open here in the city naman…

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  • i can’t believe how expensive those are nowadays. i recall having the same batirol there so for much cheaper. the prices for those dishes are good for how many people? i’ve not been to camp john hay in a while, preferring hunting out other places. and i’m making a list of places to go when i make my annual visit to my cousins later this year. there is a place here in QC where you can get a larger bibingka (P55 or 60, the last i dropped by) at a lower price and, imo – better than ferino’s.

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  • Another reason to trek to Baguio! Thanks for the review :)

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  • Thanks for letting us know about this place; your review seems to me like a nice li’l pre-Christmas post :) salamat!

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  • Mmmmm! That looks delicious. I’m from Canada and this reminds me of a Chocolatier I went to in Montreal where I had a deliciously deep flavoured cup of hot chocolate it practically filled me up!

    I’ve been following your blog for a while now, I just love your posts. They’re so well written and the photos are cravings-inducing. I’m sure I’ll be making many returns!

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  • i wonder if it’s the same outfit that opened a branch in serendra (beside larry’s bar) but has folded up recently… same name kasi eh…

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  • It’s so good, I could cry!

    Reminds me of good ol’ days at Taal, Batangas. Try putting that tsokolate ah on your rice whilst eating salty Tapang Taal and sipping Tsokolate eh. Mmmmm….

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  • i love tsokolate and taba ng talangka! yum! next time we go to baguio, i’ll make sure to visit the place.thanks for sharing. :)

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  • i agree with joy… i think it’s the same as the one in serendra, same name… the tsokolate choices are the same even the kakanin looks the same. i’m not sure though, if they’ve already closed down.

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  • Hi Lori! I have been looking for that metal pot where they mix the tsokolate. Do you know where they sell this?

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  • Yeah, the Choco-Late de Batirol in Serendra looks like it has either closed down, or re-formatted. I see the same wooden furniture outside, but the name has changed. Sayang, I actually liked some of the things I had there. But their location and the way they’re set back from the walkway makes them so easy to overlook; most people don’t even know it’s there.

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  • hi! i’m looking for a candy container/jar which I can use as table centerpiece for my daughter’s birthday party. can you recommend a place where i can find an affordable and nice one? thanks.

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  • try also Tsoko.nut batirol,,they also serve hot tsokolate, kakanins and also Pinoy rice meals,,It’s delicious and affordable,,:)

    They have branches in:
    SM-Makati
    Eastwood Excelsior
    Dela Rossa Carpark 1
    RCBC Plaza- Ayala
    Walter Mart-Pasong Tamo

    Visit their website: http://www.tsokonutbatirol.com

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