The tradition of drinking tsokolate was brought to our shores by the conquering Spaniards. In Dr. Jose Rizal’s seminal novel, Noli Me Tangere, he even describes the marked difference between tsokolate-eh, the thicker hot chocolate, and tsokolate-ah, the watered-down version.
Centuries later, we continue to enjoy a cup of chocolate, depending on consistency preference. But along the way, we’ve learned that pairing this with various snacks brings out its flavor even more.
Now, let us share a fact with you: nothing beats kakanin as the perfect Pinoy partner of a cup of chocolate—whether it's tsokolate-eh or tsokolate-ah that you prefer.
So which kakanin is your favorite tsokolate partner?
Although more widely available during the weeks leading up to and following the Christmas season, bibingka is the perfect companion to hot chocolate. This fluffy rice cake topped with salted eggs, sugar, and cheese is light and slightly salty so that it complements the thick, sweet drink.
The king of Filipino kakanin has grown into different varieties over the generations. From being just a plain white rice cake to add some carbs to meals and snacks, it has evolved into versions with different flavors and toppings and colors to boot! The versatility of this snack item is unbeatable. And its more popular role is as partner to a steaming cup of hot chocolate.
[Check out other Pinoy food classics: Beach food!]
Unwrapping it from banana leaves and dipping the suman in dark chocolate is a fun gastronomic adventure that never gets old. Visually, the white flesh of this kakanin provides a stark contrast to the dark liquid. The suman alone does not offer much in terms of taste (it’s actually bland). But when dunked into (or drizzled with) the tsokolate, it is oh-so-perfect!
A medley of colors and flavors, the sapin-sapin is festive and delivers not only in terms of looks but also taste. Topped with latik (toasted coconut flakes), you can never go wrong as you savor the orange, red, purple, and white sections. Then, drinking a thick cup of chocolate only sweetens the experience even more.
[Check out Bahay Kubo's super healthy message hidden in its lyrics!]
This “floating” wonder is coated in shredded coconut and rolled in sugar and sesame seeds for added oomph. The sweet, soft flesh—chewy from being boiled in water—has a light flavor. This is what makes it a good companion to the further appreciation of hot chocolate. The flavors tickle and delight the taste buds…then fill the tummy.
It is messy to eat espasol, to say the least. How can you keep your poise when the rice flour keeps getting on everything? But this gives the experience a fun dimension. Even as you (try to) brush off the remnants of the flour coating, you can savor the flavor and sweetness of the tsokolate.
This glutinous rice cake concoction is sweet and very filling. It is best served warm and topped with toasted coconut flakes or sesame seeds. The deliciously nutty flavor of the hot chocolate warms the heart as each grain of rice is appreciated fully.
The delicate combination of cassava and pandan makes this merienda item a much sought-after and increasingly rare treat. The varying flavors do not overwhelm nor compete with each other, and when enjoyed with a steaming cup of tsokolate, give a pleasant snacking experience because almost all (taste bud) bases are covered.
[Check out the recipe for another Pinoy favorite: Creamy leche flan!]
Gummy and slightly sweet, the consistency and texture of cuchinta provides an opposition to the creamy fluidity of hot chocolate. Each of their flavors are different and, considered alone, do not seem to match. However, when enjoyed together, they result in an unprecedented combination that surprises then amuses…then makes you want more and more.
The unique consistency of the kernels of sweet corn as you bite into each one is a delight. What makes this kakanin unique is its soft and creamy maja base. With the addition of hot chocolate to the mix, the merry medley is complete.