Words and Photos by Joanna Pilla
Nothing hits the spot like warm hot chocolate on a cold weather. Actually, hot or cold, in whatever form, chocolate will almost always hit the spot on both good days and bad days. One of the best comfort food one could ever hope to find, chocolate‘s charm will never fail to bring warmth to our hearts (and stomach). So with that in mind wouldn’t it be nice if chocolate could just get on any and everything that we eat? Or at least that’s my sentiment. So one would imagine how Baguio’s Tsokolateria Artisinal Café has created paradise for a sweet tooth like me.
Tsokolateria has recently opened in alongside the refurbishment of Baguio’s Igorot Stairs.
Now resting next to Pamana (replacing Barrio Fiesta), its sister company, Tsokolateria not only offers the best of the chocolate experience but also guarantees the quality of the ingredients, making it more than satisfactory. Living up to being an ‘Artisanal café’, indeed everything is handmade and only the best of the best ingredient can be contained within their glorious cups and plates of meals, drinks, and desserts.
The ambiance is all but simple, yet rather elegant.
Think of a classic backyard patio, pergola above your head, seats made of handmade woodwork— a classic Baguio signature, and that al-fresco dining experience in the middle of the city gives Tsokolateria a vibe like no other.What I love most about staying here is that homey comfort I get despite the outdoorsy theme of it. And if you find yourself worrying when the rain begins pouring, the pergola will keep you nice and sheltered. Of course if you would prefer, you will also be offered a seat inside Pamana, and will be served just the same. As for me, I think the rain is an added character. I find myself craving their Tostadong Yema con Tsokolate during the rainy seasons.
Speaking of which, the food is what will really sell this place to you.
Think of the classic Tsoko batirol but with an avant garde feel to it, brilliant and classic.
What most customers come here for is its artisanal chocolate drink made from pure cocoa or tablea, served on iron wrought pitchers where you can mix the cocoa blend with cocoa pods or molinillo, reminiscent of how the classic chocolate batirol is served. They offer a sweet twists with each drink.
Three of my favorites are its classics:
A brilliant mix of the classic pinoy dessert, toasted yema is served atop a cool whip cream resting above the warm chocolate drink. Imagine sweet toasted yema bits slowly infusing into the chocolate all the while maintaining a slightly crunchy consistency as it dances around your tongue. As romanticized as I make it seem, the marriage of the chocolate and yema never ceases to amaze me.
My heart says chocolate but my jeans say “for the love of god woman, eat a salad.” Sigh.
I’m a fan of the traditional, the basics. The original comfort of chocolate drink mixed in with gooey marshmallows is my Achilles heel. Tsokolateria gives me that experience in tenfold. I love how brilliantly incorporated the marshmallows are in the drink, having a sip is like going back to childhood days where diabetes wasn’t a thing and a godly amount of chocolate was the answer to everything. Oh how I love those days.
As paradoxical as the name implies it, frozen hot tsoko delivers much more than your average hot chocolate drink. The reason why it’s one of my favorites is because not only does it satisfy my never ending search of anything cold (despite the weather), it also hits a very warm spot in the tummy. The mishmash of hot and cold rolling around your tongue as it eventually reaches an even, lukewarm temperature as you swallow is the experience to beat.
There are more deliciously satisfying flavors you could choose from, and to be honest, I could try them all in one go.
It also has the sampler platters that contain all of its chocolate drinks in convenient little cups. There’s also a treat for the adventurous at heart, the Sili Labuyo Tsoko blend will get the fire starting. A mix of spicy and sweet, and the combination of the heat from both the drink and the pepper will absolutely intensify your otherwise mellow experience.
But Tsokolateria doesn’t just end with the chocolate drinks. Its meals are actually a contender of its own. To be honest, I always find myself going back more for the food than for the actual drink. I highly suggest trying its Bacon Lechon Kawali Cebu Style, infused with a hint of chocolate. This platter delivers a slice of heaven, guaranteed.
The desserts are not to be taken lightly as well. What is a chocolate themed café without its classic chocolate fondue served in clay pots or long neck bottles.
Tsokolateria is always a treat for me. Coming and going to this place is a nice reward after a long, stressful week in University. Now that I’m no longer staying in Baguio, this is definitely one of the many things I miss. It is true that nothing can beat good food in the best place. And at the end of the day, chocolate is the answer. Who cares what the question is?
Igorot Stairs, Upper Session Road, Baguio City