Friday, September 24, 2021

Puto, sikwate—slow down for the sake of good times

During these days of almost everything instant—instant drinks like coffees and sodas, sandwiches and snacks—one sometimes feels the need to slow down, take a breather, relax and think of the old days with lazy afternoons spent with family or friends, savoring homemade puto and sikwate properly stirred with a batirol to its flavorful goodness.

One finds that such a treat can actually still be had at a place called Batirol by The Chocolate Chamber (TCC) at Robinson’s Cybergate.

According to its management trainee, Jonathan Choa, the concept of Batirol is that of a kiosk, where one can buy items from merchandise on display produced by TCC collaborators, and, also in this particular place, a variety of chocolate concoctions “to go.” Jonathan said there are actually a few seats for people who want to rest their feet and pause for refreshment.

The place is an offshoot of TCC of Raquel T. Choa, known as The Chocolate Queen, who is Jonathan’s mother. TCC’s cocoa concoctions include champorado, sikwate, chocondense, chocomallows, blended drinks by Jonathan’s sister Hannah (tablea mango, tablea banana, sweetened tablea), and Jonathan’s pan de sal (with tablea, oregano, or malunggay).

The place also has an “In Collaboration With” series of products using tablea but not made by the TCC family. The offerings change every so often to encourage other cocoa enthusiasts to have a place to display their products like choco cake, choco ice cream and choco empanada made by different entrepreneurs.

Batirol, said Jonathan, is really geared toward the youth. He, himself, is only 24 years young. A holder of a marketing management degree from the University of San Carlos, he underwent trainings/seminars in deZaan Chocolates in Singapore, Chocolate and Praline Making and Batidores Training Program by The Chocolate Chamber Academy. He said that aside from being a TCC project, Batirol is also in partnership with The First Cooperative Along Tañon Seaboards (FCCT) composed of cocoa growers who have chosen his younger sister Hannah as their youth ambassador in promoting cacao, and to encourage the youth to engage in growing cacao and in businesses using cacao in their enterprise. Perhaps, why not open another Batirol, which is available for franchising?

Jonathan sees the dynamism of Batirol, despite the lockdown which has shortened Batirol’s operating hours: not open during weekends and open only from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays.


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