the holidays are mostly over, but i've still got a healthy cache of duman in my freezer. duman is a seasonal rice product that is a specialty of the province of pampanga, where my family is from. the harvesting season coincides with the beginning of the christmas holiday season, which is why these rice "flakes" are often considered a special holiday food; it is also quite laborious to produce, and therefore expensive, which adds to its specialness. cousin karen has the most extensive posts on duman (some of which are also the best food blog posts ever written, imo), so i leave it to her, and leave it to you to check them out.
there are several ways to enjoy duman, but probably the most popular is to sprinkle some into a cup of thick hot chocolate, tsokolate, made with the local filipino chocolate, tablea--a mix of crushed native cacao beans and peanuts which form a thick paste, and are sold in solidified tablet or ball form. the chocolate drink is made with milk--if you are lucky, carabao milk (evaporated milk is a popular substitute)--brought to a boil and the tablea is melted and whisked into the hot liquid until thick and frothy (i will save that for another post).
the past few weeks i have indulged all too frequently in a version of this duman with tsokolate, made with tablea, but with a half-milk, half-water mix, and an decadent square or two of valrhona carre jivara thrown in. the carre jivara is their milk chocolate blend, which works well with the cruder, bitter local chocolate, and lends just enough milkiness for me, and a little vanilla note. i like it very thick, so a little goes a long way; also, when you sprinkle the duman over the chocolate, it takes quite awhile to sink to the bottom, where they swell up like turgid torpedoes, creating an earthy, velvet sludge of slightly nutty, slightly chewy rice enrobed in deep, dark chocolate. like an insanely luxurious chocolate rice pudding, or champorado. ah, but what is holiday food about besides indulgence anyway?