AFTER a 10-year hiatus, Magnolia Ice Cream brings back the old-time favorite concoctions that melted the hearts of Filipinos a couple of decades back through its newly opened Magnolia Ice Cream Parlor.
?It?s the perfect timing to re-launch the parlor because, obviously, ice cream and summer go together,? said Magnolia Ice Cream general manager Mayo Alcon.
The ice cream parlor, located at the San Miguel by the Bay in the SM Mall of Asia complex, is a ?revival? of the popular Magnolia Ice Cream House along Aurora Boulevard in Cubao, Quezon City, which operated in the ?70s and ?80s.
?The Magnolia Ice Cream House has been so much a part of the Filipino culture that one cannot simply outgrow it,? says Alcon. ?So when we learned that the customers wanted the old Magnolia favorites back, we had no choice but to give in to the public demand.?
Today?s ice cream parlor retains the cozy and family-friendly atmosphere of the old one while at the same time evolving into a more ?hip,? ?modern? and ?trendy? shop with its colorful, ice cream-like walls and tables, accentuated with mouth-watering pictures of the best sellers and newest concoctions in town.
?While family with children remain the most frequent visitors of the ice cream parlor, more and more couples and barkada are coming now,? he says.
These are the people who choose to have ice cream as dessert after eating at one of the many restaurants located in the San Miguel by the Bay strip.
The parlor?s location near a busy mall and the bay augurs well for the business, Alcon says. ?This venue is way better than the one we had before,? where the ice cream parlor sat beside the road for almost two decades, he says.
The 72-square meter shop opens at 4 p.m. and closes at 12 midnight from Sundays to Thursdays, but is forced to open till 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays to accommodate people that find themselves craving for ice cream instead of the usual tea or coffee to cap the ?gimmick nights.?
In 1996, San Miguel, owner of the Magnolia Ice Cream brand, went through financial difficulties, and had to rationalize its vast portfolio. Since the ice cream market was declining then, it decided to partner with Nestlť, resulting in the merger of two of big names in the ice cream industry.
Two years later, however, San Miguel completely let go of its ice cream and milk productions. It was not until 2004 that the company consolidated its resources and brought back its ice cream and milk business.
Alcon credited its partner, Perfect Cone, for doing much of the legwork in launching the new ice cream parlor. Perfect Cone is a food and ice cream company, owned by five individuals, who partnered with Magnolia to open the shop.
?We found the perfect partner in Perfect Cone,? Alcon said in jest. While Magnolia provided for the old-time favorite concoctions, Perfect Cone created new flavors that are sure to join the ranks of the much-loved favorites.
?For now, we?re bringing back five all-time favorite concoctions,? said Ruby Ines, Magnolia Ice Cream proprietor and one of the directors of Perfect Cone. Part of the initial offerings are the favorites Ernie and Bert, Black and White, the Choo-choo Train, Banana Split Fudge and the Coney Island.
Ice cream lovers who missed the concoctions would be happy to know that the same recipes used to make the flavors in the ?70s are the ones that are used to recreate them today, thanks to Magnolia for keeping in tact the original blends.
The old Magnolia favorites will be part of an expanded menu that also includes ice cream cakes, tortes and pies, sundaes, cobblers and parfaits, milkshakes, and floats, among others. Soon, sandwiches and pasta will also be part of the menu.
Since the shop?s soft opening in March, people from all walks of life?from students to politicians?have visited.
With so many concoctions to choose from, kids still generally stick with plain ice cream while teenagers are much bolder and prefer to try the more exciting flavors. Adults, on the other hand, stay loyal to time-tested flavors, Alcon observes.
Besides a better ambience, another difference of the new parlor from the old one is that it only offers ice cream for scooping, unlike before when they used to sell by the gallons.
?The challenge for us now is to keep the prices of ice cream as affordable as possible without sacrificing the quality,? says Alcon, who has been general manager of Magnolia Ice Cream for three years.
Their products? relatively low price is one of their advantages, he says. ?Unlike other ice cream shops, our ice creams are fit for the Pinoy budget,? he says.
Last week, the Magnolia Ice Cream Parlor opened full-time with six staffers. As part of the efforts to reintroduce the popular ice cream flavors to the public, they gave away free ice cream for the day to anyone who walked into the shop.
?We are bringing the Magnolia Ice Cream Parlor experience to the next generation of Filipinos and we hope that they will enjoy and be nostalgic about it just like their parents and grandparents did,? Alcon says.
With all the deliciously ?sinful foods? available for the taking, however, how does the weight conscious fit into the picture? ?Essentially, milk (from hence ice cream is made) is healthy,? Ines says. ?But we?re now developing sugar-free ice cream variations.?
Truly, as Ines says, there?s an ice cream flavor for everybody.