Creative desserts to still enjoy Christmas in this difficult year
Can you believe Christmas is already this Friday?
Just yesterday, we were wondering if the quarantine would last until June. Now we wonder if it would last until June 2021.
The good news is that the vaccine is real. I have a doctor friend in the US who already got vaccinated a few days ago.
The bad news is that we have no idea when it will be available in the Philippines. Instead, we are required to wear face shields.
Nonetheless, as Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle said in his Christmas message a few days ago via the Pontificio Collegio Filippino in Rome, “Tuloy ang Pasko!”
And we shall continue to celebrate Christmas.
That is the joy of being Filipino, isn’t it? No one and nothing can stop us from celebrating—or from going to Divisoria, even to the horror of the few of us who are taking quarantine seriously.
As we continue to celebrate, no matter how humbly this year, and although apart, here are a few food suggestions, whether to send as a gift to your family and friends, or to enjoy for yourself:
1. Bibingka MNL
This is the most chic bibingka out there. It comes in a sleek black box with gold lettering. There is a box of six or a box of nine. They have three flavors: original salted egg and cheese; ube halaya and cheese; and four cheese.
However, I just checked and they are already sold out for Christmas. They are still accepting orders for Dec. 26 to 31.
Find them on Instagram: @bibingkamnl or contact 0917-5614997
In my humble opinion, this is the best ice cream we have in the market today. It is Japanese-inspired, but made purely by artisan Pinoys.
Their most exquisite flavor is the black sesame, which will make you pause as you realize that what you are enjoying is the flavor of (you guessed it) roasted black sesame.
The chocolate lover will also enjoy their kinako chocolate, which has the texture and feel of the black sesame because of the use of kinako, a delicate flour made from roasted soybeans that brings a warm and nutty flavor to the ice cream. The vanilla lover, meanwhile, will love their kinako vanilla, made with real vanilla.
I also personally love their shoyu caramel, which is for the person with a not-so-sweet sweet tooth. Interesting trivia is that Kurimu was lifted from the Japanese word “aisukurimu,” which directly translates to ice cream in English.
Find them on Instagram: @kurimu.ph or contact 0917-8710915
3. Fog City Creamery
For very creative Filipino flavors, you must get Fog City Creamery Ice Cream.
I was blown away by their piaya ice cream. It was just insanely good.
While eating it, I could not believe what was going on in my mouth because it literally tastes like piaya—a muscovado-filled unleavened flatbread that is a popular Filipino delicacy—but in ice cream form. You have to try this just for the experience, especially if you love piaya.
They have a wide range of flavors. I was told by a fellow food writer they also have an ensaimada flavor that will boggle you as well because it literally tastes like ensaimada but in ice cream form (I have not tried this). If you are not as adventurous, they also have a lovely almond lychee sherbet that is incredibly refreshing.
Find them on Instagram @fogcitycreamery or contact 0917-8833344
4. Sugar Mommah
Sugar Mommah has many items, but one that stood out for me was their tablea cheesecake. I also love it comes in a tin can and if you want it just for yourself, they have a solo size, too.
Find them on Instagram @sugarmommaph or contact 0917-7537804
5. Taste by Rosa Rio
They have the best chocolate cake. It is reminiscent of the one by Cookie Monster, because of the custard middle, but even better. It is decadent with its top layer of gooey chocolate, but not too sweet that it becomes “nakakaumay,” possibly through the use of sea salt.
They have creative names for their products: “Kalma Lang” is a double chocolate fudge with a drizzle of caramel and sea salt; “Siksik” (which I recommend) has a double chocolate fudge, yema custard and sea salt; and “Kapatid” (which I have not tried) is a combination of ube halaya and yema custard.
Find them on Instagram @tastebyrosa.rio or contact 0917-8314569
Photographer and artist Lisa Lorenzo also bakes and she is amazing at it. She is known for her Food for the Gods, which is reputably the best, but in lockdown she has also been busy with making key lime pie. This key lime pie is to live for. This is a very elegant dessert and worth the splurge.
Find them on Instagram @food4thegods_by.lorenzo or contact 09175441105.
7. Maya Kitchen’s Caviar Torte
Maya Kitchen is known for their mixes, especially the Maya Pancake Mix and the Maya Chocolate Fudge Brownie Mix among others (try the Decadence Fudge Brownie Mix as well and make biscotti with it).
But did you know that they also make a few special items that you can order? I just tried their caviar torte, which is just delightful. It is the perfect gift for someone you want to impress or the one who has everything.
Find them on Instagram @themayakitchen1 or contact landline (02) 88921185
I love their baked artichoke dip, which is light and healthy. This is a brand by high school students. Let’s support these young entrepreneurs.
Find them on Instagram @happytizers.mnl or contact 0917-7950814
9. Workshop PH
This bakery is by Le Petite Souffle. They have many items, including the classic basque burnt cheesecake. Or if you want to be trendy, try their ube basque burnt cheesecake.
But for something unique, try their KitKat Blankets. This is literally Kitkat the chocolate enveloped in dough, inspired by pain au chocolat. Call it a well-dressed KitKat, for the KitKat lover.
Find them on Instagram: @workshop_ph or contact 09177077459 or landline (02) 89446541
10. Good Neighbor
If ube pan des al was the craze while in quarantine, this Christmas, go for an ube ensaimada. Good Neighbor has this.
Good Neighbor puts a thin layer of ube on top as well as an ube halaya layer inside the ensaimada so when you open it, the goodness of the halaya is there. I was never a fan of ube pandesal, but this ube ensaimada is quite a treat.
Find them on Instagram @goodneighborph or contact 0956-7258040 or landline (02) 84783838
We are really blessed that in spite of the pandemic, the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and thriving, especially with food.
It’s been a tough year for all but I hope you have a wonderful holiday, even if you might be socially distanced from your family and friends. Remember the words in that clever viral post: we miss each other now so that later, no one is missing.
Be safe now and have a delicious, Merry Christmas!
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