In my far-from-expertly opinion, I thought the dessert roundup at this year’s IFEX was dominated by three C’s – coffee, chocolate, and coconut sugar. And a lone T for turmeric. Turmeric tea seemed to be everywhere – bags, jars, powdered, brewed, bottled, with calamansi, with lemongrass, with pandan. If you can dream it, you can tumeric-tea it! All good stuff but below are my favorites.
Before anything, congratulations to everyone behind Malagos Chocolate for the recent victory at the 2015 Academy of Chocolate competition in London! They brought home the bronze in the Best Unflavored Drinking Chocolate category. Amazing! The whole of Davao must be vibrating with pride right now. The whole country should.
I picked up a bar of the 65% dark chocolate and really enjoyed the fine and velvety feel of it in my mouth. And as much as I wanna be the type who could savor a square or two after a meal, that’s just not who I am. Lasted all of two days, eaten at random times. Check out the website for the country’s best chocolate and beyond.
Side note: On this day I learned that Belgium, world-renowned for its chocolate, doesn’t even grow cacao. We do and we are only now starting to be noticed in the world chocolate scene. Isn’t that a little trippy??
I have sung the brand praises in my previous post of savory goodies and I’m singing the same tune with its jams. They’re gorgeous to look at and they’re all-natural concoctions made of fresh (never frozen) local fruit and cane sugar among other things. No high fructose corn syrup here!
I also really like how the brand breathes new life to mango jam with calamansi and green mango. But wait, there’s more. No really, they have more than jam and laing. Check it on their Facebook Page.
Pili & Pino
While we are in the topic of jams, here’s another I adore. Not to call Pili & Pino a line of jams. That would be wrong because there is a smorgasbord of delish under this name from granola to pancake mix which is amazing because it all started with a coconut nectar syrup!
Coconut nectar is also what they use to sweeten these whimsical jams and flavor-wise, I think what it does is it lends them a sweetness that has depth. And yes, a very subtle coconut-y aftertaste. These jams are also a little loose because there is no pectin, a thickening agent used in jam. Even as I eat them in these beautifully labeled bottles, it feels and tastes homemade in the very best way. Cebu reprezent!
Voilà Old Fashioned Jar Cakes
Because there are days when you really want cake, nay, need cake but couldn’t be bothered to bake cake. That would be most days, even for someone who enjoys baking like me. Well, voilá!
Too much vintage-y cuteness! But we want cute cake and we want to want to (not a typo) eat it, too. So I chose the Red Velvet Vanilla Fudge and gave it a whirl in the microwave.
That’s how it works – inside the jar is cake mix (and in this case, what appears to be white chocolate buttons) and a silver packet that contains oil. Empty the packet into the jar, add 6 tablespoons of water, mix well, and then microwave for a minute. VOILÁ. (I can’t stop.)
My first try looked a bit too wet so I popped it back in and did about 30 seconds more and this is what it looked like. It was pretty darn tasty. And it took 2 minutes. Dude! Two minutes! Next time, I’m gonna stretch it all the way to 3 to scoop in some ice cream. For making yummy, speedy, and virtually clean up-free cake a reality, we need to show Voilà some love on Facebook.
Dolci Coffee Jelly
It’s a miracle that there’s any of this left, the only reason being I accidentally thrust it pretty far back in the fridge and out of sight, out of mind and so on.
Dolci Coffee Jelly is made of precious little morsels of chewy coconut jelly (nata de coco) suspended in a delicious coffee syrup.
It’s so good that, as the song goes, you may not be ready for this jelly. It’s the kind of good that makes you abandon everything else for the short while that you’re eating it. Try it with ice cream, in a parfait, in coffee although my favorite way is eating it straight out of the jar with copious amounts of the coffee syrup.
Tropikal Kalamansi Rum Liqueur
The world’s first calamansi rum is fresh and tart and sweet, pretty much everything you expect it to be. Can you imagine the citrusy brightness it would add to your favorite cocktail? It would be especially appealing on a hot summer day. You know, today.
I think this would also work if you want to add a citrusy and booze-y touch to pastries – soak a rum cake, pour a swig into cupcake icing, flambé bananas! I’m actually not sure if you can flambé with the stuff but if you’re the type to flambé at home, I’m sure you can figure it out. Then start calling yourself flamBae. I keed. For recipes and more info, click here.
So I realized that in my excitement at entering the treasure trove of goodies that was the IFEX, I totally forgot to list down how much everything was. BAD BLOGGER. I do apologize. But rest assured that I didn’t think any of my finds there obscenely expensive. Some were on the pricey side but the quality and ingredients made up for it. And the thought that I was supporting excellent quality local stuff made me proud. I hope you feel the same when you encounter these products and straight-up hoard.