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Baskin-Robbins brings scooping happiness to Bonifacio High Street

My ice cream brand of choice — Baskin-Robbins— during the two years I was in the U.S. taking my masters just opened its 14th branch at B8, Bonifacio High Street in Taguig City.

Baskin-Robbins was founded ini 1945 by (who else?) Baskin and Robbins! Since then, the brand has created more than 1,300 ice cream flavors and a wide variety of ice cream treats.

Continue reading “Baskin-Robbins brings scooping happiness to Bonifacio High Street”

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My Christmas Holidays were More Cheerful with Fog City Creamery

This was the dreariest Christmas ever. It was the first time none of us at home had the energy to put up a Christmas tree that was 8 feet high. We were on general housecleaning mode especially with one room that we had to clean from top to bottom, inside out. To give ourselves the spirit of some Christmas cheer, I played Christmas carols all day long as we dusted, cleared stuff out, mopped the floors, scrubbed tiles and did spring cleaning of items.

Gifts sent to our home were very much appreciated but one that I really looked forward to trying when it came to the house was 4 pints of Fog City Creamery ice cream in Christmas flavors: Fruit and Nuts Deluxe, Brandied Cherries, Peppermint Brownie and Tablea. Hey, you are looking at one ice cream lover here!!!

I had been wondering about the name Fog City Creamery because the pints had a picture of the San Francisco bridge on the front. Apparently, the creator of the ice cream flavors, Edylyn Gamboa-Liu, known as Edy by her family and friends, used to live in San Francisco. Credit her missing her favorite Salted Caramel flavor to the birth of Fog City Creamery. When she returned to the Philippines, she began experimenting with flavors that reminded her of San Francisco.
What stands out for me, healthwise, is what Fog City Creamery says — that there are no preservatives or artificial stabilizers in their ice cream. They’re chemical-free!!! And the flavors were chosen using ingredients that agree with the Filipino palate.
I’ll give you a list later of other flavors Edy has concocted so far but here’s my two cents on the ones that I got for Christmas.
Peppermint Brownie
I’m starting out with my favorite of the 4 flavors – Peppermint Brownie. I love mint chocolates so fusing peppermint and fudgy chocolates clearly went down with me very well. Well done on this one. My kids and I loved this the best.
PhP 300/pint
Tablea Sugar-Free
Tablea comes in second among the 4 variants we tried. This Pinoy round cocoa tablet which used to be made into hot coco during my time has evolved. The Fog City Creamery Tablea is sugar-free, sweetened by Coco Natura, an organic coco sugar made from coconut sap. I have used Coco Natura in the past instead of sugar to sweeten my morning coffee.
Fog City Creamery suggests that for another taste experience, pair up Tablea with a scoop of Ensaymada ice cream, brown butter ice cream with ensaymada bits, and queso de bola.
PhP 300/pint
It’s not bad actually but to ice cream lovers like me who love to fill our cups to the brim with ice cream, go slow on this one. Tablea can only be taken in small quantities. After several spoonfuls, it can get overwhelming.
Brandied Cherries
Here’s another flavor that uses Emperador Deluxe brandy. Dark, red cherries are soaked in the brandy and mixed in with an ice cream base for the Brandied Cherries variant. I liked the cherry taste but the liquor in ice cream takes some getting used to.
PhP 320/pint
Fruit and Nuts Deluxe
PhP 350/pint
Fruit and Nuts Deluxe is a mix of apricots, pistachio and almonds in an ice cream base flavored with Emperador Deluxe brandy. This variant for me was so-so. The ice cream base was a little too milky rather than creamy. I guess I’m also not a person very fond of fruit bits in my ice cream because while I like all these ingredients in fruit cake, it somehow had a different experience for me as an ice cream. But that’s me. 
Fog City Creamery has several other flavors, with new ones coming up every so often. They have Bourbon Pecan, Ferrero Rocher with Nutella Swirl, Cherry Vanilla, Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet Chocolate, Sorrento, Ensaymada (the first in the market), Salted Caramel and many more. Fog City Creamery offers more sugar-free flavors such as Butterscotch Pecan and Espresso Almond. 

Direct pick-ups of Fog City Creamery ice cream are at Valle Verde 5 or Foccacia, A. Venue, Makati City. It’s also available via delivery by calling City Delivery at 87878.

Fog City Creamery
Website: www.fogcitycreamery.com
Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/FogCityCreamery
Twitter and Instagram: @FogCityCreamery
Email: info@fogcitycreamery.com / fogcitycreamery@gmail.com
Mobile: +63 917 8833344

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Bono Artisanal Gelato comes to the Podium

Gelato is Italian ice cream. There are many different brands of gelato in the Metro but one that stands out is Bono Artisanal Gelato which recently put up a branch at the Podium in the Ortigas Center.

Rea Gomez-Harrow, one of the cool people behind Bono Artisanal Gelato

Bono Artisanal Gelato is located on the ground floor of the Podium along ADB Avenue in Ortigas Center. It’s right behind the escalators, fronting the side entrance of Podium leading to SM Megamall.

I got to speak with Rea Gomez-Harrow, the Marketing Director of Bono. She and her other partner studied the art of artisan gelato-making at Carpigiani Gelato University in Bologna, Italy (gosh, I thought Hamburger University was something and now they even have a university for teaching gelato-making!).

Everything at Bono is made ON THE SPOT and is not kept beyond 20 hours unlike others that are often kept in freezers. The gelato ingredients, while pre-blended and pre-packed for consistency, are churned by hand right there with a special gelato making machine, the Cattabriga Effe 6, from Italy, which is regarded by those in the industry as possibly the best gelato-making machine to-date.

Churning gelato by hand (photo taken from Bono’s Facebook photos)
Pozzetto gelato cabinets like these keep the gelato clean (not exposed)
like other ice cream or gelato brands and are temperature-controlled
(photo taken from Bono’s Facebook photos)

Even the wafers stuck on top of each scoop of gelato, wafer cones and waffle cookies are made daily  so that it stays fresh and crisp. The whole process is truly artisanal.

Healthy buffs, you will love this bit of news. Rea said that they only used the finest ingredients (fresh strawberries from California, finest Belgian chocolate, and so on) and one of the signs on their wall and counter say it all —

The finest ingredients are sourced from different parts of the world…
…but other locally available ingredients support local farming.
Flavors? Bono has a LOT! And I actually had fun trying them all out with tiny, colorful sample spoons given to me.
Speculoos (Belgian cookie butter) was yummy! I’d go for that again. For that Pinoy touch, Bono was able to concoct a Taho variant. I tried it and it really had a taho flavor. It takes getting used to though because I am always used to taking my taho the traditional way. Another winner was the Matcha & Azuki (Japanese stone-ground green tea & sweet red beans). And if you want to try something so totally unexpected, try Movie Night (chocolate-dipped potato crisps and caramel). No kidding, it tasted like a caramel gelato mixed with tiny, crispy Pringles chips in it.

After trying almost all, I chose my full serving variant – Fragola. I could not resist the California strawberries, hahaha.

A beautiful wall (artfully created by Rea herself) beside the Bono counters says everything you want to know about Bono Artisanal Gelato.

Prices are more expensive than what you’d pay if you bought scoops of ice cream, frozen yogurt or other gelato brands but the taste experience, ingredients and process that Bono Artisanal Gelato goes through makes it worth the price. A small cup is PhP 85. A single scoop (1 flavor in cup or cone) is PhP 130 and a double serving (2 flavors in cup or cone) is PhP 200.

I found out that they also deliver! If you are hosting a party or group of friends, or if you are just craving for gelato from the comfort of your home, they can deliver fresh, all natural and frozen gelato to you on demand. A pint is PhP 450 and a tub is PhP 850. This is a photo taken from their Facebook page showing the delivery area (FREE delivery within 5 km of Podium with a minimum purchase of PhP 1,000). To enumerate, they cover: New Manila, San Juan, Greenhills, Horseshoe, Wack-Wack, Mandaluyong, Kapitolyo, Ortigas Center, Corinthian Gardens, Corinthian Hills, Valle Verde, Pasig (parts), Acropolis, Greenmeadows, Eastwood, White Plains, St. Ignatius, Blue Ridge, Cubao (parts).

(photo taken from Bono’s Facebook photos)

Bono Artisanal Gelato
Ground Floor, The Podium
ADB Avenue, Ortigas Center
Website: www.gelatobono.com
Facebook page: www.facebook.com/BonoGelato
Instagram: www.instagram.com/bonogelato
Twitter: www.twitter.com/BONOgelato
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/bonogelato

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Magnum Ice Cream indulgence is in town!

I was about to start this post with a description of the ice cream being launched but last night, as I was typing away, my older son came into the room. He saw the press kit beside me with an M logo on the front and he immediately exclaimed, “Hey, Magnum!” That was when I remembered why this brand of ice cream sounded familiar.

Two years ago. My son and some of his schoolmates had just come home from several weeks in China on a school-sponsored overseas program. Over the next few days, as he continued regaling us with stories of their adventures, one thing stood out. He and his friends had discovered a favorite comfort food during those days away from family and school – Magnum Ice Cream.

Of course, it was natural for me to be excited when the recent event I was invited to turned out to be the launch of this very brand in the Philippines!

The newly launched Magnum Ice Cream is a smooth and creamy ice cream bar coated with a thick layer of Belgian chocolate. It comes in 3 variants – Classic, Almond and Truffle. Belgian chocolate is one of the best worldwide. All other chocolates are usually measured against this gourmet standard. When you hear of a Belgian chocolatier, you know that person adheres to traditional techniques and uses the best quality ingredients. Most expensive and luxurious chocolates in the market use Belgian chocolate.

What is an ice cream launch without a taste test? Of course, everyone got a chance to try out all the Magnum Ice Cream variants. I did not have room in my tummy for them all so I just chose Almond.

Here we go…
Lots of almonds! Yum, yum, yum…

You can tell when an ice cream bar’s chocolate layer is well made. When you bite into it, the chocolate covering does not crumble all over, dripping you with chocolate and vanilla goo all over. Instead, you hear what they call the signature crack. A piece of Belgian chocolate enters your mouth first, followed by a smooth and creamy vanilla ice cream filling. That’s exactly how I describe my first Magnum experience.

Maybe you’re thinking that because it has Belgian chocolate, it is expensive. Surprise, surprise. Each ice cream bar will only cost PhP 50! And it will be distributed in supermarkets and retail stores, including 7-Eleven.

The 3 Magnum variants being introduced

Magnum Ice Cream is a collaborative effort between Unilever (Magnum is its biggest global brand) and RFM, the company behind the Selecta ice cream brand. RFM and Unilever said that they really worked hard to make this brand available to everyone at an affordable price. I found out that it’s very popular in European and Asian countries where it has a presence. Known Hollywood celebrities have endorsed it such as Eva Longoria, Eva Mendes, Ivanka Trump and Rachel Bilson. At the launch, we were introduced to Magnum’s local brand ambassadors that include Liz Uy, Solenn Heusaff (endorser), Rajo Laurel, Tessa Prieto-Valdes, Erwan Heusaff and Raymond Gutierrez.

Some of Magnum’s brand ambassadors

My son and his friends will probably be some of the happiest boys now that their favorite comfort food in China is available locally. And those of you have have tried Magnum during your trips abroad can now have it any time you want without having to go out of the country.

As for me, I am looking forward this weekend to trying the Classic and Truffle variants in my freezer before deciding which one is my favorite flavor.

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Magnolia’s holiday flavors are here!

The Magnolia ice cream plant-cum-soda-fountain along Aurora Boulevard was a favorite haunt of the family. I remember as kids we’d celebrate quite a few birthdays and other events there. Who wouldn’t love the soda fountain, a dream come true for kids where you could have a wide choice of sundaes, splits and parfaits, among others.

The ice cream plant was a favorite field trip destination for schools too. I vividly remember my batch going to the ice cream plant for a tour. We were fascinated by the thought that we were inside Ice Cream Kingdom. Entering the warehouse-sized freezer where the finished ice cream products were sold was quite an experience as we donned heavy woolen coats. Watching ice cream artists put the finishing touches on an ice cream cake was a treat as well. And of course, a field trip was not complete without that one last touch – free Magnolia Delights from a cart greeted you as you finished the tour.

When the ice cream recipe and its plant were sold to Nestle, I remember wondering WHY. After all, Magnolia was the #1 ice cream then. Well, whatever their reason then was, what’s important now is that they’re back and ready to provide the same, loved Magnolia ice cream to the public.

The new ice cream plant is located in Sta. Rosa, Laguna. And while the old flavors are slowly coming back, Magnolia has introduced three (3) new holiday flavors that will be available till February 2011 in supermarkets and groceries, Monterey outlets nationwide and selected Petron Treats and Shops.

At a recent blogger event, we were introduced to all 3 flavors.

CARAMEL CHEESECAKE – Cheesecake bits with streaks of caramel ripple in a caramel ice cream base

Caramel Cheesecake

APPLE STRUDEL – Apple cinnamon bits with crushed chocolate pretzels swirled with a combination of green and red apple ripple and enhanced with creamy vanilla flavor

Apple Strudel

VANILLA PRALINE – Cashew praline with streaks of caramel ripple in a vanilla ice cream base

Vanilla Praline

These holiday flavors come in 1.5L in-mould labeling with tub wrap. The labels are not stuck onto the cover as with other brands. For these flavors, all around the tub are the creative works of Filipino artists.

The kids’ and my personal favorites are actually the Vanilla Praline and Caramel Cheesecake, though I was told that some company employees who tried the Apple Strudel liked it. I think the European flavor of Apple Strudel is initially foreign to the Pinoy tongue but eventually, people acquire a taste for it.