Cara Mia’s durian gelato is heaven in a cone

OOH LA LAI - Lai S. Reyes (The Philippine Star) - June 5, 2014 - 12:00am

It looked like a cross between vanilla ice cream and mango sorbet, but its distinctive smell somewhat put me under a spell. For a brief moment, I just stood in front of the counter — with the gelato on a cone in hand  — and indulged in it with gusto.

Durian, the fierce, spinous, tropical “king of fruits,” is the latest addition to Cara Mia Gelateria’s offerings, but you won’t find the frozen delight on the display counter. Instead, there’s a small sign â€” that reads: “Durian Gelato” â€” with an appetizing photo of the fruit topped with two scoops of the custardy yellow treat. Just one scoop and I’m hooked.

Cara Mia’s durian gelato is heaven in a cone. It has a unique aroma, creamy but not overly sweet, and has real durian bits. It’s like eating the real fruit â€” only it’s frozen. 

“Compared to ice cream, gelato is more flavorful than ice cream because it’s made of quality and all-natural ingredients,” explains Danny Moran, president, Amici Foodservice Ventures Inc., during the opening of Cara Mia Gelato Cafe at Fairview Terraces in Quezon City.

“Our durian gelato tastes more natural because it’s made from the real fruit â€” not durian paste or concentrate. It’s my wife Tessie’s, favorite so we never settle for less. It’s also healthier than ice cream because it has less butterfat content,” he adds.

Danny, who also owns and operates Amici Pizza and Pasta, established Cara Mia in 2009 to introduce the healthy goodness of gelato and gelato cakes to the then ice cream-loving Filipinos. Now in its fifth year, Cara Mia has built its own identity â€” without confusing it with the Amici brand â€” and now offers savory dishes to complement its growing frozen desserts line.

“Cara Mia has been a work in progress from the very beginning. The last four years were spent perfecting our gelato, gelato cakes, and now, refrigerated cakes. And since Cara Mia is now a cafe, we’ve come up with filling snacks â€” sandwiches, pasta dishes, and soups â€” as well to go with your favorite gelato and cakes,” enthuses Danny.

The Ragu Lasagna (P195), for instance, is hearty, meaty, and cheesy. This baked pasta treat is layered with meat, Parmesan, and mozzarella cheese, and smothered with ragu sauce. But the Penne Rosa and Bacon tops my list. The al dente penne goes well with the smoky flavor of bacon and the creamy bechamel sauce.

“Unlike Amici, the dishes at Cara Mia Gelato Cafe aren’t all Italian,” notes Philip Moran, general manager/chief operating officer of Amici Foodservice Ventures Inc. “We actually have our slider version of the Chinese delicacy cua pao, which is pork belly with hoisin sauce in dinner rolls for a delectable bite.”  

The look of the cafe is also different from Amici.

“Cara Mia Gelato Cafe is whimsical. Upon entering, it’s like being transported to a magical place likeAlice in Wonderland,” notes Philip.

For summer, the premier gelateria introduced two new gelato flavors: Chocolate Therapy, chocolate gelato swirled and layered with chocolate sauce, baked fudge and cookie; and the Cookie Dough, swirled chocolate and vanilla gelato, layered with baked fudge and cookie dough. Both looked tempting, but I only had eyes for my durian gelato that time.

* * *

Cara Mia Gelato Café is at Ayala Fairview Terraces. It will open soon in TriNoma and Capitol Commons.

  • Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with