Starweek Magazine

Ice cream and memories

Lydia Castillo - The Philippine Star

Who would not remember the local mamang sorbetero peddling ice cream in many neighborhoods! The apa was always crispy and sweet. The flavors? Ube and mantecado. Even if the big players came, employing more modern techniques to produce this all-time favorite dessert, the kariton continued, even invading the glossy areas such as the Makati commercial district. One expat airline manager was wide-eyed, amazed, at seeing some office workers ‘sandwiching’ their ice cream in pan de sal. A prominent gentleman would always ask, “Okay, where do we get our ice cream?” even after a hearty meal.

“Memories” was the theme of the “Ice Cream Journey” recently mounted by Selecta, the Manila Peninsula and Unilever Foodsolutions, who asked their guests to come with someone special. Memories of the first multi-flavored bowl of Pen Pals ice cream (seven full scoops in one large glass then, 17 to 24 now) offered by the hotel shortly after it opened its doors to Manilans in 1976. Guests – foreign and local – marveled at this sumptuous concoction, sometimes skipping a meal to enjoy the giant dessert. And the Pen halo-halo – who can forget their first huge bowl of ice cream and sweetened fruits at the lobby of the hotel? Sharing, the inevitable element in eating these desserts, definitely strengthened family and friendship ties.

Through the years, and for still a long time to come, these concoctions’ main element has been sumptuous servings of Selecta ice cream, which has, in the span of 60 years, evolved into the preferred item to cap a meal. We have fond memories of lunch at the old Selecta restaurant on Roxas Boulevard where we once held office, always punctuated with ice cream. A sibling, on the other hand, would not settle for anything but Selecta’s cheese ice cream.

And so it was that the three sponsoring companies laid out the Rigodon ballroom with fresh flowers, white table cloths and napkins, and bright lights. It was like being in a Spring event, lively and refreshing. From the start of the month, the Pen Lobby has served the new concoctions by the youngish executive chef Adam Mathis. He created an expanded line that focuses on the legendary quality of their chosen ice cream brand, that allow the “flavors to speak for themselves.” The resulting collection is beautiful in presentation and delightful in taste. Try their Pinoy with pistachio, choco hazelnut brownie and nutty pageboy. You’ll not leave your seat until the last drop is consumed.

Now for a memory of the meaty kind. For years, our selected food stuff would always include Purefoods Fiesta Ham, not only during the holiday season, but anytime the craving for something special would come up. We have been using this for breakfast, in our paella, embutido and other dishes. Recently, at the company’s culinary center in Ugong, Pasig, we discovered new ways to serve their Fiesta Ham, which now comes with the sweet pineapple and pine-raisin sauce.

Can you imagine an open-faced French toast? They call this new treat ham and eggs benedict on French toast. You need 12 slices of bread (any type), 3 whole eggs, 2 cups milk, one half teaspoon cinnamon, one half teaspoon salt, 1 cup butter, 24 slices of ham, 12 poached eggs. For the glaze – one half cup maple syrup, one half cup water, 1 tablespoon brandy, a pinch of cinnamon and one fourth cup raisins. Beat the eggs in a bowl, add milk and salt. Dip the bread, one at a time, and fry in butter. To assemble, place two pieces of cooked ham on toasted bread, top with poached egg. To make the glaze, mix all ingredients (except the raisins) in a saucepan. Allow to boil, then simmer to slight thickness. Add raisins just before removing from heat. Drizzle over the toast, ham, and eggs. Another unusual recipe is the meaty ham cupcakes, each topped with a swirl of mashed potatoes. We might print the recipe in the next issue.

Every time an announcement of price reduction is published in the papers and every time we call the attention of sellers to this, the reply would always be, “Sa dyario lang po iyan.” True enough, for an LPG replacement tank that was delivered very recently to us, we got only P40 discount instead of the proclaimed more than P100 reduction. Can this and other industries be better monitored?


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