Thursday, November 22, 2012

Lifestyle list of Best Desserts 2012

‘Tis the season to be jolly and extra sweet! So, make your holidays doubly sweet with our 2012 list of Best Desserts. From refreshing gelato treats and homemade ganache chocolate cakes to brandy-infused prune cakes and super suman with a twist—all these are guaranteed to whet your sweet appetite. Enjoy!


Come-on: An impressive dessert both to the eyes and palate, bursting with the fruity flavors of blueberry, strawberry and vanilla gelato on a crust of crushed graham. The beautifully crafted artisan gelato cake makes for great gifts, or simply for indulging yourself.

Cara Mia has a wide range of tempting gelato cakes, but if you must settle for two more sinful sweets, go for Di Lusso, a neat combo of pistachio, chocolate and strawberry gelato covered in a layer of rich chocolate ganache; and Mango Passion, mango chunks blended in gelato arranged in layers of rich shortbread pie crust and topped with strips of mango slices.

Cost: P134/slice; P1,280/whole
Creator: Cara Mia of Amici (Tessie Moran and Philip Moran)
Call: Don Bosco, Makati, tel. 8184444; Greenhills, San Juan, 7244804; Ayala Triangle Gardens, Makati, 6216111; Tomas Morato, QC, 3766458; SM Megamall Atrium, Mandaluyong, 6361340; Alabang Town Center, Muntinlupa City, 4039373; Venice Piazza, Taguig City, 5551000; Robinsons Galleria, Ortigas Center, Pasig; Robinsons Place, Manila; and UP Ayala Technohub

Come-on: Two layers of fluffy meringue embellished with walnuts and whipped cream. The sweetness comes from the peaches, which also add a comforting flavor base for the entire slab. It has creamy flavor you don’t want to miss.

Cost: P160/slice; P1,400/whole. Available daily. For bulk orders, call two days in advance. For pick up and delivery for a minimum fee.

Creator: Nic’s Gourmet Desserts (Rina Go)
Call: 5711818, 3549081 and 0999-9933231; 172 A. Mabini St. Addition Hills, San Juan City; visit www.facebook/nicsbakeshop

Come-on: Plain-sounding, but this Cassava Cake topped with grated cheese and coconut milk is simply divine. Dr. Boy Vazquez takes pride in the old family recipes which he has tweaked and further improved, such as this homey afternoon delight. Unlike the typical cassava that’s thick and too heavy on the tummy, this version is served warm, soft and made creamier with a butterscotch-like sauce.

Cost: P89/serving
Creator: Café Juanita (Dr. Boy Vazquez)
Call: 6320357 and 7101562;  19 West Capitol Drive, Barrio Kapitolyo, Pasig City.


Come-on: Desserts at Restaurant 101 are simple but they hit the sweet spot. Like the Louie XV, dark silky smooth chocolate ganache over crispy luscious praline bar and adorned with edible gold leaves for that royal effect. This dessert can only be savored in two restaurants in the world: Enderun and Alain Ducasse’s three-star Michelin restaurant in Monaco.

Louie XV is made fresh every day, and we just heard that no student can graduate without knowing how to execute this heavenly dessert. It has a nice biscuit-like crunch, and the way the chocolate melts in your mouth is unforgettable.

Cost: P260/order. Dine-in only.
Creator: Restaurant 101, Enderun Colleges
Call: 8565000; 1100 Campus Avenue, McKinley Hill, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig.

Come-on: A treat that pays homage to dessert god Pierre Herme. Ispahan showcases macaron shells crammed with fresh raspberries, lychee (in the middle) and rose essence, and further enhanced with a velvety Chantilly cream. It has just the right amount of fruity flavor. Great when paired with Salted Caramel Ice Cream.

Cost: P280/order. For dine-in and take out.
Creator: The Cake Club by Diamond Hotel Manila.
Call: 6213176; Bonifacio High Street Central, 7th Street, BGC, Taguig; Power Plant Mall, Rockwell, Makati.

Come-on: Cool your palate with the refreshing Gianduja Amara, which has chunks of Ferrero Rocher chocolate, crushed pistachio, chocolate ganache and raspberry coulis. It makes for a magical finish to a memorable meal.

Cost: P366/order. Dinner only. The gelato is also part of the buffet selection at Marriott Café. Buffet costs  P1,550 for lunch and P1,650 for dinner on weekday; P1,550 lunch, P1,850 dinner on weekend;  P2,000 for Sunday brunch.

Creator: Cru Steakhouse, Marriott Hotel Manila
Call: 9889999 loc. 8109; Lobby Level, No. 10, Newport Boulevard, Marriott Hotel Manila, Newport City Complex, Pasay City.


Come-on: Dedet de la Fuente’s dessert is a unique, playful, out-of-the-box creation. The festive Super Suman is gorgeously arranged in a big bilao and peppered with all-time favorite sweets—macapuno balls, fresh mangoes, langka balls, pili nut, choc nut, yema, sweetened langka, ube pastillas with latik on the side. It is a feast for the eyes as well as for the taste buds. Each Super Suman takes around four hours to make.

Cost: P2,500/order. Earliest time of pickup is 11:30 a.m.  The suman, covered with banana leaf, is best eaten on the day of pickup. But the leftovers, if any, can be refrigerated and eaten cold or can be microwaved.

Creator: Dedet de la Fuente
Call 4254605 and 0917-8660662. No. 6 San Pablo St., Magallanes Village, Makati City


Come-on: Ube Cake with two layers of fluffy ube chiffon, accentuated with homemade ube jam as filling and enrobed with buttery frosting made more flavorful with more ube jam. The ube is very fresh, light and not overwhelming at all.

Also try her Chocolate Blackout Cake, one layer of deep dark chocolate cake hiding beneath a blanket of luxurious chocolate ganache, covered with chocolate shavings and a dusting of powdered sugar.

Cost: P550 for an eight-inch cake. Three days advance notice requested to ensure product freshness.

Creator: Dorothy Ferreria of Dorothy’s Cooking School
Call 7239722 and 0919-5669977. For pickup only at Hemady St., New Manila, QC.

Come-on: Chef Tatung jazzes up a traditional Filipino favorite with its pandan-flavored pichi-pichi (steamed cassava dumpling), which comes with melted leche flan and grated quezo de bola, then brûléed on top for that smokey flavor. It’s soft, warm and chewy. The combination of ingredients creates a nice balance of salty and sweet, especially with the sharpness of the quezo de bola.

Cost: P100/order (with three cassava dumplings). For dine-in and takeout. Better to consume right away.

Creator: Chef Tatung Restaurant (chef Michael Giovan Sarthou)
Call 6617703 and 4665390. Molave Lane, Acacia Estates, Brgy. Ususan, Taguig City

Come-on: From The Vegetarian Kitchen comes this creamy, zesty Orange Cheesecake, which is ideal for vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. Not so dense, but the extra smooth cheesecake melts in your mouth. Instead of the usual graham crust, it has a buttercrust base.

Tita Soliongco and her pastry-loving kids Kiko and Camille have made sure their desserts are low-calorie and great for dieters and weight watchers. The desserts don’t call for much sugar and dairy. Their other bestsellers include Apple Pie Cheesecake, Eggless Dark Chocolate Cake and Vegan Carrot Cake—all nicely paired with Soy Coffee.

Cost: P140/slice; P900/whole. For dine-in and pickup only. Call two days in advance.

Creator: The Vegetarian Kitchen (Tita Soliongco)
Call 5447733, 0915-8300511 and 0906-4362533. No. 62-B Mother Ignacia Ave., Brgy. Paligsahan, QC. Operating hours: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and 5 p.m.-9 p.m.
Come-on: Who can resist the combination of chocolate cake, hazelnut mousse and wafer? This rich chocolate-based cake is infused with smooth hazelnut mousse nestled in layers of crisp chocolate wafer and dressed up with crunchy Loacker wafers. The surprise: It’s not as sweet as one might expect.

Also try Cravings’ Mango Sans Rival, three layers of chewy meringue with fresh mangoes covered with white chocolate shavings and mango syrup.

Cost: P790/8-inch cake; P130/junior 4-inch cake
Creator: Cravings Restaurant
Call Cravings, 287 Katipunan Ave., Loyola Heights, QC, 4334498; 5/L Shangri-La Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong, 6356672; 31/F, Fraser Place Serviced Residences, Makati, 8154271; 3/L Chefs Avenue, Festival Supermall, Alabang, 8504437; 3/L Eastwood Mall, Libis, QC, 4703500; 2/F Il Terrazzo Lifestyle Mall, QC, 6685845; and Molito Complex, Madrigal Ave., Alabang, 0915-6219211. Visit

Come-on: A welcome change from the usual holiday desserts is this Riped Mango with Sticky Rice. It’s light and tasty, but do not be deceived; before you know it, you might find that you’ve finished more than half of it. The sliced mangoes blend perfectly well with the sweet sticky rice.

Cost: P190++. For dine-in only.

Creator: Benjarong Royal Thai Restaurant, Dusit Thani Manila
Call 8673333; Mezzanine Level, Dusit Thani Manila, Edsa cor. Pasay Road, Ayala Center, Makati. Operating hours: daily, 12 p.m.-2:30 p.m. (lunch); 6 p.m.-10 p.m. (dinner)
Come-on: Halo-halo for a cake? Yes, UCC has taken the most-loved Filipino dessert and transformed it into a cake, one with layers and layers of soft ube chiffon, leche flan, ube halaya and cream, plus caramelized banana, langka, macapuno and red beans. It’s served with cornflakes-topped nangkasuy ice cream. Every spoon is filled with clumps and clusters of the sweet stuff—perfect for the holidays!

Cost: P250/slice; P1,650/whole

Creator: UCC branches
Call 6594408 or visit 2/F Resorts World Manila, Newport City, Pasay; The Clubhouse, Corinthian Hills, Temple Drive, QC; 3/F Greenbelt 5, Makati; Tomas Morato Plaza, QC; 59 Connecticut St., Greenhills; G/F The Podium, Ortigas Center; 2/F Main Mall, SM Mall of Asia, Pasay; 5/L, Rustan’s Makati; (UCC Café Terrace) 26th St., Forbestown Center, BGC, Taguig; G/F Paseo Center, Salcedo Village, Makati; G/F Lucky Chinatown Mall, Binondo; G/F One Rockwell Center, Makati; Central Westgate Center, Alabang; 1/L Midtown Wing, Robinson’s Place, Manila; Lobby Level, TriNoma, QC; G/F The Terraces, Ayala Center Cebu, Cebu City; (Park Café) G/F Dell Building, Eastwood Mall Promenade, Bagumbayan Libis, QC; Burgos Circle, BGC, Taguig; Glorietta 3 Park, Ayala Center, Makati

Come-on: Gorge on this moist, velvety three-layered chocolate cake with Valhrona ganache filling. For a goosebump effect, it has chopped prunes and rum infused in the cake. This is the baker’s own interpretation of the late Pope John Paul II’s favorite chocolate cake.

Cost: P2,000/three layers; P1,500 two layers; additional P500 per layer. For pickup only. Order three days in advance.

Creator: Sweet Serendipities (Christian Talento)
Call 0927-9831938

Come-on: A decadent three-layered chocolate cake with tons of chocolate ganache, finished off with beautiful, intricate rosette designs on top.
Cost: P900/8-inch round cake. Order three days in advance. For pickup only.
Creator: Au’s by Aurora Su Calubad
Call 0917-5359459; e-mail aurora.calubad
Come-on: Bring your holiday meal to a satisfying close with these Nutella-filled desserts—rich chocolate cupcakes with pure gooey Nutella centers topped with, what else, more Nutella buttercream. They taste as good as they look.

Cost: P550/box of nine pieces Call two days in advance.
Creator: Sinful Sweets by Joy Roxas
Call 0920-9518849. Pickup points: Salcedo Village, Makati (weekdays); Sta. Cecilia Village, Las Piñas (weekends).

Come-on: Brandy gives this cake a pronounced flavor that blends perfectly with the butter icing, walnuts and prunes. Delightfully creamy yet light enough, and ideal with a warm cup of coffee.
Cost: P695/7-inch round; P1,150/9-inch round. Call three days in advance, 8 a.m.-8 p.m., Monday to Saturday.

Creator: Butterbelle Bakeshop (Tani Bautista)
Call 5346359, 5322495, 0915-3106522 and 0917-5320816. Pickup only at 583 Tanglaw St., Mandaluyong City. Other pickup point: No. 8 San Antonio St., Brgy. Kapitolyo, Pasig.

Come-on: Risa Chocolates makes fresh and handmade treats using only pure cacao, plus fine complementary Pinoy ingredients such as pili nuts. The Chocolate Truffles are also made from pure chocolate with variants such as Cookie Dough, Cerveza Negra, Dark Rum, Orange. The Crave Bars include Coffee (crushed coffee beans on 60-percent Belgian chocolate; Roasted Milk with Pili (white chocolate with pili); Venezuela Milk with Hazelnuts (roasted hazelnuts plus Dark Milk chocolate that will make you swoon); 60-percent South Cotabato-Coco Sugar (a healthier version of organic, single-origin cacao, sweetened naturally with organic coco sugar.)
Cost: Chocolate Truffles, P450/box of 12 and P230/box of 6; Crave Bars (coffee and roasted milk with pili) P130/35g mini and P230/85g major, (Venezuela Milk) P300/85g major. Order two days in advance or three days for bulk orders. It offers door-to-door delivery and free drop-off delivery service.
Creator: Risa Chocolates (Pam Cinco and Paulyn Navales)
Call: 6223436, 0917-5657185 and 8527328. Website: and
Come-on: Churned by a vegan chef, this artisanal ice cream is dairy-free, egg-free, cholesterol-free, vegan and low-glycemic. A guiltless pleasure that tastes like the real thing. Flavors include vanilla bean, vanilla cacao nib, mint cacao nib, dark chocolate, coffee, black sesame, strawberry, mangoes and cream. Quality ingredients used in these creations are cold-pressed coconut milk, cashew milk (soy option), coconut sugar and real vanilla.
Cost: P350 for pint (½ liter); P700 for 1 liter; P1,300 for ½ gallon. For pickup only in Alabang.
Creator: Kitchen Revolution (Chef Marie Gonzalez)
Call: 0917-8945086. Visit, Currently scooping at Ritual, The Collective on Malugay St., Makati, and soon at Edgy Veggy, Brixton St., Pasig
Come-on: Nothing beats the sensation of biting into creamy, dense Quezo de Bola cheesecake nestled on a base of crushed cornflakes. Nice and light, not too salty or too sweet, and perfectly washed down with a rich and thick demitasse of hot chocolate or strong barako coffee.
Cost: P200/slice; P1,200/whole
Creator: Crisostomo (Chef Florabel Co-Yatco)
Call: 8469275, 2/F Newport Mall, Newport City, Pasay City; 7101693, 2/F Eastwood Mall, Libis, QC; 8690988, G/F Alabang Town Center; and 5028106, Solenad Lakeside Evozone, Nuvali, Sta. Rosa City

Come-on: Mara de la Rama-Poblete lives up to her well-earned sweet reputation, so to speak. She’s known for her Gateau de Crepe creations, but now she’s come up with Salted Caramel and Chocolate Torte—a concoction of crushed chocolate shortbread, chocolate ganache and chocolate “Pain de Genes” salted caramel mirror. It’s chocolaty-rich, luscious and stimulating. Just stay a little longer at the gym after eating the torte.

Cost: P1,200 for 9-inch round. Serves 10-12 people. Allow 48 hours lead time. For pickup only.
Creator: Dessert du Jour by Mara de la Rama-Poblete

Call: 8069511, 0917-8116272 (Mara) and 0917-8036272 (Shirley). Unit 51 Ecology Village, Dasmariñas Village Side, Gate 5 Edsa, Makati City.

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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

PAL eyes stake in Cayman Islands airline

Flag carrier Philippine Airlines is in negotiations to acquire as much as a 50-percent equity in the national airline of the Cayman Islands in what could be the long-awaited solution to the downgraded aviation safety status that has hounded local carriers since 2008.

PAL president Ramon Ang on Tuesday confirmed that both parties were in the process of working out a deal that could see both airlines coming to a mutually beneficial arrangement.

“Yes, we are currently in talks with Cayman Airways and the Cayman Islands government for a number of investment opportunities,” he said in a text message to the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

His statement comes after the government of Cayman Islands disclosed the deal, some details of which were published late Tuesday in the Caymanian Compass publication.

According to the publication, the Cayman Islands government was evaluating a proposal put forward by PAL—and one of its significant stakeholders, San Miguel Corp.—for a 50-percent stake in the small airline.
The scheme will call for Cayman Airways to issue new preferred shares that San Miguel will subscribe to. The fresh capital to be generated from the equity infusion will be used by the Cayman carrier to acquire new aircraft, which will then be rented out to PAL under a so-called “wet lease” agreement.

Under a wet lease deal, the aircraft are registered and domiciled in the Cayman Islands and flown, operated and maintained completely by Cayman Airways.

Cayman Airways’ Category 1 status with the US Federal Aviation Administration will allow the airline to mount additional flights between the Philippines and the US mainland.

The Cayman airline operates only four Boeing 737s and two De Havilland Twin Otter turboprops.

PAL, on the other hand, is prohibited from increasing its number of flights to the US mainland or replacing planes currently used for the route since the Philippines is under category 2 status with the FAA due to weaknesses in the local aviation regulator.

A statement released Tuesday by the Cayman Islands’ Ministry of Finance, Tourism and Development said its government was also in talks with San Miguel for the conglomerate to upgrade the infrastructure on the resort island chain, including modernizing one of its biggest airports.

“Cayman Airways is currently in discussions with Philippine Airlines to ascertain if there are ways for the two airlines to work together,” the statement said. “The exploration of this potential collaboration is covering a variety of areas, but includes reviewing the ability to code share, to provide aircraft operations and includes other strategic areas.”

“San Miguel Corp. is a multibillion-dollar company and has expressed great interest in investing in the Cayman Islands,” the statement added.

“We welcome this exploration of potential investment and trust that they will ultimately choose to invest in these islands. With their controlling ownership of PAL, there also appears to be some potential opportunities for Cayman Airways and the Cayman aviation sector, in general, to benefit from an investment by San Miguel Corp.”