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‘Lifestyle’s Best Desserts,’ year 3, draws huge crowd

With 96 all-new dessert creations at the book launch, it’s become an agenda-setter, too
/ 03:01 AM February 09, 2017

Foodies marched out of the SM Aura Premier convention center on Monday night with boxes of desserts, as if Willy Wonka switched to cakes and pastries and gave them all away for free.

But instead of the eccentric chocolatier, it was Inquirer Lifestyle hosting the launch of “Best Desserts 3,” the third of its yearly anthology of the country’s most sumptuous confections.

Written by Lifestyle staff writer Vangie Baga-Reyes, the new book features 96 desserts created by 80 different makers, including five-star hotels, restaurants, famous chefs, homemakers and budding restaurateurs.

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The sugar-laden creations were served in several long tables sprawled inside SM Aura’s SMX center—a feast that celebrated both the book and the desserts recognized this year.

It was also the first time tickets were sold to the public, with the proceeds going to Gota de Leche, a 120-year-old Sampaloc-based nonprofit that holds nationwide feeding programs for indigent children and breastfeeding mothers.

Lifestyle editor Thelma San Juan, “Best Desserts” author Vangie Baga-Reyes, PDI president and CEO Sandy Romualdez-Prieto and Inquirer Books editor Ruel de Vera

Lifestyle editor Thelma San Juan, “Best Desserts” author Vangie Baga-Reyes, PDI president and CEO Sandy Romualdez-Prieto and Inquirer Books editor Ruel de Vera

Yummiest event

“This is our yummiest event in the Inquirer; we are so happy it has gotten bigger and bigger each year,” noted Inquirer President and CEO Sandy Prieto-Romualdez.

Regulars from the two previous Best Dessert events held in the same venue noted that the foot traffic this year was much heavier. Dessert makers and their guests already numbered more than 600. This did not include walk-in guests who bought tickets.

Dessert fans are apparently fond of mash-ups this year. Confections that combined two (or sometimes three) treats were a hit. Salted egg has carved its spot as a rising star among dessert ingredients.

The Black Gold Egg Custard Bun by Conrad Hotel was a mystical blend    of salty and sweet in the form of chocolate cake and salted egg.

Goto Monster Ice Cream distributed teeny cups of bibingka ice cream topped with slivers of salted egg, while Yvette Hipolito of Joconde Cakes and Pastries churned out a salted egg yema cake.

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Queso de bola  also held court with chef Sunshine Pengson of Gourmandise by Sunshine taking the traditional Christmas dairy and giving it a sugary spin via Queso de Bola Sans Rival, which had guests coming back for up to fourth servings.

Mara dela Rama Poblete of Dessert du Jour served a queso de bola cheesecake.

The youngest member of this year’s crop is  a bemedaled skater. After a knee injury forced her to temporarily halt her regular skating schedule, 16-year-old Sabine Katigbak of Patisserie Sabine busied herself with baking.

“I would bake with my friends but I also baked at home. My younger brother Xavi loves Milo so I experimented in the kitchen and tried to come up with a Milo-based cookie,” she told Inquirer Lifestyle.

It took a while before she got the right consistency, one that her nine-year-old brother approved of.

The result, served at the Best Desserts launch, was a thin, chewy cookie that was unmistakably Milo—in cookie form.

Czarina Ablaza, Dizon, Hoon Sung, Gene Gonzalez, Baba Ibazeta-Benedicto, Angeliza Atanacio, Edna Gonzales, Anna Gonzales, Anton Benitez, Karl Patrick Ramos, Dominique Sabine Katigbak, Badjie Trinidad and Christine Paredes —PHOTOS BY LEOM. SABANGAN IIANDJILSON SECKLER TIU

Czarina Ablaza, Dizon, Hoon Sung, Gene Gonzalez, Baba Ibazeta-Benedicto, Angeliza Atanacio, Edna Gonzales, Anna Gonzales,
Anton Benitez, Karl Patrick Ramos, Dominique Sabine Katigbak, Badjie Trinidad and Christine Paredes —PHOTOS BY LEOM. SABANGAN IIANDJILSON SECKLER TIU

Memorable mash-ups

Other memorable mash-ups were chef Jessie Sincioco and chef Noreen de Guzman’s Green Tea Matcha Cheesecake and Ube Leche Flan by Angelicah.

Pepita’s Kitchen reprised its 2013 Best Dessert called Super Suman—an over-the-top mash-up of sticky rice, mango, ChocNut, jackfruit, yema, pili nuts, pastillas de leche, peanut kisses and macapuno.

Dusit Hotel’s Khanom Tako reminded one of maja blanca from long-ago childhood meriendas, while Wicked by Cravings’s malted cookie shards looked like they were torn out of the cookie house in Hansel and Gretel.

Pepita’s truffle lechon—while technically not a dessert—drew the longest line and was wiped out in less than an hour.

Many other participants also took the occasion to showcase non-dessert products like paella, Ceasar salad, chicken salad and crispy pork belly “for free mileage.”

Guests said Monday’s event could already be considered a major national food event. This year also marked the inclusion of a Visayas-based participant—Marco Polo Plaza Cebu, which flew in several staff to Manila to present its hugely popular Malicious cookies.

Lifestyle editor Thelma San Juan, who conceptualized the book and the event three years ago,  was on hand to entertain guests, including French ambassador Thierry Mathou, Monthip Upatising (wife of Thailand Ambassador Thanatip), honorary consul to Guatemala Mellie Ablaza, former Sen. Nikki Coseteng, basketball player Chris Lutz (co-owner of Mudpie Heaven restaurant), Ben Chan, Keren Pascual, Tonichi Nocom and the feisty Agot Isidro who had to oblige numerous fans with selfies during the event.

Dessert makers: Michelle Dinglasan Tomacruz, Ana Lorenzana de Ocampo, Maricel Cunanan, Carmela Villegas-Agosta, Dedet de la Fuente, Felino Afable, Miko Aspiras, Angela Villoria Tolentino, Jessica Tan, Franz Presinede, Prieto-Romualdez and Bryan Prieto

Dessert makers: Michelle Dinglasan Tomacruz, Ana Lorenzana de Ocampo, Maricel Cunanan, Carmela Villegas-Agosta, Dedet de la
Fuente, Felino Afable, Miko Aspiras, Angela Villoria Tolentino, Jessica Tan, Franz Presinede, Prieto-Romualdez and Bryan Prieto

Tedious process

Inquirer CEO Romualdez, assisted by SM senior vice president for marketing Millie Dizon, handed certificates to the dessert makers recognized this year.

In her remarks, Romualdez pointed out the tedious process that Lifestyle’s Baga-Reyes goes through to come out with a new list of Best Desserts.

“They always go through before-and-after [tests] in the Inquirer before she does the Best Desserts. We try to weigh ourselves and we try to keep our weight, but today’s [food] is guilt-free. There are no calories in anything that you’re eating because you’re also giving,” she told guests.

“Vangie has worked tirelessly on this book. The vision that Vangie has had with the rest of the team has been to really support dessert makers whether they be at home, just starting off. We are very proud of the fact that we actually spotted them [first],” Romualdez added.

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DulceMagat-Gibb’s rustic and country-themed booth

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Dessert makers: Dizon, Marlon Apolinar, Carolyn Lee, Chris Lutz, Ashley Cayuca, Hazel Valdez, PereMoreno, Jean Hill, Audrey Ty, Jannelyn Tan, Marixi Prieto and Paolo Prieto

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Baga-Reyes, Dizon, PBA player Chris Lutz, Ashley Cayuca, PDI chair Marixi Prieto and Paolo Prieto

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Dessert makers: Dan Alfred Taed, Dizon, Victoria Carlos, Diana Ang Uy and daughter Nicole Bianca, Luis Mercado, Pearl de Guzman, Patrick Obia, Angelique Llantada, Candee Yutankin, Dimpy Camar and Ann Puno

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Dessert makers: Mara de la Rama-Poblete, Jomel Salas, Bernadette Nosce, Philip Moran, Theresa Acedillo Lapuz,Marissa Luminarias, Honeybon representative, Marge San Diego-Laxa and Reina Bautista-Garcia and representatives from Diamond Hotel and Eastwood Richmonde Hotel —PHOTOS BY LEOM. SABANGAN IIANDJILSON SECKLER TIU

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Dessert makers: Yvette Hipolito, Roselyn Tiangco Siapno, Justin Baradas and Enderun representative, Eng Yew Khor, Bellevue Manila representative, Dave Cervantes, Joy Santos, Tonette Almazan, Michelle Gonzales, Alex del Hovo, Dizon, Ann Abacan and Gina Villanueva

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Chef Christine Paredes presents the Malted Cookie Shards by Wicked by Cravings.

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Conrad Manila’s executive Chinese chef Eng Yew Khor and actress Agot Isidro

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Michele Sison and JunJun Ablaza

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Mr. and Mrs. Augusto Villalonwith Ambassador Virgilio Reyes

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TheMercado family—Luis, Margie and Romy

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Ingrid Chua and Margie

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Former Sen. Nikki Coseteng

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Charisse Chuidian of City of Dreams

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Inquirer Lifestyle columnist Cory Quirino

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Fashion designer Eddie Baddeo

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Dessert makers Karla Denise Ilacad, Sunshine Pengson, Noreen de Guzman, Linda Montenegro Morelos, Rebecca Paras Villegas, Prieto-Romualdez, Dulce Magat-Gibb, Gina Lopez, Gel Salonga, SM SVP for communications Millie Dizon and Pixie Rodrigo Sevilla

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City of Dreams’ huge floral decor shaped like amango. Its best dessert entry is Mango Pound Cake.

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Mara dela Rama-Poblete and Lifestyle columnist Sandy Daza

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Czarina Syquia-Ablaza, chef Jessie Sincioco and Mellie Ablaza

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Pepita’s Kitchen’s popular Lechon de Leche

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Enderun’s Ube Mont Blanc

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Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria chef Marlon Apolinar adds Dulce Magat-Gibb’s rustic and country-themed booth finishing touches to their desserts.

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Pistachio Cake by Ann Puno

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Carrot Cream Dream mini cakes by Gina Lopez

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Gay Vazquez and her spread of strawberry shortcakes

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Anna Rodrigo showcases her mango cheesecake and revel bars.

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Ben Chan, Heny Sison, Keren Pascual

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Dessert makers: Marita Laddaran, Dusit Thani Manila representatives, Bea Pimentel Aquino, Judy Lao, Rossana Hwang, Christian Talento, Gay Vazquez,Heny Sison, Tita Soliongco and Anna Rodrigo

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Dina Abdullah Enriquez

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Marybeth and Jerry Kilayko, Lucille Villanueva

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French consul Christian Hue and Annette Ablan

Dessert lovers gather at SMX Convention at SMAura at the launch of Best Desserts 3. —LEOM. SABANGANII

Dessert lovers gather at SMX Convention at SMAura at the launch of Best Desserts 3. —LEOM. SABANGANII

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