It’s hard to believe that Pavlova Manila’s Au Fernandez started making the meringue-based dessert only this year. Her first attempt was on Valentine’s Day.
“It was a surprise for my husband,” she said.
Au asked a friend based in Australia to teach her how to make the tricky treat. “I couldn’t seem to perfect it, so I did my research and adopted it from several recipes before I finally came up with my own,” she explained.
Her pavlova was a big hit. Less than a month later, she started selling it—first to friends, then to friends of friends and then to strangers who spotted her beautiful strawberry-topped creations on Instagram.
That’s where we found Pavlova Manila, too. Seduced by images of the meringue cake and luscious berries, we placed an order, and we weren’t disappointed.
Fresh and light
Pavlova Manila’s pavlova is an absolute delight. The crisp meringue shell hides an airy, marshmallowy, canonigo-like center that is topped with fresh cream and strawberries. The symphony of textures melts in your mouth; it’s like eating fluffy, sugary clouds.
We demolished the entire cake in less than 10 minutes. And, like many other customers, we couldn’t wait to order again.
“Everything in it is fresh… It is sweet but not cloying. It’s what happens when crisp marries fluffy; just your kind of dessert when you want something fresh and light,” said Au.
Her customers agree. “[They say] that it’s a simple, straightforward dessert but very addicting; that it’s something you’ll always crave.”
Pavlova Manila’s bestseller is the eight-inch strawberry pavlova. An order costs P850 if you want it topped with Baguio strawberries and P1,250 if you want imported strawberries.
Au also makes an eight-inch mango-passion fruit pavlova for P850. If passion fruit is unavailable, she substitutes it with kiwi.
Mini pavlovas are available for order, too, at P1,250 for every dozen.
Pavlova Manila’s pavlova is also a great cake to bring to parties; it’s a crowd-pleaser and a scene-stealer. It’s super photogenic, too.
Au said: “I love the fact that a pavlova has a lot of character. It can have cracks and still look beautiful. [It’s] not as structured as the usual cakes, just perfectly imperfect.”
For Au, the work doesn’t stop when her customers pick up their orders: “I see to it that my product reaches my customer as much as possible in good form, so I probably am more makulit sa text than my customers!”
Here are some of the tips she texts them: “The ultimate rule: Pavlova is best eaten fresh, meaning a few hours upon pickup. The sooner the better. This is to ensure that they make the most of their order—for them to enjoy it while the shell is still crispy. It may be refrigerated and can last up to two days if stored properly, ideally in an airtight container. But do not freeze. Also, long transit time is not advisable as it is very delicate. Maximum of one-hour travel in an air-conditioned vehicle is advisable.”
This “accidental baker,” who used to work in a hotel, a BPO and a pharmaceutical company, is relishing her new passion.
“Our pavlovas are baked with a lot of love,” she said.
Follow @pavlova_mnl on Instagram. To order, text 09989849879. Orders must be placed two days in advance. Pavlovas are available for pickup only.