The dramatic improvement of the food scene in our country has made it very difficult to compete in this market, what with the influx of foreign chefs, foreign-educated Pinoy chefs, new ingredients, the easy access to recipes on the internet, etc.
All these factors have also changed the food market. Sweets that we found so good growing up are no longer as appealing today. Simply put, our standards have gone up. Good for us consumers!
But, there are a few that have withstood the steep competition and are still standing tall today. Classics—such as Max’s Fried Chicken, or Barrio Fiesta’s Crispy Pata (although a lot of good patas are coming up).
Ma Mon Luk or Masuki Siopao is still my siopao of choice, and Estrelle’s caramel cake, now passed on to the younger generation, remains my comfort cake.
Estrelle’s has an outstanding cookie in its signature Lengua de Gato with Toasted and Shaved Almonds. It’s nutty and addicting; I can down a tub in one sitting. I also love with its sans rival. Chilled, crunchy, creamy, mildly sweet and a bit salty, it is such a winner.
I used to enjoy classic apple pie with caramel sauce, but many newer cakes are giving this treat a run for its money in my book.
Cookie Monster’s Chocolate Cake was such a hit in the ’70s, and I always had a constant craving for it. I got hold of the recipe from a friend, Tessa Tayag. Unfortunately I lost it. Some recent outstanding ones I’ve come across include Ginny de Guzmans’s Gustare Truffle cake (0917-8350820), Mai Ote’s Chocolate Cake (0917-5330443) and Dolcellate’s Valrhona Chocolate Cakes (0915-9129038).
There is one cake I still dream about after all these years. It was given to me by a friend, Karen Cancio. It is called Chocolate Velvet. I’ve tried many cakes here and abroad but this one I constantly crave for. I guess it’s the quality of Belgian Chocolate used; this cake will be up there with the great ones of today.
A couple of weeks back, I bumped into Sylvia Cancio. A longtime fixture in the food business, she was a partner of my mom in the once popular Thai restaurant Mai Thai in Edsa Central. Now, she has a new vegetarian restaurant called Live Life Vegetarian restaurant (2240 Chino Roces Ave., Makati).
When I saw her, the Cancio Chocolate Velvet cake flashed in my mind. I knew that that cake was tucked in Sylvia’s memory somewhere. In fact, when her sister Karen moved abroad, Sylvia became my supplier of this cake.
In no time, I was given a whole Chocolate Velvet. Oh, how I missed this so much. It is a simple unassuming chocolate cake chilled with a thin base of chiffon, topped with deep dark rich chocolate mousse and covered with superior Belgian Chocolate as the icing.
It is creamy, mildly salty, not too sweet, smooth—a chocoholic’s dream and a dieter’s nightmare. Patay ang diet mo for sure.
I wanted my family to try this. Remember, when you taste something you love, the first people you think of are your loved ones. That’s what this cake did to me when I tasted it again. Love it.
I admire those cakes or savory dishes that, despite of the new hits on the block, are still making waves today. Sylvia Cancio’s Chocolate Velvet is definitely one of them.
Chocolate Velvet (0917-8352102).
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