It was like being in Fantasy Land, a universe away from the city’s traffic and incessant noise. One table was dominated by ghouls and ghosts, bats and bloody fingers, skulls and spiders and other creepy creatures. Luckily they were of the edible variety, made with creamy frosting, marshmallow fondant, chocolate ganache and other delectable ingredients.
Until the end of the month, they’ll be available at Marriott Manila’s Café Bakery, where Halloween scares and outrageous treats are taken seriously by the pastry staff.
Not to be outdone, Christmas delights beckoned on the opposite end of the room. The dazzling display included winged angels made of milk and white chocolates, light and airy French macarons, hand-painted reindeer cookies and gingerbread men, and Santa with a big belly, made of creamy Swiss chocolate.
Beaming with delight as he presented all these to the media was Marriott’s executive chef Meik Brammer. Perhaps because he hails from Germany, he seemed especially proud of the stollen, a festive bread of German origin filled with candied fruits, citrus peel, raisins and almonds, all spiced up with ginger and cinnamon and dusted with icing sugar.
It’s somewhat like fruitcake, but lighter and without the brandy, and makes a great breakfast or snack, especially when paired with coffee or tea.
When preparing the Christmas goodies, Brammer said he considered not only the customers but also his staff, who have asked him for tips on what they can give the people on their list. Hence he created the pan de coco with three different fillings: red velvet, eggnog custard and Christmas spice. At P200 per pack of six, all tied with Marriott’s signature ribbon, it makes an impressive enough gift without hurting one’s wallet, said Brammer.
The other Christmas treats are affordable, too. A gingerbread man costs P65; 24 holiday cookies, P340; big belly chocolate Santa, P300; the stollen, P500; and chocolate angel, P380.
For corporate gift-giving, Brammer presented hampers of two sizes. The classic hamper, containing Christmas pumpkin seed bread, gourmet jam spiced apple, dark fruit cake, a can of Malagos chocolate from Davao, milk chocolate almond Christmas tree, oversized cookie collection, chocolate angel, gingerbread, and a bottle of red wine costs P3,999.
A mini hamper, on the other hand, costs just P2,000 and includes 24 holiday cookies, two gingerbread men, chocolate Santa in a sleigh, stollen bread and a spiced apple gourmet jam.
Those who would rather not cook their own Noche Buena can order a complete feast of whole roasted turkey with stuffing, with a choice of either mushroom gravy or cranberry sauce, plus sidings of garlic mashed potatoes, rosemary glazed carrots, Brussels sprouts and pancetta, creamy potato salad, and two desserts: pecan and pumpkin pies.
Brammer said he has even lowered the price for these. At P5,999, it costs about P1,000 less than last year’s price.
Smoked bone-in ham
Another choice would be five kilos of smoked bone-in ham at P4,999. The package includes roasted baby potatoes, duo of creamy potato salad, rosemary glazed carrots, buttered mixed vegetables like young corn, green beans, mushrooms and cauliflower and sauce options of mushroom gravy or pineapple.
The apple pie that comes with the package is chockfull of apples and raisins, while the pumpkin pie, with its flaky crust and creamy filling, tastes very traditional.
“We are so proud of our holiday selection this year and we’re eager for our guests to try all these goodies,” said director of marketing and communications Mitch Garcia.