Inquirer Lifestyle and SM Aura Premier once again put the spotlight on sweets at this year’s Best Desserts event, held to launch “Best Desserts 4,” the newest title in Vangie Baga-Reyes’ bestselling series.
“This is by far the most extensive and longest list of our best desserts. Our list grows every year because of our innovative bakers,” said Vangie.
Inquirer Lifestyle Editor Thelma Sioson San Juan conceptualized the Best Desserts list four years ago. “I noticed the very obvious resurgence of irresistible homemade desserts. Many, mostly women, were beginning to concoct cakes, brownies and the like in their homes. People were talking about the cakes of Baby Yulo, for instance. And before you knew it, each dessert maker was already doing it full-time and having a thriving business,” Thelma said.
The listings, which originally appeared in the pages of Lifestyle, spawned the “Best Desserts” series of books which then led to the birth of the Best Desserts events. Thelma said, “At one lunch, I told Millie (Dizon, of SM) what Vangie had told me that the dessert makers we listed were willing to bring their samples, but we had no venue. Millie offered SM Aura, which was newly opened then. We held it there and were overwhelmed by the huge turnout. As early as then we realised we had a flagship event in our hands.”
The bakers included in the book were honored at the event. “You guys are the best of the best,” said host Tessa Prieto-Valdes.
SMX Convention Center was transformed into a haven for dessert lovers where rows and rows of the country’s best pastry chefs, hotels, restaurant owners and bakers handed out samples of their sweetest, most decadent creations.
“All these people—purveyors, dessert lovers—coming together to celebrate dessert… It’s such a rare event,” said Miko Aspiras, an award-winning chef whose two desserts, Basque Burnt Cheesecake and 17-Layer Chocolate Cake are featured in the book.
Inquirer President and CEO Sandy Prieto-Romualdez was there to congratulate the bakers and to welcome the massive crowd. She said, “Everything you have here today are worth the calories. That’s what I told my friends too when I invited them.”
There was great energy at the launch, with people trying as many desserts as they could and cheering for the bakers onstage. It felt like a big, sugary party.
Gay Vazquez, whose Mud Pie and Canonigo are featured in the book, said, “Everyone is here, my friends, my cousins, all my relatives are here. Some of them went on leave just to come here.”
There were people of all ages including a lot of kids. Clearly this country’s love for dessert knows no bounds.
There are Best Desserts veterans whose other creations have appeared in the previous “Best Desserts” books and those who have found themselves on the list for the first time. “As a dessert lover, I usually refer to Inquirer Lifestyle’s Best Desserts list in search of the best cake, cookies, etc. Guess what?! This year, we made it to their list! What an honor!” posted The Blue Toque’s Mary Anne Ramos, whose Belgian Melt-In-Your-Mouth Chocolate Cake is in the book.
Dedet De La Fuente of Pepita’s Kitchen is a Best Desserts regular. She said, “It’s an honor. I have clients sending me emails from abroad saying they heard about me through the book. It reaches so many people. Whenever I bring my degustacion and my lechon abroad, I always bring one or two of my desserts and I tell them that they’re included in the Best Desserts lists of the Philippine Daily Inquirer.”
Her Biko Langka with Biko Tutong is in “Best Desserts 4.” And her booth was once again a huge hit, with people lining up not just for her desserts but also her famous truffle lechon. “The people are so excited. They want my lechon, my dessert and they love my setup which I really appreciate.”
The event was open to the public and people paid just P100 to get in. Proceeds from ticket sales will go to Gota De Leche, a foundation that provides nutritional and medical needs to marginalized children and breastfeeding mothers.
“This is the second year that we have been the beneficiary of Best Desserts. Kumain po kayong mabuti at isipin niyo na habang kumakain kayo ay nakakatulong din kayo,” Amaryllis Torres, the foundation’s newly elected president, told the crowd.
“Thank you to Inquirer Lifestyle for partnering with us… This event gets bigger and bigger each year. It’s wonderful to see this new generation of bakers emerging,” said Millie Dizon, SM’s senior vice president for marketing and communications.