It is soothing to think that mine is a rather extensive food vocabulary, having grown up with books on cooking, cutlery and chocolates and studying in an HE-oriented school that constantly puts Goldilocks’ prints to shame. Words like blanch, vermicelli, gourmet, sear, decadent, and julienne bear crystal clear definitions in my head, but are rarely used in real life, having no opportunity for proper articulation given Manila’s modest and mainstream selections.
That was until we spied the royal blue box laced with the signature orange ribbon lounging in my cousin’s freezer.
That was the day we came across Dulcelin’s Mango Torte and forgot that hoi polloi was ever a word.
At first sight, the Mango Torte can be quite the temptress – dotted with dollops of whipped cream that seem to wave to the eager crowd. With mango slices generously plunging into the torte and a nougatine crust that packs in that butterscotch crunch—there can only be sweet bliss in every bite. While some people prefer the crust—peanut brittle lovers, rejoice—and others enjoy the massive mango flavor—yours truly—it’s the torrent of flavors and textures that makes Mango Torte, the premium buy. It does away with the watered down cream or mango preserves that commercially baked goods erroneously flaunt as first-class. The torte is supremely rich and naturally sweetened with select fruit that you wouldn’t find on any other cake. A staple in family gatherings, the Mango Torte is delectable as it is visually superb.
It is, perhaps, the only dessert I have observed that has a 100% guest consumption rate. Why, it even fares better than ice cream, fresh fruits and well, beer!
Fruit and cream isn’t the only combination that Dulcelin can whip up with flair though. They also have the Callebaut Chocolate Ganache Cake, perhaps the supreme being for those in pursuit of the decadent and luxuriously creamy variety. Moist, rich, and infused with copious amounts of Belgian chocolate, this delicacy offers layers of chocolate ganache, mousse and cake—topped with slivers of almonds. The ganache glistens with Belgian pride, finished off with a velvety smooth taste to match its sheen. The almonds and slightly nutty core provide the pleasant crunch that goes brilliantly well with the swirl of chocolate flavors. Each bite promises a merry mix of almonds, smooth ganache and moist cake.
MANILA, AT A GLANCE
The proliferation of bakeshops, cafes and cake stalls in Manila is undeniable, but their cakes and pastries—mainly shoddy, airy and oftentimes clichéd. Though ubiquitous in scope, they rarely provide gastronomic sustenance and, are oftentimes, selected for their logistical convenience and cost. Hence, the rise of the generic custard, the unartistic chocolate icing, the porous chiffon, the crumbling cake and the tritely used cookies and cream—all these reflect Manila’s disappointing food choices. All these show how commonplace our taste buds have become. All these make me want to go to sleep instead.
When the sleeping gourmand awakens though and all else fails, Dulcelin can appease that longing for comfort food—and that’s what I call sweet elation!