Want s’mores? Get them from Charlie Baker

Marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers…

We Pinoys don’t have a dessert tradition that involves these three ingredients but in the US, no campfire is complete without them, combined to form S’mores.

S’mores

A contraction of the phrase “some more,” this campfire treat was first known as the Graham Cracker Sandwich which was very popular among Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. The marshmallows are normally placed on sticks to be toasted using the campfire until golden brown on the outside and gooey on the inside. It is then sandwiched between two graham cracker halves along with a piece of chocolate.

Well, we city denizens might not be able to gather around a campfire anytime soon, but that doesn’t mean we have to deprive ourselves of this campfire treat.

Charlie Baker S’mores

Charlie Baker S’mores

Charlie Baker S’mores

Charlie Baker S’mores

Charlie Baker is a new online business, currently specializing in S’mores. It is managed by thirty-one-year-old Charles Rosales, a recent culinary school graduate who decided to introduce the little-known dessert S’mores to Metro Manila foodies.

Charlie Baker S’mores

Charlie Baker S’mores

Charlie Baker S’mores

For just Php120, dessert lovers can enjoy a 14-piece tub of a handier version of the S’mores which consist of a crust of crushed Graham crackers, a thick layer of milk chocolate topped by toasted marshmallows. A 19″x12″ pan of these yummies – monikered as S’most – is also available at Php750.

Charlie Baker S’mores

Charlie Baker S’mores

Charlie Baker S’mores

You would have to keep this refrigerated before consuming but you can pop a piece or two in the microwave for a few seconds to have the marshmallow become a bit gooey and the chocolate a little melted.

Charlie Baker S’mores

Charlie Baker S’mores

Charlie Baker S’mores

Snack on it in during work or study breaks, or while binge-watching your fave series on TV. You can also serve it to the kiddos as a dessert to cap a meal.

Charlie Baker S’mores

Charlie Baker S’mores

Charlie Baker S’mores

Charlie Baker also offers Chocolate Crinkles at Php120/dozen as well as accepts orders for personalized cakes and pastries.

To order, message Charlie Baker on Facebook or Instagram. Payments via BPI, BDO and GCash are accepted. The S’mores can be delivered to anywhere in Metro Manila via Lalamove, Grab or Mr. Speedy (delivery fee c/o buyer).

Disclosure: Product sample was provided to facilitate an honest review.

Check out my blog posts on other small enterprises and startups in the food business:

A delicious taste of home with Tia Carmen’s Apple Crumble

Home is where the heart is, so they say.

Well, given the restrictions on mobility due to the community quarantine, many of us found ourselves stuck at home, though our hearts may be somewhere else.

If you’re yearning to be back in the hustle and bustle of the metro, or to roam free amidst wide open spaces, I’m sorry to say it but you may have long to wait.

In the meantime, why not take comfort in the haven of home by relishing the sweet delights you can enjoy there, with the people closest to you?

Tia Carmen Fresh Pastries

That’s the idea that the folks behind the new online store Tia Carmen Fresh Pastries wants to push. The enterprise is named after Carmen Escriva (sister of Saint Josemaria Escriva de Baleguer) who supported her brother’s ministry and championed a love for home.

Tia Carmen Fresh Pastries

Tia Carmen Fresh Pastries

Launched only last July 14, Tia Carmen produces homemade baked pies and crumbles that bring back happy memories of childhood and sharing good food with loved ones.

Tia Carmen Fresh Pastries

Tia Carmen Fresh Pastries

Its Apple Crumble (Php550), for example, is a masterpiece flavors and textures. From its buttery, slightly crunchy and crumbly topping that gives way to soft and sweetly-spiced apple filling, it is the quintessential comfort food, that can satisfy the sweet cravings of four to six people.

Tia Carmen Fresh Pastries

Tia Carmen Fresh Pastries

Did you know that the crumble originated in Great Britain during World War II? Because of the food rationing instituted by the government, the ingredients needed to make pie crusts were in short supply. Some enterprising bakers used what flour, fat and sugar they had into making a crumble topping and a new dish came to be.

Tia Carmen Fresh Pastries

Tia Carmen Fresh Pastries

The apple crumble is best enjoyed warm, with the aroma of apple, cinnamon and butter wafting to your nose. Add a generous dollop of vanilla ice cream to it and you’ve got an irresistible treat!

Tia Carmen Fresh Pastries

Tia Carmen Fresh Pastries

Tia Carmen Fresh Pastries

(Note: I’ve read in several sources that Americans sometimes enjoy apple pie with sharp cheddar. Curious if the same can be applied to apple crumble, but lacking authentic cheddar in my pantry at the moment, I substituted a few slices of processed cheese on a slice of apple crumble. The result? An interesting interplay between sweet and salty that I won’t mind exploring further.)

If your constitution – or refrigerator – can’t handle a whole pie, or you just want an intimate dessert for two – or just one! – get an Apple Crumble Cup (Php200) instead.

Go ahead and get yourself a taste of Tia Carmen’s Apple Crumble so you can also get a taste of the warm comfort of home.

Tia Carmen Fresh Pastries

Tia Carmen Fresh Pastries

Tia Carmen’s Fresh Pastries also offers Banana Crumble (Php450 for whole | Php180 for cup) and Apple Pie (Php500).

Its ovens are baking every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, with pies for delivery on the same day to ensure freshness.

To order, just fill out this online form. Payments via BPI, Metrobank and GCash are accepted.

Check out my blog posts on other small enterprises and startups in the food business:

Flavored breads from Tita She’s Bakery

How do you like to start your day, foodies?

Before I begin my workday, either back when I was in the office, or these days working from home, I like to take a quick coffee break and munch on some yummy baked goods.

Tita She’s Bakery

My go-to orders from the panaderia near the office are cheese pan de sal and Spanish bread.

Pan de sal, the most common bread roll in the Philippines, is made with flour, yeast, sugar, eggs and water, a staple many breakfast tables.

Its softer, longer and more buttery and sugary version, on the other hand, is called Spanish bread.

These classic breads and my morning coffee have sustained me through many tedious reports, near-interminable meetings and more.

Now that I’m working from home (and I can’t go out to buy breads on a whim), jumpstarting my workday the way I like it has gotten a bit harder.

Thankfully, there’s a way for me to get my morning breads before I start my day working from home. Plus, they come with a colorful and flavorful twist, thanks to Tita She’s Bakery.

Tita She’s Bakery

Tita She’s Bakery

This new online store came about when twenty-four-year-old Kim Nunez was faced with slowed down projects as an events photographer and wanted a new source of income.

Chancing upon an article on Facebook about an online seller making Php7,000 a day from making and selling ube cheese pan de sal, Kim decided to try her hand at it as well.

With her mom’s help, she started baking the trending food item and started selling two days later.

She didn’t stop there.

Integrating her love for cakes and recognizing that Pinoys would love a new twist to their faves, she also came out with breads with popular cake flavors.

Pan de Sal flavors include ube, cheese, ube cheese, ube choco, choco cheese, choco hazelnut, banana cake, banana hazelnut and carrot cake.

Tita She’s Bakery

Tita She’s Bakery

Tita She’s Bakery

Tita She’s Bakery

Tita She’s Bakery

Tita She’s Bakery

Tita She’s Bakery

Tita She’s Bakery

Tita She’s Bakery

Tita She’s Bakery

These pan de sal are priced at Php5 to Php10 per piece for regular (65g) and Php7 to Php12 per piece for overloaded (90g with twice the filling as regular).

Spanish bread variants, on the other hand, include classic, ube, cheese, ube cheese, choco and choco hazelnut.

Tita She’s Bakery

Tita She’s Bakery

Tita She’s Bakery

Tita She’s Bakery

These Spanish breads are priced at Php8 to Php12 per piece for regular (65g) and Php12 to Php16 per piece for overloaded (90g with twice the filling as regular).

To get these yummy and freshly baked breads delivered to your doorstep, call +63 932 6032354 or +63 967 7613909 (cashless payments via BDO, BPI and GCash accepted) have them picked up at Lores, Antipolo City via Lalamove (pin “Tita She’s Bakery”). You can also check out Tita She’s Bakery on Facebook and Instagram.

Tita She’s Bakery

Tita She’s Bakery

Don’t worry about ordering a lot of these breads. Just store the leftover breads in the ref and reheat by microwave or oven toaster (two minutes at 150 deg C). They are still fluffy and soft after reheating, even if they’ve been in the ref for three days!

So, foodies, get ready to have a wonderful start to your workday with these flavored breads!

Tita She’s Bakery

Tita She’s Bakery

Disclosure: Product samples were provided to facilitate an honest review.

Check out my blog posts on other small enterprises and startups in the food business:

#LookToTheEast for delectable and affordable Sushi Bake

Easterners, we don’t have to get left behind when it comes to the latest quarantine food trend: the Sushi Bake.

YG Delectables

YG Delectables

Thanks to new online seller in the Rizal area, Y&G Delectables, we can satisfy our curiosity and craving for this trending food item easily and quite cheaply, too!

YG Delectables

YG Delectables

Despite having been written about as early as 2011, the sushi bake has re-emerged as the must-taste dish of the season. While its exact origins aren’t known, some have theorized that it may have been influenced by Hawaiian cuisine such as the poke bowls with cooked meat and the Spam Musubi.

Essentially, it is sushi deconstructed as a casserole: steamed rice forms the bottom layer which is then topped with the elements we normally expect from a sushi roll such as kani, ebiko and furikake. After baking the sushi casserole in the oven, spoonfuls are scooped out and placed in small nori squares, ready for eating.

YG Delectables

YG Delectables

While there are many interpretations of this dish being offered all over the metro, they tend to be quite pricy or too distant from us Easterners to find the cost of delivery to our homes practical.

Well that limitation ends now with Y&G Delectables’ Sushi Bake. This no-frills take on the dish is well-suited for those who like their kani baked sushi cheesy, strongly flavored with a little spicy kick due to the use of sriracha.

YG Delectables

YG Delectables

YG Delectables

YG Delectables

Cainta-based Y&G Delectables takes its name from the teenage twins Yel and Gel who decided to offer their Ate’s sushi bake in their area as a way to pass the time (and earn some money) while stuck at home. (And I’m all for youngsters learning the value of making a living early on.)

YG Delectables

YG Delectables

Y&G Delectables’ sushi bake come in three tummy-filling sizes:

  • Solo with 1 free nori pack: Php250
  • Sharing with 2 free nori packs: Php350
  • Family (available upon request); Php550

So. Easterners, the next time you’re feeling peckish and looking for a trendy snack, or want to surprise your old folks with today’s hottest food trend, grab a tray of Y&G Delectables’ Sushi Bake and support a local business while you’re at it.

YG Delectables

YG Delectables

To order, text +63 975 0375035 or send a message via Instagram. Payments via BDO, BPI or GCash are accepted. Delivery via Grab, Lalamove or Angkas to be shouldered by buyer.

Disclosure: Product samples were provided to facilitate an honest review.

Check out my blog posts on other small enterprises and startups in the food business:

Classic sugary treats from Cucina ni Sheng

We all need a little (or in my case, a lot!) of sweetness in our lives.

Those little sugary treats can sometimes spell the difference between a disappointingly sad or a sweetly satisfying end to a day. (Foodies, don’t ever underestimate the power of a good dessert!)

That’s what you can expect from Cucina ni Sheng: classic desserts made with love. Every weekend, you can anticipate honest-to-goodness treats to sate your sweet tooth.

Cucina ni Sheng

This little cucina is run by mompreneur Sheng Magcalas left her corporate job a few years ago to take care of her newborn. Aside from her daily routine of house chores and child care tasks, she also took up baking as a hobby and would sometimes gift her creations to friends and family.

However, the recent quarantine heightened her anxiety. Seeking a distraction, she tried out different recipes and expanded her baking repertoire. After three months of trial and error, she grew confident of her baking skills, enough to venture into online selling.

And thus, Cucina ni Sheng came to be.

Sheng takes pride in her little home-based operation: her cucina’s offerings are not outrageous nor avant-garde, just classic desserts that are tasty and affordable, such as:

Calamansi Muffins (Php180/6 pieces). The tangy taste of freshly squeezed calamansi juice adds a zesty, palate-tickling highlight to this fluffy and buttery muffin. It’s perfect when taking a break and leisurely enjoying a cup of your favorite coffee.

Cucina ni Sheng

Cucina ni Sheng

Cucina ni Sheng

Cucina ni Sheng

Cucina ni Sheng

Decadent Chocolate Cake (Php400). A choco-holic’s dream come true! This tin-can dessert is made with super moist chocolate cake topped with a thick layer of creamy chocolate ganache and dusted with cocoa powder. Cap a fabulous dinner with this show-stopping dessert and you’ve got yourself a memorable meal.

Cucina ni Sheng

Cucina ni Sheng

Cucina ni Sheng

Cucina ni Sheng

Cucina ni Sheng

Cucina ni Sheng

So this weekend, treat yourself to something sweet from Cucina ni Sheng. You deserve it.

Cucina ni Sheng

Cucina ni Sheng

To get your hands on these goodies, place your orders via Instagram. Cut-off for orders is every Wednesday at 12 noon. Payment via BDO and GCash are accepted. Delivery and pick-ups of these freshly baked delights are scheduled on Saturdays or Sundays, charged to the buyer.

Disclosure: Product samples were provided to facilitate an honest review.

Check out my blog posts on other small enterprises and startups in the food business:

Leave the cooking up to ALPHA’s Kitchen Home Delivery

Sure, momshies, we might have just a wee bit more free time nowadays. It’s been three-and-a-half months since our lives were upended by the pandemic and many of us found ourselves stuck at home. Some even discovered a talent for cooking as I have, cooking up a storm for the fam’s meals.

But cooking up a storm for every meal can be tiring, right?

I sometimes wish that I can leave the whole menu planning and food preparation to someone else.

Fortunately, I can have the folks over at ALPHA’s Kitchen Home Delivery take care of all of that for me.

Alpha’s Kitchen Home Delivery

Alpha’s Kitchen Home Delivery

The dish on this new entrant in the local food business is that it began as the home service massage company ALPHA Massage & Wellness Therapy.

With their original business severely affected by the quarantines and rules on physical distancing arising from the pandemic, the owners landed upon a great way to pivot for the New Normal: their massage therapists turned to cooking!

Curious on what delicious delights they came up with? Well, here’s a sampling:

Lasagna. Al dente lasagna noodles layered with beefy, slightly herby tomato sauce and thick cheesy bechamel. A hit with my little boy!

Alpha’s Kitchen Home Delivery

Alpha’s Kitchen Home Delivery

Crispy Bagnet Kare Kare. Crrrrrrunchy oven-baked bagnet pieces and crisp veggies in a rich peanut sauce.

Alpha’s Kitchen Home Delivery

Alpha’s Kitchen Home Delivery

Bicol Express. Tender pork cubes cooked in creamy coconut milk and chilis make for a hearty viand with a bit of a kick.

Alpha’s Kitchen Home Delivery

Alpha’s Kitchen Home Delivery

Spicy Salmon Pesto. Flavorful salmon flakes tossed in pesto sauce along with spaghetti noodles. A little too spicy for me but would appeal to those who like their pasta hawt!

Alpha’s Kitchen Home Delivery

Alpha’s Kitchen Home Delivery

Leche Flan. The classic Pinoy version of creme caramel, this is creamy, milky-sweet and smooth on the tongue.

Alpha’s Kitchen Home Delivery

Alpha’s Kitchen Home Delivery

Maja Blanca. The traditional coconut pudding topped with latik (caramelized coconut creme).

Alpha’s Kitchen Home Delivery

Alpha’s Kitchen Home Delivery

These delish dishes come in affordable yet hearty servings – medium (serves two to three people), family (serves six to seven people) and party (serves twelve to fifteen) – that will surely satisfy hungry tummies!

Chicken or Pork Dishes:

  • Medium: Php299
  • Family: Php699
  • Party: Php1,499

Beef or Seafood:

  • Medium: Php349
  • Family: Php799
  • Party: Php1,799

Dessert:

  • Medium: Php249
  • Family: Php499
  • Party: Php999

You can also try the Famous Bundle – five medium tubs – for just Php999.

Alpha’s Kitchen Home Delivery

Alpha’s Kitchen Home Delivery

To have these tasty viands delivered right to your doorstep, send your name, address, contact number and food orders to Alpha Kitchen Home Delivery on Facebook or Instagram, or call +63 906 5955707 (delivery costs shouldered by buyer). Payments via cash on delivery, GCash or online bank transfer are accepted.

So momshies, now you know how you can whip up a satisfying meal for the fam without having to slave all day in the kitchen!

Disclosure: Product samples were provided to facilitate an honest review.

Check out my blog posts on other small enterprises and startups in the food business:

Treat yourself to some sweet happiness from Casa Bakes by Kayla

Let’s admit it: we can all use a bit of happiness right now. If the past few months has taught us anything, it’s to grasp at every bit of simple happiness we can to help us keep our sanity during these crazy times.

Well, how about the kind of happiness that comes in this box?

Casa Bakes by Kayla

Casa Bakes by Kayla

Twenty-eight-year-old bank employee Kayla Torres used to be too busy to do much at home prior to the lockdown. When the community quarantine was put in place all over the metro, she found her days a bit gloomy. To cheer herself up, she took up her old hobby of baking cookies.

“Baking and eating cookies brighten up my day,” she shares.

After trying out cookies from other internet shops (chewy ones are her fave), she decided to make her own version. When she started posting about her creations on social media, they drew the attention of friends and family who want to buy those sweet delights.

Casa Bakes by Kayla

Casa Bakes by Kayla

And so began Casa Bakes.

Kayla’s new passion project currently offers the giant chewy cookies she so loves – the kind that’s monster-sized and packed with all sorts of good stuff that will fill your mouth with sweetness and your heart with joy. These are:

Chocolate Chip (Php215/box of 3 | Php400/box of 6 | Php575/box of 9). There’s a reason this cookie variant is always top of mind among many cookie lovers. From its sweet buttery smell, the burst of rich chocolate sweetness from the chocolate chips to the feel of the moist and gooey center that contrasts with the slight crisp at the the bottom and sides, this cookie deserves its place among the classic faves.

Casa Bakes by Kayla

Casa Bakes by Kayla

Casa Bakes by Kayla

Casa Bakes by Kayla

Reese‘s Chocolate Chip (Php230/box of 3 | Php415/box of 6 | Php590/box of 9). How can you possibly improve on a classic? Apparently, with a generous helping of Reese’s Peanut Butter Chips! The good ole’ chocolatey goodness of the chocolate chip cookie gets an upgrade with the decadent peanut butter flavor mixed in.

Casa Bakes by Kayla

Casa Bakes by Kayla

Casa Bakes by Kayla

Casa Bakes by Kayla

Birthday Cake (Php230/box of 3 | Php415/box of 6 | Php590/box of 9). A whole party packed into a cookie so you can celebrate your birthday any day you want. What can be more festive than white chocolate chips and a dash of sprinkles? Get ready to put on your party hats with this cookie.

Casa Bakes by Kayla

Casa Bakes by Kayla

Casa Bakes by Kayla

Casa Bakes by Kayla

Can’t make up your mind on which of these cookies to sate your sweet cravings on? Order a Surprise Surprise (Php225/box of 3 | Php410/box of 6 | Php580/box of 9) and get a taste of each yummy variant!

Casa Bakes by Kayla

So how can you get your hands on these monster-sized bits of bliss? Simply send a message to Casa Bakes on Instagram to reserve your slot for the next batch. Online payments via Union Bank and BPI are accepted.

Casa Bakes by Kayla

Disclosure: Product samples were provided to facilitate an honest review.

Check out my blog posts on other small enterprises and startups in the food business:

Have a box of good cheer with MDJ Cookies

It’s been three-and-a-half months since our seemingly well-ordered life has been upended by the community quarantine and I won’t be surprised if we don’t find ourselves a little out of sorts with the world every once in a while.

You know what comforts me when the doldrums come?

A little bit (or a lot!) of something sweet – like a cookie! – can get me right back into a cheerier mood. It’s not just about the rush of sugar in bloodstream. It’s more about the comfort and warmth that emanates from a piece of well-made cookie.

This morning, just as I was about to take a well-deserved break from working with multiple gadgets open and heated discussions scrolling up my screens, a box bearing my name (well, IG handle actually) arrived from MDJ Cookies.

MDJ Cookies

Talk about a welcome sight!

MDJ Cookies (from owner Martine De Jesus’ name) is a tribute to her mom’s baking prowess. Using her mom’s recipes, Martine gets to spread little packets of good cheer through her cookies. As she puts it: her cookies feel like a warm hug you can eat!

MDJ Cookies

MDJ Cookies

As soon as I opened the box, the smell of freshly baked cookies wafted to my nostrils and made me think of my own Sunday baking sessions with my mom when I was a little girl. Oh, such happy memories!

MDJ Cookies

MDJ Cookies

And guess what: the box’s cookie contents are no less cheery. Check them out!

Salted Brown Butter Chocolate Chip (Php30/pc | Php190/6pcs | Php370/12pcs). The good ‘ole chocolate chip cookie gets an upgrade with use of brown butter and a bit of salt.

MDJ Cookies

MDJ Cookies

Birthday Cake (Php35/pc | Php220/6pcs | Php430/12pcs). There’s something so festive about this cookie… Is it the colorful sprinkles? Or the sweet smell of toasted marshmallows? Whatever it is, it’s good for any day worth celebrating.

MDJ Cookies

MDJ Cookies

White Chocolate Macadamia (Php40/pc | Php250/6pcs | Php490/12pcs). A creamy and milky cookie wonderfully complemented by buttery macadamia nut pieces.

MDJ Cookies

MDJ Cookies

Dark Chocolate Macadamia (Php40/pc | Php250/6pcs | Php490/12pcs). This time, the luscious macadamia nuts come with semi-sweet dark chocolate.

MDJ Cookies

MDJ Cookies

Double Chocolate Fudge (Php40/pc | Php250/6pcs | Php490/12pcs). Double the treat for chocolate lovers!

MDJ Cookies

MDJ Cookies

Red Velvet (Php40/pc | Php250/6pcs | Php490/12pcs). The cookie version of the rich deep-red colored chocolate cake with cream cheese icing.

MDJ Cookies

MDJ Cookies

Peanut Butter Bomb (Php40/pc | Php250/6pcs | Php490/12pcs). Any kid knows that peanut butter and cookies are a winning combination. Add in a piece of peanut butter candy for some real decadent sweetness.

MDJ Cookies

MDJ Cookies

Loaded Crinkles (Php50/pc | Php310/6pcs | Php610/12pcs). A fudgy chocolatey treat for the certified sweet-tooth.

MDJ Cookies

MDJ Cookies

While my faves among these yummy treats are the Peanut Butter Bomb and the White Chocolate Macadamia, all variants feature a moist buttery texture and just the right amount of sweetness to highlight the featured ingredients.

MDJ Cookies

MDJ Cookies

To get your hands on these sweet delights, send MDJ Cookies a message via Instagram or Facebook with your name, address, contact number, delivery date, flavors (with quantity of order) and mode of payment (GCash and BPI are accepted).

MDJ Cookies

Plus, personalize the box with the recipient’s name for just an additional Php20.

Sure, the situation in the metro, and in our own daily lives in The New Normal may seem stressful and daunting; but with a little bit of good cheer, I’m sure we’ll pull through.

Are you a cookie lover, too? Give yourself a box of good cheer and give these a try!

Product samples were provided to facilitate an honest review.

Check out my blog posts on other small enterprises and startups in the food business:

Delicious charcuterie delights in a box by Platterea Luna

In case you’ve been hiding under a rock in the past year or two, one of the most popular food trends nowadays is charcuterie.

By definition, it is the art of preparing meat products such as bacon, ham, sausages, cold cuts and the like.  Despite being originally intended as a way to preserve meat before refrigerators became prevalent, charcuterie today is enjoying a comeback among gastronomic circles as a way to showcase the flavor of the meats derived from the preservation process.

Parties and holiday get-togethers just have to have a table elegantly laden with preserved meats accompanied by cheeses, fruits, breads and wines that further enhance the meats’ flavors.  These setups in which diners can take their aperitif of choice along with selected meats and cheeses have come to be known as grazing tables.

Taken visually, these sumptuously arranged grazing tables have come to represent the bounty of food or the generosity of the host. They often serve as conversation pieces at parties because of the beauty of their arrangement, while also encouraging guests to mingle while enjoying their food.

Something this wonderful can also be enjoyed at home through grazing platters that an Epicurean can put together for a small party or even a quiet time at home.

Platterea Luna

But with Platterea Luna’s stylishly assembled grazing boxes, there’s no need to trouble oneself in sourcing the elements for an elegant charcuterie experience. Each box is filled with a well-curated selection of meats, cheeses and accoutrements, well-suited for leisurely grazing on during a picnic or while binge-watching your favorite series at home.

Platterea Luna got its start when TV writer and producer Helen de Castro and her partner Christine Go, a medical doctor, decided to serve something different for her family to welcome the new year 2020. Being a lover of wine, cheese and other food pairings, she researched on setting up grazing tables and started gathering ingredients to assemble one for the family’s celebration.

Platterea Luna

On New Year’s Eve, she unveiled her first grazing table to her family. Impressed with her work and entertained by the novelty of the concept, her family started posting photos of the grazing table online.

This sparked an idea that this new skill can be the start of a new business.

Platterea Luna was formally announced on February 2, offering stylishly assembled gourmet grazing boxes just in time to get orders for the Valentine rush. The first batch of grazing boxes were delivered to excited recipients on Valentine’s Day.

Platterea Luna

Platterea Luna

Platterea Luna

Through all the doubts and frenetic activity involved in launching her new venture, Helen is kept strong by the support of her family and friends, as well as in her love for her business.

‘They say “Do something that you’re passionate about and you wouldn’t have to work a day in your life, ‘” she shares. ‘I’ve always loved wines and cheeses. Aside from gaining pounds, I never knew how this interest would benefit me. During the development stage of the business, I was always so excited with the thought of assembling the ingredients in the boxes. There’s this satisfaction I get when I see the finished product. It’s as if I’m creating art. And I love art. Seeing all these colors and flavours in one box makes me giddy. At the end of the day, it’s all about doing what you love so you can put your whole heart into it.”

Platterea Luna’s elegant grazing boxes come in four variants:

Solo Box: contains one gourmet cheese and one cured meat and various accoutrements. Good for one person, it’s perfect for leisurely snacking on during a quiet evening at home.

Small Box: contains one gourmet cheese and two cured meats, various accoutrements and one 187mL bottle of wine. Good for two persons, it’s best enjoyed during a romantic outdoors picnic date.

Medium Box: contains two gourmet cheeses and three cured meats, various accoutrements and one 187mL bottle of wine. Good for three to six people, it can serve as the fuel for a family’s weekend-long Netflix binge-fest.

Large Box: contains two gourmet cheeses and three cured meats and various accoutrements. Good for seven to ten people, it’s perfect for parties and can even be a social gathering’s conversation piece.

My Platterea Luna medium box did sustain my family and me through the hours we spent on a Crash Landing on You marathon during a long weekend. While I was shedding copious amounts of tears over Yoon Seri and Ri Jeong-hyuk’s travails, I was sustained and comforted by the delicious contents of my grazing box. These included meats such as Salami Milano, Peppered Ham and Lyoner, as well as Brie and Provolone cheeses along with accoutrements which consist of fresh and dried fruit, nuts, pretzels and chocolate almond sticks and a small bottle of French red wine.

Platterea Luna

To get your hands on a lovely Platterea Luna grazing box, course your order through Platterea Luna’s Facebook page or Instagram account, or call +63 977 8211591.

Platterea Luna

Platterea Luna

Disclosure: Product sample was provided to enable an honest review. Charcuterie board pictured above were assembled from the contents of the Platterea Luna medium box.

Check out my blog posts on other small enterprises and startups in the food business:

Sweets to the sweet from Inang Charing

Everyone who knows me is probably already familiar with my sweet tooth.

I’ve always had a strong affinity for desserts: cakes, cookies and creams. My belief is that there’s always room for dessert. In fact, the dessert at the end is what I usually look forward during meal time.

And the sweet treats from Inang Charing’s are definitely worth the anticipation.

Former BPO employee Mylene Capili had a love for sweets and a skill for baking. Dreaming of having her own cafe someday, she studied Hotel and Restaurant Management in college.

When she was gifted with an oven, her passion for baking was rekindled.

Her first foray into the baking business began in 2013 under the name Dress Up Brownies, with her lucky BPO coworkers as her first customers. They were the first to get a taste her revel bars and brownies. In a burst of inspiration, Mylene and her partner offered dressed-up brownies, bars custom-decorated similar to cupcakes according to their customers’ request.

Her drive for both her job and her side business was challenged a year later when her grandmother, who raised her and her siblings, passed away. She resigned from her job to focus on Dress Up Brownies but her grief over her grandmother’s passing contributed to her business going on hiatus for two years.

A big order for her mini chocolate chip cookies for her sister’s high school reunion in 2018 spurred her to revive her business.

Wanting to pay tribute to her beloved grandmother, she rebranded her business, adopting the name her grandmother was called by neighbors when she was growing up: Inang Charing.

Thus, Inang Charing’s Cakes and Pastries came into being.

With her grandmother serving as her inspiration, she was motivated to create more baked goods for people to love.

Today, she operates Inang Charing’s Cakes and Pastries with her partner, Bem, who oversees sales, marketing and procurement of ingredients, while she handles the baking and pricing of the finished products.

They expanded their product line from brownies, revel bars and custom pastries to include cookies, cakes and cheesecakes, some of which I was able to sample.

Inang Charing

Inang Charing

The Triple-Flavored Cheesecake (Php785) presents three mouth-watering toppings on a three-inch tall cheesecake. The cheesecake itself is rich and compact, mildly sweet with a smooth and creamy mouthfeel. Its toppings of Mango, Blueberry and Nutella add different dimensions to the dessert. Also available are single-flavor (Php735) and double-flavor (Php755) variants.

Inang Charing

Inang Charing

The Chocolate Truffle Liquor Cake (Php265), on the other hand, is a decadent 5-inch diameter confection of layers upon layers of chocolate goodness. A moist chocolate cake flavored with chocolate liquor serves as the base layer covered by a thick and creamy ganache and a generous sprinkling with cocoa powder.

Inang Charing

Inang Charing

Lastly, the Salted White Chocolate Almond Cookies (Php50/pc) are delightful treats with complex flavors and textures owing to the white chocolate chips and toasted almonds scattered on top of moist and chewy cookies.

Inang Charing

Inang Charing

So if you’re looking for a showstopping cake for your party or just want to stock up on desserts to give your meals a wonderful ending, check out Inang Charing’s Cakes and Pastries.

Many thanks to Mylene for these scrumptious sweets.

To get your hands on these and more from Inang Charing’s, course your orders through its Facebook page or Instagram account with a three-day lead time and pay via BPI bank deposit a day before the delivery.

Disclosure: Product samples were provided to enable an honest review.

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