Still thinking what to give your foodie friends this Christmas? Let me share some of the goodies I've tried and love (and would be delighted to receive *ahem*) that I'm sure your loved ones will appreciate this holiday season, as well as some books that are worth giving to maybe your sister who loves to bake, or your mom who's looking for new recipes to try for the family, or your cousin who loves to eat out, or maybe even your dining buddy who's on the hunt for the best dessert place in the city.
In no particular order, I present to you my personal choices for Christmas 2013:
1. Cheesecakes from Indulgence by Irene
Irene's Queso de Bola Cheesecake is quite addicting, and then she added Chocnut and Tablea to her product list. Each cheesecake is robust in terms of flavor profile, a testament to how she incorporates only the best ingredients. Now, she has a new variant which I'm excited to try soon -- Ube Cheesecake.
Indulgence by Irene
9-inch cheesecakes (P900)
4.5-inch cheesecakes (P200)
Pick-up Points: Astoria Plaza, Ortigas and Magallanes (weekdays: early mornings and late afternoons)
Contact Nos.: 0917.622.5800 or 0922.830.3900
2. Bono Artisanal Gelato
What else can I say except for the fact that this is really the best gelateria in the country. If you still haven't tried any of its numerous gelato flavors by now, you're missing half of your life. It has the silkiest, creamiest consistency, and has the most realistic taste whether it be ube, pistachio, taho or what have you, simply because it actually uses all-natural ingredients. You can give it to your loved one and friends since they sell this by the pint and by the tub, or you might want to keep a couple in your own freezer (highly recommended).
Bono Artisanal Gelato
Spot: 2/F SM Makati, G/F The Podium, LG/F SM Aura
Contact No.: 551-0587
3. Bacon Line from Cupcake Conspiracy
These little savory spreads are good on crackers, dinner rolls, and toasts. You can have it with pancakes, or you can top it on your burger. They're even better when combined, and simply addicting. I'm salivating just thinking about every one of them. Better place your orders soon.
Contact: Ana Lopez
Contact No.: 0917.536.2711
4. Cakes from The Cake Planet and Cafe
Tucked away in Better Living, Parañaque, this little gem of a place is home to some of the best cakes in Metro Manila. They have a flurry of cakes such as their famous Chocolate Macadamia Sansrival, Red Velvet Crown, Banoffee Pie, Blueberry Cheesecake, etc. If you want to try my favorites, go for the Tiramisu, Turtle Pie, Lemon Torte, and Santa Cruz.
The Cake Planet and Cafe
Spot: 91-C Dona Soledad Ave. Better Living Subd. Paranaque City
Contact Nos.: 0917.585.4432 or 621.2857
5. Cupcakes from Everyday Mom
The Black and White Cupcake is a moist and sweet chocolate cupcake with a tempting cheesecake center. Rich, but not cloying, the surprising thing was that it had no butter. Hard to believe with that taste and texture. But Everyday Mom is really famous for that. They also use no artificial colors, flavors, nor preservatives, priding themselves in offering products that are all natural and healthy. Next time I see their booth, I'm also gonna try their Cafe Mocha Cupcake which I hear is pretty good, too.
Spot: Scout Tuason cor. Roces Ave., Quezon City
Contact Nos.: 710.1254 or 0922.421.0466
6. Stuffies and Mini Cookie Cups from Cookie Bar Manila
I'm not fond of cookies, but these stuffies---unevenly round and chewy cookies---encasing various fillings like Twix, Oreo, Mallows, Nutella, etc. managed to get my attention. They also have these mini cookie cups holding all things sweet you can think of, and for this Christmas season, they have collaborated with The Spoiled Mummy, and came up with a cookie cup made of peanut butter base topped with fresh strawberry dipped in dark chocolate, available only during weekends of December.
Cookie Bar Manila
Spot: Kapitolyo, Pasig
Contact Nos.: 0917.555.1228 or 984.7450
7. From Our Table to Yours by Chef Angelo Comsti
It's a treasure of family recipes from some of the country's respected chefs and influential food personalities that includes their backstories, easy-to-find ingredients and tasty cooking tips.
The first recipe we've tried is Chef Angelo's Beef Stew (Beef Caldereta). OMG! It was sooo good that we all fight over the sauce after we're done with the beef. We pour over the remaining sauce on our rice, and devour it with gusto. That good! Even my husband who doesn't eat kaldereta loves this dish.
From Our Table To Yours (P795)
8. Dessert Comes First, The Book by Lori Baltazar
A thick book with beautiful photos and lovely prose, it starts with a content guide outlining essays and memoirs, chefs' profiles and their recipes, and Lori's own recipes including that of her very famous Cheesecake. Endearing is what it is, as you follow along on the road to her past, her life as a food writer, and her memorable travels, with some of her favorite food personalities' profiles and recipes providing delicious respite every now and then.
The tales will enchant you, the photos will captivate you. But more than the recipes, more than the profiles, more than the stories, it's the way Lori writes that will leave you mesmerized. For as she strings words into sentences and paragraphs, she invites you in, gives you a front-row seat, and lets you experience all the mouthwatering wonders in her world.
Dessert Comes First (P1,499)
9. Eats 2014
A guide to the best restaurants and places in the metro according to some of the country's most popular bloggers, including Richie and Rina Zamora of The Pickiest Eater in the World, Yedy Calaguas of Yedylicious, Eugene Constantino of Hefty Foodie, Sumi Go of The Purple Doll, and Gio Mangaya-ay of The Hungry Giant. Each blogger represents a certain food niche, and has come up with photos and write-ups of the restaurants that fall under that category.
Eats 2014 (P150)
10. Eat Out Now!
This is a guide to the best restaurants in two of the country's biggest cities -- Manila and Cebu. It's categorized by location as well as by cuisine. It also includes essays by some of the well-known personalities in the food industry.
Eat Out Now (P295)