Compiled by Kristelle Bechayda
From twinkling lights and joyful carols to the overall magical atmosphere, Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year. At the Food section, we put the “full” in wonderful. If you ask us, without a doubt, we’ll say that food is the best part of Christmas. With over 7,000 islands in the Philippines, we’re spoiled for choice, because we don’t have to eat the same treats every year. Here’s a list of some of our favorite festive finds.
These are must-try local items from small and medium-sized entrepreneurs, worthy of space on your dining tables and in your tummies. Here’s part one of this year’s ultimate gift guide for every Filipino food lover, whether he or she has been naughty or nice.
Queso de Bola Buttercake from Vargas Kitchen
Vargas Kitchen’s Queso de Bola Buttercake is a sophisticated version of ensaymada. The new item features, as the name says, the famous buttercake topped with cheese. Don’t let that fool you, it’s more than a simple addition of cheese. The combination makes it a different dessert altogether. One bite reveals a sharpness, a cheese forwardness, if you will, which slowly mellows into a creaminess. It reminds one of a cheese cupcake with a buttery aftertaste, as though the butter is saying, “I’m still here. Don’t forget me.” No crumb will get left behind! A mini (3×7) costs ₱400, and a small (5×8) costs ₱790.
0917 811 0712 | Instagram: @vargakitchen | Facebook: @VargasKitchenPH
Three Cheese Beef Lasagna from Pasta Man
Santa doesn’t count calories or carbs, so you might as well have a heaping helping from Pasta Man’s trays of homemade baked pasta. The signature Three Cheese Beef Lasagna, available in both pork and beef, is a must-try and is available in small and large sizes at ₱450 and ₱1,000, respectively.
0917 542 2610 | Facebook: @thepastaman.ph | Instagram: @the_pasta_man
Sea-charon from Faru’s
The goal of this local food business is to push healthy and delicious seafood snacks. With no preservatives in the products, the so-called sea-charon are favorites of customers to munch on. Faru’s sea-charon include Crispy Fried Tahong, Crispy Seaweed Crackers, and Crispy Crab Sticks that come in different flavors.
0917 329 7289 (Viber) | Facebook and Instagram: @farusseacharon
Giant Banana Chips from Banana Chief’s
These no-added-sugar big banana chips made from saba that’s cooked in coconut oil will promote healthy eating this Christmas season. This snack comes in different flavors (Ripe, Pinoy BBQ, and Salted), with each box priced at ₱195. If you wish for an extra dose of sweetness, there is also a box of banana chips coated with 65 percent dark chocolate available for ₱330.
0938 078 5999 | Facebook and Instagram: @bananachiefsph | bananachiefs.com
Guilt-free treats from Pandeketo
For your health-conscious friend, Pandeketo offers a guilt-free selection of treats. The holiday menu consists of its signature dessert Triple C or the Choco Caramel Cake (made with almond flour, eggs, almond milk, and unsweetened cocoa powder), as well as its Lowcarb, Flourless Pandesal (made with pure almond flour, psyllium fiber, eggs, and sea salt). The most noteworthy, however, is Pandeketo’s best-selling Low Carb, Sugar-Free Coconut Macaroons made with grated coconut, heavy cream, sweetener, and eggs. A box of 12 pieces costs ₱290.
0917 540 0915 (Viber) | Instagram and Facebook: @pandeKETO
Bite-sized cookies, royal bibingka, and kutsinta from Vetina’s Kitchen
If you’re looking for cakes, cupcakes, bread or cookies, Vetina’s Kitchen has you covered. For this season, the local food shop has prepared a special holiday menu. We recommend the bite-sized cookies, with 10 pieces per pack, they make for perfect gifts and come in three varieties: Double Dark Chocolate Chip (₱80 to ₱85), Belgian Chocolate Chip (₱90 to ₱95), and a combination of both (₱95 to ₱100). Their royal bibingka (₱360 per box) and kutsinta (₱270 per bilao) are also good contributions to bring to potlucks.
0975 460 1392 | Instagram and Facebook: @vetinaskitchen
Mushroom Crisps from Bounty Sprouts
Made from farm-grown oyster mushrooms that’s harvested, then mixed with herbs and other local ingredients, the Mushroom Crisps of Bounty Sprouts is another healthy snack perfect to give as gifts to friends. Aside from the tasty Salted Egg flavor, it also comes in Original, Cheezy, and Barbeque variants.
0977 823 7818 | Facebook and Instagram: @bountysproutsfarm | bountysprouts.com
Seafood Cracklings from Capa’s
You’re in for another uniquely tasty treat with these seafood cracklings from KXC Enterprises. Available in dilis, chiton, and caramelized chiton variants, these snacks are made from local anchovies and chiton mollusks, respectively.
0998 531 3054 | Facebook: @kxcenterprises | email@example.com
Homemade Cheese Pimiento from RLC Kitchen
Promote the idea of thoughtfulness this season of giving by gifting your loved ones with bottles of Homemade Cheese Pimiento from RLC kitchen. Produced by Rina Casiño, a housewife and a mother, her product is available in 480 ml (₱480), 240 ml (₱240), and 120 ml (₱120) bottles.
0906 434 5029 | Facebook and Instagram: @rlckitchen
Suman Latik from Manding’s
A Filipino Christmas means kakanin everywhere, in every corner, and on every dining table. One staple is the native glutinous rice dish, suman that’s best paired with latik. Manding’s homemade style suman latik is balmy and chewy, that brings nostalgic Christmas memories in every bite. The store accepts cash on delivery, same day orders, as well as bulk orders as long as there is a lead time of three to five days.
0917 864 3030 | Facebook and Instagram: @mandingsumanlatik