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Raise your glasses of milk and toast to the Filipino cookie culture

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By SOL VANZI

The love for cookies is universal. It crosses physical, religious, and cultural boundaries, differing only in the manner by which the cookies are served and consumed. British people partner cookies with tea. Americans dunk cookies in milk, a custom that only became widespread among Filipinos recently. For starters, we are not milk drinkers. We do not even have a local word for cookie.

What we have is the tradition of dunking crisp, non-sweetened baked goods in coffee: crunchy Jacobina, galletas, biscocho, and machakaw. This is especially observed during wakes and Holy Week, when the faithful have to be kept awake and fed while performing the pabasa day in and day out.

JACOBINA 3

Jacobina

Today’s generation is changing all that, as evident on the shelves of any supermarket—crammed to the hilt with dozens of brands and types of cookies: chocolate chip, vanilla, coconut, butter, and even cheese-flavored. Name it, and we have it.

One brand, however, dominates the world market: the 108-year-old Oreo, which was first sold on March 6, 1912, to a grocer in Hoboken, New Jersey. The sandwich cookie consists of two chocolate wafers with a sweet cream filling in between. It is known as the world’s favorite cookie, available in more than 100 countries around the globe with $3.1 billion in annual net revenues by the end of 2019. In the Philippines, Oreo has become the number one brand in the Sweet Biscuits Category in supermarkets as of December 2019.

GALLETAS DE PATATAS

Galletas de Patatas

 

Over the years, snack manufacturer Nabisco has developed several other Oreo products. Double Stuf, featuring twice as much cream filling as the original Oreo, appeared in 1975. Golden Oreos are vanilla cookies with the same vanilla frosting as the original. Golden Chocolate Creme Oreos, known as the “Uh-Oh Oreo” until 2007, are the reverse of the original cookie —vanilla cookies with chocolate cream frosting.

Beginning in the early 2010s, the brand began releasing limited edition runs of cookies with more exotic flavors. Other varieties over the years have included “triple double,” green tea, blueberry ice cream, dulce de leche, and organic.

BISCOCHO

Biscocho

Since the inception, Oreo has introduced several flavors, including Candy Corn, Gingerbread, Banana Split Creme, Lemon Twist, Watermelon, Creamsicle, Candy Cane, and so many more. In 2012, it celebrated its 100th anniversary by releasing a limited edition “Birthday Cake” Oreo with sprinkles in the creme filling and, in conjunction, launched a marketing campaign titled “Celebrate the Kid Inside.”

“The campaign illustrates the memories that Oreo creates and how it can bring us back to childhood,” said Emmanuelle Voirin, the brand’s senior brand manager. “Oreo cookies transcend age and time. Grandparents who fell in love with Oreo when they were little now get to share the fun of the ‘twist, lick, and dunk’ with their grandkids.”

800px-Oreo-Two-Cookies

Oreo

Beyond the original cookie, the brand now offers many other snack options for Filipinos to enjoy. Mondelēz International, the maker of Oreo, markets Oreo Thins, Oreo Minis, Oreo Wafer Roll, and Oreo Chocolate Coated.

To celebrate its 108th birthday, Oreo wants to help strengthen connections and bring families together through playful moments with the launch of its new Stay Playful campaign.

What we have is the tradition of dunking crisp, non-sweetened baked goods in coffee: crunchy Jacobina, galletas, biscocho, and machakaw. This is especially observed during wakes and Holy Week, when the faithful have to be kept awake and fed while performing the pabasa day in and day out.

“The brand believes that it’s important to help families spend time together to help them trengthen their bonds and provide a loving environment for children’s development,” said Criselle Villafuerte, biscuits marketing manager for Mondelēz Philippines. “The new Stay Playful campaign aims to spark playful connections within families.”

One of those activities is cooking with Oreo, beginning with simply crumbling cookies over vanilla ice cream to produce the original Cookies and Cream flavor. From there, it is easy to graduate to cheesecake, waffles, and other favorites.

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