Sour Milk, Grilled Cheese, and Uni Ice Cream Shine at Metro Manila's Biggest Dessert Event
There comes a point in every person's life where the dream is to be surrounded with the most delectable desserts. It could be a toddler all too immune from the perils of sweets and hoping for every kind of lollipop in the world. It could be a 12-year-old fresh from the effects of Gene Wilder's Willy Wonka, wishing to be transported into a sugary eden. It could be a recent heartbreak that needs to be soothed with an endless supply of chocolate. It could be just longing for the simple thrill of a cupcake.
The recently concluded Dessert Dialogue celebrated the power of a shot of sugar—and more. Gathering the country's best dessert masters, with a little help from Top Chef Just Desserts finalist Sally Camacho-Mueller, the night featured nine outstanding sweets inspired by the chefs culinary history.
After stunning bites from Noel Mauricio (Le Petit Souffle and Ping Pong Diplomacy) and fougasse from Richie Manapat, the dessert journey opens with a refreshing teaser from Chef Kristine Lotilla: an Avocado and Sampinit Religieuse that manages to be be light but sinful all at once. Lotilla repeats this balanced style with her Guava and Shortbread Ice Cream Eton Mess, inspired by years enjoying Assumption tarts.
Avocado and Sampinit Religieuse
Guava and Shortbread Ice Cream Eton Mess
By contrast, Chef Sunshine Puey of Gourmandise brings heavy-hitters to the table, with a luxurious Whipped Goat's Cheesecake with Calamansi Curd and Raspberry Gel—each component contributing a different yet very bold flavor that plays well as a whole. It's strong, sure, but served perfectly as a light swipe on a plate, like a little nudge instead of a full-blown swing.
Prosciutto and Brie Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Pumpkin Butter and Apple Chips
Whipped Goat's Cheesecake with Calamansi Curd and Raspberry Gel
The Gourmandise chef continues to blur the lines, offering a sweet-savory Grilled Cheese number. Using Manapat's bread, she makes a prosciutto and brie sandwich brightened with subtle pumpkin butter and sweet apple chips.
Putting together sweet and savory seems to be the theme of the night—with Chef Sally Camacho Mueller continuing this profile with her contributions. The reality show alum admits that she likes mixing unexpected ingredients in her desserts and for her first show, she comes up with a stellar surprise—a cremeux made with her own banana and calamansi concoction, with milk chocolate, and crispy duck chicharon. There are more components to this treat that anyone can remember, especially after taking a bite, but the impressive part is how, despite the techniques and ingredients, nothing overwhelms.
Duck Chicharron, Cabana Cremeux, Milk Chocolate
Uni Ice Cream, Sake, Lychee
For her second dish, the chef unveils an Uni Ice Cream, using urchin roe instead of egg yolks. Distinct traces of the urchin's briny flavor show up in the ice cream, further amplified by a generous scoop of urchin. Contrast comes in the form of sake (which the chef generously plies) and a sweet tuille that makes it dessert.
Cookies and Milk
Chef Miko Aspiras goes way back with his desserts. His Cookies and Milk is an homage to his first restaurant, Scout's Honor, but instead of settling for a sure hit with an old-fashioned combination, he introduces his first dessert candidly with "It's panis na milk." Served in milk bottles, the fermented milk cream is paired with a cookie crumble—a nice reimagining of tradition. His second dessert is yet another showstopper: a Salted Egg ice cream that presents the punch of salted egg in full force.
The four chefs ended with an edible installation using different types of chocolates for guests to scrape off and consume. That's the thing about these kinds of dishes. They can be as high-falluting and complex as they want, but the end all and be all of any type of food—especially dessert—is to be enjoyed.