Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Theo and Philo will go to chocolate heaven

This morning I finally got the package I have been bugging LBC for five days about.

The loot? Nine varieties of Theo and Philo chocolate bars.

Not one for delayed gratification, my co-workers at Human Nature Zamboanga and I immediately conducted a taste test. We all know the eyes always eat first. This is how they looked:

Gorgeous packaging, right? Chic and patriotic.

The nine bars made up the entire Theo and Philo line of chocolates. They had the usual (milk chocolate, dark chocolate) but I was most excited to try the unusual and very Pinoy flavors (Siling Labuyo? Ginger? Kapeng Barako? Calamansi?). Joy, Julie, and I loved opening the wrappings. Under the colorful outer covering there is a layer of silver foil secured with a round gold sticker embossed with the words Theo and Philo.

Theo and Philo Artisan Chocolates are the only truly Filipino chocolates - made here from bean to bar. The cacao is from Davao and the sugar is from Bacolod. I first heard about them from Anna Meloto-Wilk, president of Human Nature, when she visited the branch a month or two ago.

This will be sooooooo great as a gift to someone who is (1) a chocoholic, (2) a patriot, (3) a person who likes receiving unique gifts/a person who has everything -- there is always someone like this on our christmas list, right?, (4) a person who appreciates good design.

A disclaimer before I proceed to the taste test. I am not a chocolate connoisseur. Neither are Joy and Julie. Julie though has keen taste buds. And she was more adventurous than Joy. Joy did not want to try siling labuyo, ginger, and calamansi at all and only did so because i made her. :))

The chili, though mild, lingers in the mouth. The chocolate is the kind that melts in your mouth and coats your tongue. The chili with it. Very unusual. The but I have a few friends who I think will love this.

Another unexpected varient is the green mango with sea salt. Wow. I love Theo and Philo for coming up with this. Surprisingly, my daughter Jana who joined us in the taste test, chose this as her favorite. I expected her to go for the milk chocolate. The green mango chunks are undeniably there. They weren't just hints but really there. The sea salt too. I already know who I am going to give this to for Christmas. I know you know who you are. :P

This one was also nice. Candied calamansi peel, I think. The effect of eating it is exactly like eating a chocolate chunk after having squeezed calamansi over it. Nice.

This one tasted like a coffee flavored hard candy. For people who like coffee. Julie could taste a langka (jackfruit) aftertaste. She thought a langka variant would be great.

I liked the Barako better than the Toffee though. When we opened the package, you could really smell the coffee! I would say my sister Maita would love this if only I didn't know that she would love everything here.

This was Joy's favorite. It was the only one with a different packaging -- a cardboard box. This one is luxurious comfort food.

This is the 70% dark chocolate. Very valentine's day packaging, no? This would look so good tied up with a thin dark brown ribbon.

For Joy and me, this was too ginger-y. Theo and Philo used candied ginger. This is a flavor you need to get used to. Or for people who love their ginger.

This is my favorite. I am no longer sharing this. Keep your hands off it, thank you very much. There were no discernible pinipig or pili bits. It was more like everything was ground up and mixed up with heavenly results. When I was eating it, I don't know why but I thought of polvoron. Maybe because Goldilocks polvoron uses pili nuts?

Theo and Philo are a bit pricey (retail price is Php 105) for a bar sized 4.5 by 2.5 inches. But of course you know that basing the cost of a chocolate on its size is sort of...dumb. Shipping cost was a bit expensive as it was sent here with ice packs so they don't melt or anything while in transit. But they are so worth it.

A lot of my friends are getting this for Christmas. Hahaha. No more surprise for you. Sorry. With Human Nature products, of course. So my gift packs will not only make the receiver (hopefully) and the giver (that's me) happy, but the Filipino farmers who grew the ingredients as well.

Friday, March 11, 2011

a book for a long weekend

i am so excited for a long weekend to come because i just got myself a new book that i would like to read uninterrupted. well, as uninterrupted as a mother with three young kids and one angst-filled teenager can realistically expect.

ateneo hosted the launch of tony enriquez's newest novel, the activist.

the book is a historical novel set in the 70s about a young zamboangueno "who dares to challenge the despot Ferdinand Marcos".

the back reads:
Antonio Enriquez transports us to the Philippine capital city of Zamboanga in the grip of a military dictatorship and assassination, where Lorenz Diaz, Jr., a rising socialist, dares to challenge the despot Ferdinand Marcos. In search for truth and freedom, he was imprisoned several timesin notorious military stockades - unsure if the sun would shine in his face or on his abandoned corpse in the "killing fields" the next day. As we follow Lorenz's struggle against the dictator Marcos, we too discover a nation in terror. as a historical novel, its peculiar gift is that it doesn't read like one but as a suspenseful mystery novel, keeping us well-entertained, our eyeballs glued to its pages, but unlike a detective novel, unscrambling the oppression and horror of Martial Law.

he signed my copy. he wrote,
"to yen, it's so nice to see you again. salud, Tony."

antonio enriquez is from zamboanga. from the family that owned the mansions along buenavista road: the white house, the pink house. i have heard of him when i was still in college, my classmate amis buenafe, his niece, lived in the white house. amis told me then that she had an uncle who has won awards for writing books. but at that time in our lives, amis and i and our other friends had other things on our mind than uncles who wrote books, even award-winning ones.

in 2008 when tony enriquez was a writer in residence here at ateneo, i asked him to give a mini lecture on book the philippine book publishing industry to my introduction to mass communication class.

at the book launch yesterday, he said it took him four years to finish the activist. he said most of his books take that long to finish. he also said that he thinks this is the only novel about the marcos years, that there are many books about that period, but none of them were novels.

i got the book for 250 yesterday but i understand that after the launch, it'll go for 300.

i look forward to reading the book for many reasons (including my interest in anything martial law related largely because i am a martial law baby) but the most urgent one is to know why he gave the protagonist such an incongruous name.

Monday, February 7, 2011

call center chef

ate mila on the phone a minute ago: "ate, ingon ni kuya tudluan daw ko nimo mag luto ug kaldereta para panihapon."

me: sa phone?

yaya mila: oo te. sa phone.

waaahhhh!!! i can't do call center chef now, ariel! it's my first day back at work after a week of being away! pwede mag take out na lang ka? or pwede ipa laga na lang na. mila can do that without over the phone instructions. :((

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

rainy days on wednesdays make me think of pan de sal and butter

which bakery in zamboanga makes the best pan de sal?

when i ask pan de sal loving people this, they tell me it is either (a) national or (b) abc.

i love pan de sal. husband prefers slice bread., the softer, the better. i like my breads and cakes to be on the rustic side, dense and hefty. something you can really really bite.

slice bread is ok. but it's bland. and soft. so i toast mine 'til its stiff, but not charcoal-y, the way a high school friend liked hers.

once toasted, i slather the toasted bread with butter.

my husband does not understand butter. his spread has to be sweet and sour, like, say, ladies' choice sandwich spread which i think is the pits. he will only use butter if there is absolutely nothing else.

this is to me the best palaman: queensland butter.

queensland used to be widely available when i was younger. i understand from my mother that now they are already hard to find. boiled camote is excellent with queensland. the two go so well together, especially if the camote is still piping hot and the butter has not been refrigerated, and is therefore it is runny.

now i am hungry.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

shoe fly, don't bother me

can someone please tell me where to buy shoes in zamboanga?

i have been going to town for shoe-reconnaissance mission for three days now, all in fruitless. i am looking for a particular kind of pair. wedge sandals, actually. i am also looking for something that meets the following criteria, arranged in order of importance to me:

1. they have to be strong enough to withstand ME for at least a year
2. they must not cost more than 2k
3. they have to look clunky
4. the straps have to of leather (related to #1), and cut wide (i will tell you why)
5. the color has to be in the brown family

something that looks like any of these:

if i can find one that looks like this, i will buy two of them, i swear.

the most important criteria is also the one that is giving me the most problems. do you remember cinderella's two evil stepsisters? one had narrow feet and the other had wide feet. i have feet like the latter's. on top of that, i am a heavy walker. (i am not yet ready to accept publicly that i am heavy). in general, i do not tread softly; more truck than bike. and i like to walk A WHOLE LOT. walking is cathartic to me.

so, wide feet + stomper + frequent walker + the-other-gravity-problem-that-must-not-be-named = a need for very durable shoes.

this rules out the korean and china made ones in the 250 to 650 price range that seems to be the staple of almost all stores here selling shoes. i envy girls who can wear them without destroying them. buying those are not cost efficient in my case because they break after one or two outings. AND/OR, my feet is gets abrasions and even open wounds.

they have to look clunky to match the rest of me.

the straps have to be of leather because that's the most comfortable and most durable. and because, aside from being wide sideways, my hooves are also ample up and down. :((

the color has to be in the brown family because that is the one that will go with most of my clothes now.