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Summer Dream

I know its not yet summer, but I am a summer opportunist. Meaning I like to turn every occassion into a summer chance to binge on my favorite sweet and cool desserts.

While I am fondly known as the "coffeelady" (there was even a time that I requested for coffee while on a mountaintop), I don't really play any favorites on desserts. Anything sweet...and cool and creamy and dreamy...To sum up my philosophy on desserts, "I do not discriminate".

So my dream summer dessert for now is:

The Peninsula Manila's Awe Inspiring Dessert
I have never tasted this one. But since my friends and I have a penchant for food tripping, I know that it will not be long till I get my hands, tongue, tastebuds, all senses really, on this fantasy dessert.

Btw, this is listed in Time Asia's "Best of Asia" edition as the "Best Legal High" and I quote:

"With its gridlocked traffic, appalling shantytowns and intermittent threat of a coup d'├ętat, Manila is not the easiest city to be in. You have to take time to discover its pleasures. But your search will be worth it if it leads you to the intoxicating delectation that is halo-halo. In Tagalog, halo-halo means "mix-mix" and that's exactly what this luridly colored dessert is: cooked fruit, candy, sweetened pulses, sugared cereals, ice cream, jelly—in fact, whatever confectionery comes to hand and in foolhardy quantities, thrown together in a vast bowl with shaved ice and milk. The resulting agglomeration really ought to come with a health warning, for if consumed habitually it might send you into an insulin coma. In moderation, however, it's not to be missed.

There are as many recipes for halo-halo as there are trembling sugar junkies, but the breathtaking acme of them all is the halo-halo Harana, served in the opulent lobby of the Peninsula hotel. This psychedelic eyeball-popper comprises egg-yolk custard, chickpeas, sweetened kidney beans, colored gelatin, red, green and white sugar palm, nata de coco (or coconut gel), purple-yam preserve, sago in syrup, jackfruit, makapuno (a rare variety of creamy coconut), purple-yam ice cream, toasted rice crisps, about an inch of evaporated milk and—with emphatic excess—sugar. Its arrival, in a dramatically oversized balloon glass, heralds the start of a gustatory event that you'll be recalling for days. The lobby's patrons—a Who's Who of Manila society—are said to order 7,300 halo-halo Haranas a year. That's 20 orders a day—or, to put it another way, 20 customers seeing double, reeling through the glass doors, and taking in the smoggy carnage of Ayala Avenue, thinking, "It's okay. I can deal with it all now. I'm feeling absolutely fine."

I always pass by the Peninsula on the way from Ayala triangle to Glorietta.  And knowing that within those walls is my fantasy dessert makes my skin jump in anticipation.  So I promise myself that I will get to enjoy it this summer.

Halo-halo, here I come!


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