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Self-care in edible form

By SCOTT & THERESE GARCEAU Published Aug 26, 2021 6:00 am

There’s something about extended quarantine that makes you want to turn to baked goods.  There’s a reason they call them “happy carbs,” and it’s not just the serotonin boost they give you; it’s the sheer pleasure of sinking your teeth into something crunchy, chewy, crusty or creamy. 

Here are the latest baked goods that are worth the delivery charge and the calories. Happiness is near guaranteed.

Trust in the crust

Wildflour, the hugely popular bakery-café started by Ana Lorenzana de Ocampo and her sister Margarita Lorenzana-Manzke, can’t sit still and not tinker around with their baked goods, not even during a second round of lockdown.

So recently they came out with a new dessert, plus new packaging for its popular focaccia, as well as their pizza boxes — all capitalizing on their signature, store-made bread, dough and pastry.

 Nice to meat you: Meat Lover’s pizza by Wildflour Manila

It starts with their superior brick ovens, flown in from San Francisco, to fire up their pizzas and specially made creations. Everyone has a favorite Wildflour dish, but it all begins with bread. As they like to say, “Trust in the crust.”

We got a sneak peek at the new deliveries, and they all deserve a pop in the toaster oven in your own home, even if we’re not ready to sit down in restaurants quite yet.

First, there are the Custard Cremadettes. We loved these store-baked flaky pastries coated with crackly, crème brulee-like caramelized sugar and stuffed with the freshest custard we’ve had in a while.

 New dessert:  Wildflour’s Custard Cremadettes come in flavors ranging from ube and matcha to cream cheese, custard, dulce, Nutella, strawberry and pink guava.

“The cremadette originated in our LA-based sister resto Republique care of my sister, Margarita Manzke,” says Ana. “A lot of what we make is inspired by travel and nostalgia, so this one’s a little bit of our longing for Parisian Viennoiserie filled with our constant cravings — everything from Nutella to matcha.”

Other flavors include ube, cream cheese, custard, dulce de leche, strawberry, and pink guava, and they come in boxes of four, eight or 12.

These are seriously good. Faintly reminiscent of their popular cronuts, these half-moon pastries are a perfect balance of creamy taste and flaky, airy pastry. You might want to spring for more than four. (What the hell, try all eight flavors!)

Next up in their new selection is the mascarpone focaccia. Delivered to your door in a round foil pan, you can pop these into an oven (preheated to 375°F) for two to four minutes and serve. It comes with a special honey dip, though if you’re old-school Italian, you’ll probably prefer a balsamic and olive oil dip.

Wildflour’s Mascarpone Focaccia is delivered in a foil pan you can pop into the oven to reheat.

The secret to great bread just might be air. Whether it’s authentic French baguettes or focaccia, the air pockets come from CO2 gas released as the yeast digests the carbohydrates in the flour.

Wildflour makes it even more mind-blowing by layering their focaccia with freshly made mascarpone cream cheese. For us, the air pockets in the focaccia allow the mascarpone to actively mingle with the crusty bread (soft on the inside), almost like a duvet of carefully sourced cheese cushioned by baked goodness. A must-try.

And finally, they came up with new, red pizza boxes that are not only authentically Italian but also holiday in flavor (it is almost September, after all). They sent a variation on the popular Wildflour Meat Lovers Pizza — laden with porcini, pepperoni, bacon, Italian sausage and, for extra kick, salami picante. Their pizzas use only authentic San Marzano tomatoes and Buffalo mozzarella (sourced from a Bacolod farm) for their sauce, aged Parmigiano, Pecorino Romano and the freshest organic toppings, whether it’s local or flown in from France, depending on the season.

If you’re craving something flaky, crunchy, sublime and delicious, these three dishes are perfect lockdown relief.

Visit wildflourtogo.com or download the Wildflour PH app on your phone to order for delivery. 

Chika: Bibingka reimagined

One of our favorite desserts at Gallery by Chele has always been their Signature Bibingka Cheesecake, their modern interpretation of bibingka that has the airy texture of a soufflé and creaminess of fresh cheese.

Now Deli by Chele has enlarged this innovative dessert from personal size to family size and given it a catchy new name:  Chika, a portmanteau of “cheesecake” and “bibingka” that should resonate with Pinoys who get its other meaning.

Deli by Chele co-executive chef Carlos Villaflor reinterpreted the beloved Filipino dessert, bringing it to Basque country and marrying it with the glorious cheesiness and smoky notes of Burnt Basque cheesecake before wrapping it up in a banana leaf and gilding it with a sprinkling of grated cheese, bibingka-style.

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“We go deep,” he explains. “We are learning as much as we can, not only about the best ingredients from here and abroad but also about how unique our culinary heritage is.”

Launched in 2020, Deli by Chele is the restaurant’s lab come to life — a culinary playground where Chele, Carlos and their team experiment with responsibly sourced ingredients to innovate new products that not only celebrate timeless artisanal techniques but also reimagine local and global flavors.

“What we have learned has opened our eyes to the relationships between cultures, food systems and the world we live in,” notes Carlos. “The richness of our culinary traditions is where we play.”

This time, Carlos and his team played around with the classic holiday bibingka. Chika looks like the traditional rice cake until you slice into it and your knife comes out coated in creamy cheese.

“I love bibingka,” Carlos says. “For me, a warm bibingka, wrapped in a charred banana leaf, brings up happy memories, celebrating the holidays with family and friends. There are few things more Filipino than that.  The question for us at Deli by Chele was: How do we honor our shared experience of the bibingka but create something new, something unique?”

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Having had the privilege of traveling to Spain’s Basque region to train with some of the best chefs in the world, Carlos has an intimate understanding of the making of the burnt cheesecake. By merging the classic ingredients of a bibingka with the techniques he learned from the Basque region, Carlos and his team found inspiration. Thus, Chika was born.

Chika not only melds two words; it also celebrates two culinary traditions coming together in one unique dessert.

“I hope Chika brings happiness,” Carlos says. “Not just during special days but also when you just want to share some joy and comfort with the people you love.”

Chika comes in one size — a 6.5-inch cake — and is priced at P960 plus shipping cost. You can order it at www.delibychele.com .