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Cold desserts for a hot summer

By MONIQUE TODA, The Philippine STAR Published Apr 21, 2024 5:00 am

The sweltering summer heat feels like there is a hair dryer on my face at all times. The hot air hits me like a brick oven as I step out. I love summer, but sometimes the close to boiling temperature makes me melt away and listless. My perfect picker-upper? A nice cold, frozen, or iced dessert. It hits the spot, cools me, and I become lively and energetic once again. For me, cold desserts during summer is life!

Here are some recommendations of frosty treats perfect for the hot weather.

Gelato by Miko at Joel’s Place
Aside from exclusives to Joel’s Place, Gelato by Miko offers New York Cheese Cake Cookie Dough ice cream.

I have a shared past with pastry chef Miko Aspiras. We both worked as part of the opening team of a luxury hotel. Nowadays, his career takes him back and forth from Australia to the Philippines. So I was happy to find out that he established his own ice cream line locally called Gelato by Miko. His latest ice cream outlet is at the wonderful grocerant Joel’s Place at Rockwell. The Joel’s Place exclusive flavors are the Vargas Kitchen-inspired Brazo Bomb (like their well-loved Brazo de Mercedes) and Ice Box Cake (chiffon buttercake and chocolate in a white gelato base). Other to-die -for flavors are: Ube Basque Burnt Cheesecake, Fiore Di Latte, New York Cheesecake Cookie Dough, Valhrona Passion Fruit & Rasberry, and more. This is what love tastes like in the summer.

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Follow Joel’s Place at Instagram.

Halo-Halo Harana at The Lobby of Peninsula Manila
The Lobby of the Peninsula serves around 5,475 of the popular Halo-Halo Harana a year.

Let’s talk about the Pinoy classic and everyone’s favorite halo-halo. Many restaurants have good halo-halo but Peninsula’s Halo-Halo Harana is extra special. The Lobby serves around 5,475 of it a year, and Time Magazine has even dubbed the iced dessert as “Asia’s Best Legal High.” The serving size in a balloon-shaped glass is generous and two people can share. With a combination of sweetened kidney beans, garbanzos, kaong, colored gelatin and more, the halo-halo Harana is topped by heavenly ube ice cream and leche flan. Enjoying this at the hotel’s grand lobby under the gaze of the sun sculpture (beautiful and thankfully not emanating heat) by National artist Napoleon Abueva, is pure summer joy.

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Follow Peninsula Manila on Instagram.

I-Tim Ma Prao at Benjarong, Dusit Thani Manila
I-Tim Ma Prao or young coconut

I-Tim Ma Prao or young coconut sherbet is a classic Thai dessert that is usually served in a coconut shell. It is refreshing and light. In Benjarong, the creation is creatively served in a coconut shell-shaped chocolate. The chocolate kicks it up a notch and adds “yumminess” to the cool dessert. After dining on authentic Thai dishes at this restaurant, it is a lovely way to end the meal.

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Follow Dusit Thani Manila on Instagram.

Shaved Ice at Meet Fresh, Podium Mall
The Boba Milk Tea shaved ice from Meet Fresh, a Taiwanese dessert restaurant chain

There is nothing like shaved ice to cool you down pronto. At this interesting Taiwanese dessert restaurant chain, they offer impressive shaved ice desserts that three to four people can share. We had the Boba Milk Tea and was overwhelmingly satisfied. Aside from the milk tea sauce, it had boba and ice-cream. Other shaved ice creations are Volcano Mania, Mt. Kiliman Taro, 8 Treasures, Pudding & O Mochi Milk, and Mango Shaved ice.

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Follow Meet Fresh on Instagram.

Hokkaido Soft Serve Ice Cream at Tokyo Milk Cheese Factory and Minna no Japanese Grocery
Cow Cow Ice is the soft serve ice cream from Tokyo Milk Cheese Factory

I love soft serve ice cream. I will rarely pass a soft serve ice cream machine and not have one. When made with creamy Hokkaido milk, it becomes more irresistible to me. Tokyo Milk Cheese Factory has Hokkaido soft-serve ice cream called Cow Cow Ice, in some of their branches. I have mine in their Mitsukoshi branch. But I discovered another place which offers it as well, which is a Japanese supermarket/grocery store called Minna no in Legaspi Village, Makati. The quality and creaminess is quite good, and I find myself visiting this neighborhood grocery specifically for their soft serve ice cream.

Hokkaido soft serve ice cream is offered by a Minna no, a Japanese grocery in Legaspi Village, Makati

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Follow Tokyo Milk Cheese Factory Instagram, and Minnano Japanese Grocery on Instagram.

Banana Pudding from BananaramaPH
Kimi Delgado's banana pudding

Kimi Delgado, who baked all her life, was convinced by family and friends to put up a banana pudding business in 2016. Years later, the range of banana pudding flavors has now grown to eight, which includes: caramel, toffee chocochip, malted milk, coconut macaroon, among others . She also has mango and avocado puddings. I first tried the classic banana pudding years ago and was hooked. There is just something so comforting in puddings. Soon, Kimi will be launching SundaysPH, a line of cold desserts.

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To order, send a DM at Instagram; through their website, or text 09178225673.

Bingsu at Bingsu House at the Fort Strip
Really good Mango and Injeolmi Bingsu at Bingsu House

Finally, we have bingsu, a Korean iced dessert with a variety of toppings such as fruits, chocolate, red bean, nuts, cheese, cookies, chocolate, and just about anything. In Korea, I like those made with honey comb and persimmons. Its finely shaved ice contains milk or condensed milk, adding a delightful sweetness to the chilled preparation. We had the popular Mango Bingsu topped with cheese cubes, which was so refreshing. The salty and sweet combination complemented each other and was simply chef’s kiss. We also had the Injeolmi bingsu flavor which had Korean rice cake covered with powdered dried beans. Bingsu is definitely a pleasant remedy to the scorching heat.