Saturday, April 19, 2014

Getting the Scoop at Carmen's Best

I read somewhere that “... everyone knows that ice cream is worth the trouble of being cold. Like all things virtuous, you have to suffer to gain the reward.” I think the same applies to making it.

I met the Ice Cream Man himself, Paco Magsaysay, during a Carmen's Best event hosted by the fun folks of Nuffnang. He was soft-spoken, friendly, and very proud of the new flavors he was unveiling for us to taste. And why wouldn't he, Carmen's Best Artisanal Ice Cream has been raved about ever since Paco started selling them in pints, at times made to order, as they run out in the shops so fast, out of his home in Alabang.

When I mentioned we'd be having a long bloggers weekend in Alabang, Paco offered to give us a tour of his facilities (before they move it to a bigger location), and we were very honored to have been invited into his lovely home. We went on a Saturday night, with most of my friends bringing their kids along - or in Jane's case, having her kids represent while she stayed entertaining a guest at Bellevue - Paco broke out the soft serve ice cream machine, as well as a few other treats for us to enjoy while we chatted away about ice cream.

We filed into the kitchen-cum-ice cream factory and Paco gave us a tour of the place, as well as a bit of background on how he started making ice cream. First, as a hobby, since they had a plentiful supply of  milk (his family also owns Holly's Milk), and then eventually upgrading his equipment as the demand for the ice cream got bigger and bigger. He took up an ice cream short course at Penn State, learning the ins and outs of ice cream manufacturing from "cow to cone".

As my chef friend always says, fat is flavor. And the same is true for ice cream. The higher the fat content, the creamier and tastier the ice cream. Paco showed us a packet of dense cream - what it looked like before being thrown into the ice cream making machine.

I really appreciate how great Paco is with kids. It takes a lot of patience dealing with children in such a small space - he was super patient and very hands on, letting the kids (and kids at heart!) use their senses in seeing, touching, and smelling what goes in to everything.

Of course, the quality of the ice cream also depends on the quality of the milk, and with him having such a close connection with Holly's Milk, Paco knows exactly what goes into them, and the guys at Holly's can give him exactly what he needs.

Oh, if any of you were wondering, the artisanal ice cream was named after his unica hija, who dropped by to quickly say hello before disappearing into the house. This is such a beautiful photo of the father-daughter duo that revolutionized ice cream in the Philippines!

Jericho was pretty chuffed with his skills at the soft serve ice cream machine. Look at that smirk. Unlike most soft serve ice creams, this one used Paco's special recipe of more fat, less air with the final product being dense and lovely.

Perfect for dessert people, like myself! I think I must've had around three servings of these, with almonds and a mix of Paco's homemade fudge and butterscotch. I was so happy, I almost didn't want to leave the house!

We also tried a few of Carmen's actual ice creams, like the Piscachio (yum!) and the Kiwi-inspired Hokey Pokey, a mix of vanilla ice cream and honeycomb (double yum!).

I don't know what I love more: the homemade fudge or the homemade butterscotch. Paco should really start bottling and selling these along with his ice cream! The butterscotch is addicting (especially with a sprinkling of almonds) and the chocoholic in me loves fudge (which also goes well with almonds... and tiny marshmallows). I had half a mind to go all gangsta and pour that golden liquid right out of the bottle and down my throat. Hmm...

When mucking around Manila, seek out Carmen's Best Artisanal Ice Cream and discover your favorite flavor. I have always been partial to the classics - Butter Pecan and Salted Caramel, but the new flavors like Pistachio, Malted Milk, Hokey Pokey, and Cookie Dough, are making me do a double take. If only I had enough space in my a freezer for all the different flavors!

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Carmen's Best Artisanal Ice Cream
+63 2 809 2042
+63 916 623 5956
Centrum II Building, 150 Valero Street,
Sacledo Village, Makati