Monday, May 12, 2014

Pampanga Eats: 1930s Ensaymadas at Homemade Treasures

I had first met Chona Ayson earlier in the year, during one of JJ Yulo's Pinoy Eats World events at the Podium Mall. There was this very reserved woman selling ensaymada, mamon, all other sorts of pastries that she'd make and bring down from Pampanga daily for that weekend event.I wasn't a fan of the localized brioche bun - one of the big chain bakeshops ruined it for me a long time ago - but Chona gave me a sample to try and - ding! - just like that, I was in love with the pillow-y soft ensaymadas of Homemade Treasures.

Chona has been a long time friend of many of the guys in my little foodie family, and as luck would have it, a trip to her beautiful kitchen in Pampanga was part of the itinerary.

Chona has pick up points in Makati and Ortigas for people who order her pastries in Manila, or she can also deliver her ensaymadas and mamons via courier services like FedEx or LBC. She definitely does not have customers dining in, so to be welcomed into her work space to sample some of her creations was such a treat. I mean, just look at that beautiful kitchen!

Chona had decked her kitchen out with some of her best-selling sweets, like her Belgian Chocolate Chip Cookies (P600 for 6 pieces). Each cookie is pretty big, at 4 - 4.5-inches in diameter, with a melt-in-your-mouth Belgian chocolate center. This is so worth the calories. If you're afraid of packing on the calories from this devilishly sweet treat - then share, dammit.

Chona had laid out all the ensaymadas out on tiered stands, and we picked out the ones we wanted to try the most. It was an organized frenzy, to say the least.

The Classic 1930s Ensaimada (P100/piece) was what I had a sample of at the Pinoy Meets World weekend at Podium. The ensaymadas are pricey, but one has to take into consideration the quality of the ingredients and the size. This puffy piece of Pinoy brioche was oh-so-soft, light, and airy, with a light quezo de bola flavor on a buttery base.

The Chili Ensaymada (P100/piece) was another favorite of mine. A smidge stouter than its classic counterpart, this ensaymada has sprinkles of chili flakes, giving it a little heat that is instantly quelled by the cheese and butter. I enjoyed this the most when taking a bite and then taking a small sip of the tsokolate batirol Chona provided for us. Such a treat! I really, really like this woman!

I passed on the ube and ham ensaymadas, as both flavors didn't appeal to me. The Greek ensaymada sounded so quirky - and no body seemed to be giving it much mind - so I gave that a go.

If you're looking for your money's worth, you get that and then some with Chona's Pistachio Ensaymada (P130). Just look at how pretty is is. It's also pretty good to split between two people, too. But then, why in the world would you want to share an amazing pistachio ensaymada with someone, no matter how close you two are? Dibs.

I remember somebody telling me how Chona's Greek Ensaymada (P130) had something around the lines of Greek yogurt in it, so I was super excited to try this, as I was also trying to figure out how she'd incorporate yogurt into the ensaymada. As it turns out, it was Greek cheese. Haha!

Now, if that wasn't enough, Chona also put out a big cake of Sans Rival and this magnificent Pastel Ruso. I think I may just hike up to Pampanga sooner than anticipated just for this. Creamy, sweet, chewy, and nutty, this is my idea of the perfect tea cake - one that I may just polish off in one sitting.

Thank you once again to our amazing, amazing hostess, Chona! We had such a splendid time mucking around your kitchen, trying out all the different ensaymadas, cheese rolls, and cookies. I definitely know what I'll be ordering the next time I feel like enjoying baked goods!

When mucking around Pampanga, make sure to ring up Chona of Homemade Treasures in advanced and order some of her gobsmackingly delicious ensaymadas, cookies, mamons, or cakes! It's definitely worth the trip up, so order a lot!

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Homemade Treasures
(045) 3234149
+63 928 5070928
184 Manibaug, Libutad,
Porac, Pampanga

Homemade Treasures products are available at the following pick-up points:
  1. For Pampanga Clients: Homemade Treasures (Porac, Pampanga)
  2. For Manila Clients: For un-refrigerated goods only. Every Friday depending on the schedule.
    • Makati Area: Focaccia Restaurant (Ground Floor, A. Venue Mall, Makati Avenue)
    • Ortigas or Pasig Area: Astoria Plaza, Ortigas
*Products may be delivered to your doorstep through LBC for clients residing within the Philippines. Please contact Chona Ayson at 0928 507 0928 for inquiries.