Iâ€™d known that Kitchen a la Ching was famous for their liqueur cakes, so I was surprised when I received a text message from the owner, part of which read: â€â€¦Iâ€™m pleased to say that we have the best oatmeal cookies in Manilaâ€¦â€.
Thatâ€™s one tall statement, I thought to myself. Letâ€™s see.
After a volley of texts, I got another surprise when I found out that â€œChingâ€ was really Francis Tempongko. â€œI bought the business from my sister in law when she migrated abroad,â€ he explained. Together with his fiancÃ©e, Myra Bernardo, he handles the creative processes while Myra takes care of the numbers.
Now, about those cookies. I will be the first to tell you that I like my cookies â€“ all cookies â€“ to be chewy. Iâ€™m a texture person, very driven by the mouth feel of food.
But Kitchen a la Chingâ€™s oatmeal cookies (P140 / jar of 22) were a revelation to me. First of all, theyâ€™re crunchy, and I shocked myself by finding that I liked that very much. Unlike other crispy oatmeal cookies whose crunch relies on its thinness, these cookies were as Francis puts it, â€œThick, but crisp and not hard.â€ Iâ€™ll say.
Thereâ€™s a hard crrrunch! as I bite into one, and as I munch away, the cookie shatters in my mouth, its crispness reverberating in my ears. Hoo-ah, what a taste trip! This cookie offers nothing but the purest essence of oatmeal and the nuttiness of chopped walnuts. Outstanding.
The oatmeal cookies are also available sugar-free, the recipe of which took Francis a year to formulate. â€œMost people nowadays are looking for sugar-free products,â€ he says. His hard work has paid off, resulting in a cookie that keeps true to the goodness of its â€œsugar-fullâ€ sister, although the sugar-free cookie is crunchier, if you can believe that.
Kitchen a la Ching has an entire spectrum of liqueur cakes (all P220) from almond amaretto to banana au rhum, lemon vodka, orange Cointreau, and the classic rhum butter cake. The cake itself is not too â€œrum-my,â€ but it boasts of a delightfully dense crumb, and that gorgeous â€œripâ€ down its middle, a trademark of almost all loaf cakes. If you add P50, all liqueur cakes come in a beautiful wooden crate that Iâ€™m now using as a business card holder. Itâ€™s always helpful when gifts come in packages that can be re-used.
Most revel bars that Iâ€™ve tried are quite hard and dry. Itâ€™s a pity, since theyâ€™re really quite whimsical looking cookies with their pockmarked tops and brown and beige riding and running over one another. Kitchen a la Chingâ€™s revel bars (P110 / box of 8) are the first Iâ€™ve tried that are moist and quite substantial, one portion is too much for me. My only comment however is that these bars have just a tad bit too much chocolate in proportion to the oatmeal.
Of all the food for the gods (P125 / box of 8) that Iâ€™ve tried this season, these ones strike a happy balance between wetness and structure. Some date bars are so moist that they cannot bear the weight of the dates and nuts. These are just right, with an almost intoxicating fragrance of brown sugar and vanilla.
Kitchen a la Ching
Francis Tempongko – (0918) 926-4675
Myra Bernardo â€“ 822-2556 / (0927) 925-7590
Stalls at the Greenhills Tiangge & at Tiendesitas.
Catch Kitchen a la Ching at the following bazaars:
Dec. 8-16 — World Trade Center
Dec. 14-16 — Tektite Bldg.
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