Dessert Comes First

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For your Valentine: The best sans rival in the world

posted by in Home Bakers, Quezon City

sansrival piece

Yeah, yeah, say what you want about Valentine’s Day, and hop onto the bandwagon of disillusioned (dare I say, jilted?) individuals who curse this red-letter day to the lowest hell. It really seems to be quite the trend to hate February 14. So, if you’re looking for more ‘misery loves company,’ then you’ve come to the wrong website – at least for today – because I love … no, I heart Valentine’s Day.

I love it because I just do. There are no flowers or chocolates or a fancy dinner date for me and my Bin. Heck, I don’t even get a gift, but I still love this day for what it is. Tonight I’m cooking a steak and pasta dinner for my Bin and Boo and I’ve prepared three kinds of desserts. Sweets for the sweet.

Speaking of sweet, if there’s one day in the year that you absolutely, unequivocally MUST have dessert, it’s on Valentine’s Day. Or your birthday. You choose. I choose to have it on both days. (As if that’s any surprise.)


Here’s an extraordinary gift to gift your Valentine – or yourself. It’s called a sansrival (sans-ree-VAL) or sans rival – with or without the space in between. Obviously meaning “without rival,” a sans rival is layers of crisp meringue filled and covered with buttercream. Cashews are the traditional choice, but I’ve seen macadamia sans rivals, and this here one is the pistachio version.

This sans rival (P730) is made by Jill Sandique, pastry chef extraordinaire. She and I met when I dined at Teak, where we talked exuberantly about desserts, and where she told me that the food shots on my business card were good enough to lick. A few days later, there was this sans rival waiting for me outside my front door.

pistachios up close
I really like this photo: pistachios up close

Jill’s cakes are oval-shaped, her trademark. Cutting into it, I hear a perceptible crrrunch! I knew then that I wasn’t dealing with just any sans rival. Cutting cleanly, the slice sits temptingly on my plate, a glistening gem of green and cream. My fork slides through four layers of buttercream and then works its way through the crispy layers of meringue. My first swallow induces a lengthy interlude of silence. So delectable is this sans rival that I’ve lost my capacity to speak. I can feel the buttercream coating my tongue, the first bite of the meringue layers crackling in complaint, and then giving in to the persistence of my chew. Can you picture my mental and spiritual ecstasy?

gimme a hug
gimme a hug

Partaking of this sans rival is a peak experience, a religious culinary moment brought on by the pastry’s high quality and the masterfulness with which it was made. Considering all the ersatz and inferior sans rivals around, it is crucial to eat the real thing every so often. And this is it.

This may just be the thing you need to believe in Valentine’s Day again.

Jill Sandique of Dèlize
33 Sunrise Drive, Cubao, Quezon City
721-7022, 497-8811, (0905) 252-2517, (0922) 826-2673
(ask for Lea, Mimi, or Vangie)
Allow a minimum of 2-3 days for your order(s).

Related post:
As Marketman found out when he attempted to make a sans rival, this is one dessert that is better bought than made yourself. He affirms, “It’s definitely not amateur-friendly…” Yes, the meringue layers have an irritating tendency to stick to the baking pans and to add insult to injury, they don’t stay crisp for very long.

30 Responses to “For your Valentine: The best sans rival in the world”

  • Hi! I love sans rival and I will definitely try this one. I just wonder if it the type that becomes chewy cuz that’s the way I like it, not crunchy the days pass–the old fashioned way.


  • As I wrote you before, I’m a late bloomer when it comes to Sans Rival (by the way, it’s more correctly ppronounced “sanh rival,” the second “s” is silent. ;-)), due to all the — as you say — ersatz versions that I tasted growing up. But THIS one looks like I’d lovelovelove it! It’s crunchy, doesn’t use cashew, and best of all, has FOUR layers of THICK buttercream! Butter is my fat of choice; I can’t get enough of it! It definitely looks worth the price, since the Macadamia Sans Rival of Patty Loanzon that I told you about costs much more. Would you know if Jill Sandique (isn’t she the one who does the desserts of Cascada and Kulinarya?) delivers? I’m almost never in QC and I MUST have this cake!

    If you like your Sans Rival crunchy and buttery, as I do, I urge you again to try the one from House of Sylvannas, in both the butter and chocolate (heavenly!) flavors. :-P


  • hi! nice blog! just wanted to comment on teak. we ate there last week, and i must say their food was lousy! we ordered the lamb adobo which was this whole lamb shank cooked adobo style. the lamb was dry (as if it had been kept in the freezer for more than a few days). and when we told the waiter we were not happy, he just said he will tell the chef. I doubt if he did, no one offered their apologies or anything. obviously the positive write-ups on the paper means that the restaurant only prioritizes pr writers etc.

    bad experience talaga.


  • Hi Lori :) delurking to say I really love sans rival and this is the best-looking I’ve seen so far :D yummy!


  • That cake looks and sounds so amazing. I’ve never seen it before! ARGH! HOW SHALL I EVER TRY THIS CAKE?!


  • What a gorgeous cake!

    I would gladly make that cake my Valentine!


  • Well, this just isn’t fair, Lori. I simply must have one of these. Fortunately, I don’t consider myself to be an amateur (not to sound too full of myself!) and though I am still meringue-challenged, I’ll have to give it a go myself soon. Happy Valentine’s Day!


  • Oh yummy…

    “Cutting cleanly, the slice sits temptingly on my plate, a glistening gem of green and cream. My fork slides through four layers of buttercream and then works its way through the crispy layers of meringue.”

    That just sounds perfect to me. ( Your writing language is definitely the kind I like to read too… =) )


  • I have to have this soon! Will order it as soon as I get back into town!


  • you pic looks sooo good =) i was at the coffee bean last night and i saw the EXACT “looking” sans rival there too, could it be the same? i sis possible that miss sandique supplies the pistachio sans rival there?–just curious. unfortunately i was not able to try it ‘coz me and my friends dicided on sharing the dulce leche cheese cake(which was sooo good i might add)

    love your blogs!!! =)


  • oooppppsss sorry for the typos and mis-spelled words ;P i made mess there


  • Thanks for this Lori, I’ve been looking for the best sans rival and I’ve thought the betty’s “chewy” sansrival is the best… but this looks alot better and crunchier…

    Will try this out :) thanks for the tip


  • I did not mean the last comment to be an anonymous post.

    Anton here :)


  • Hi Lori,

    Being a lover of sans rival and sylvanas (my aunt is the woman behind House of Sylvanas in San Lo), your post had me drooling~~~! I remember how, during our summers in Dumaguete, we used to walk the 3 blocks to my aunt’s house where her little business started to savor a slice or two of those yummy things!

    Sigh, I blame those days in Dumsville for the weight I started to pile on so fast later in life!


  • Jen Tan, I just called them and yes, they do supply coffee bean so it should be easier for people who don’t live in QC to try it. Any thoughts on jackfruit sansrival?


  • Hi Lori,
    I just try the Pistachio Sansrival in Kulinarya and yes it was really good. Although the stocks of Kulinarya were a bit old, since the meringue layers were so chewy and not crunchy or crispy at all. But I have to say that this is one of the best Sansrival in town.


  • I am a French speaker and should say that the second “s” is indeed pronounced. In fact, it makes what is called a “liason” with the second word “rival”. When pronounced it sounds like one word, not two. I have searched high and low for a mention of a “gateau sans rival” on French websites and indeed it does exist. It is only in the Philippines that it has the popularity that it has as your average Frenchman has no idea what it is if asked. It would be interesting to figure out who brought the recipe to Manila in the first place. I have made a reasonable facsimile of it at home (Boston), believe it or not.


  • I have tasted a lot of sans rival from a lot of different places, but this one literally “takes the cake”, i can describe it in so many ways, delicious, scrumptious, tasty, delectable, mouth-watering, etc etc etc…..but the best description for this creation would be “to die-for”, it gets chewy by the day…..sets it apart from all the others…..Even my 5-year old daughter loves this concoction…..Try this one out…….


  • i’ve finally mastered sansrival just last night. i used the aluminum round cake pan (4) and greased them w/ canola oil and placed a round cut parchment paper and spread out the meringue, didn’t stick so much and so easy to peel off. cooked it for 1 1/2 hours at 250 deg F.


  • Hi Lori! There is a verrry delish sansrival place in Dumagete (yeah I know; it’s quite far!) but it’s really worth tryin.. I think that bakery (SR’s, if i remember it correctly) is the talk of their town cause their desserts are simply DIVINE. Maybe if the owner fancies your blog, she’ll gladly send you samples of it. :) I got mine through my mum, who had a lecture their, and I sinfully finished and entire box of sansrival and silvanas! And to think she had to fly like 5 different dessert boxes all the way to Manila! Yikes!=0

    Katrina’s right; back in Maryknoll, we were corrected for pronouncing the 2nd “s” of this rich, luscious treat. :)

    More power, Lori! Where can I read more of your articles? :)


  • whoops! sorry for not editing my entry.. i meant there :)


  • This is definitely the best sans rival in the world. When I tried calling Delize, they told me if I only want a few slices or can’t wait, that I can go to The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. They supply the chain with their sans rival!

    Isn’t that awesome? Now, whenever I have a craving I don’t have to wait 48 hours for a whole cake. I can just grab a slice at CBTL and down it with my favorite hot chai latte drink!


  • A steaming cup of CBTL chai latte and Jill Sandique’s sans rival. What a combo!


  • Hi Lori,
    Have you heard of the coffee sans rival from San Pablo, Laguna and would you know the contact person and details? It’s different, not as sweet but very good.
    Would you also have the contact number of Patty Loanzon of the Macadamia Sans Rival fame?


  • Hi. I’m going to Manila in June. Is this served in restaurants? If not, do you still take orders? Thanks.


  • Finally tasted this sansrival, it’s so yummy.


  • try the sansrival of JAVA MAN Coffee shop at Powerbooks Store


  • Yummy! This cake looks amazing…good photography.


  • I want some o’ that!!! (^_^)


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