Yeah, yeah, say what you want about Valentineâ€™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 youâ€™re looking for more â€˜misery loves company,â€™ then youâ€™ve come to the wrong website â€“ at least for today â€“ because I love â€¦ no, I heart Valentineâ€™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 donâ€™t even get a gift, but I still love this day for what it is. Tonight Iâ€™m cooking a steak and pasta dinner for my Bin and Boo and Iâ€™ve prepared three kinds of desserts. Sweets for the sweet.
Speaking of sweet, if thereâ€™s one day in the year that you absolutely, unequivocally MUST have dessert, itâ€™s on Valentineâ€™s Day. Or your birthday. You choose. I choose to have it on both days. (As if thatâ€™s any surprise.)
Hereâ€™s an extraordinary gift to gift your Valentine â€“ or yourself. Itâ€™s called a sansrival (sans-ree-VAL) or sans rival â€“ with or without the space in between. Obviously meaning â€œwithout rival,â€ a sans rival is layers of crisp meringue filled and covered with buttercream. Cashews are the traditional choice, but Iâ€™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.
Jillâ€™s cakes are oval-shaped, her trademark. Cutting into it, I hear a perceptible crrrunch! I knew then that I wasnâ€™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 Iâ€™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?
Partaking of this sans rival is a peak experience, a religious culinary moment brought on by the pastryâ€™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 Valentineâ€™s Day again.
Jill Sandique of DÃ¨lize
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).
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, â€œItâ€™s definitely not amateur-friendlyâ€¦â€ Yes, the meringue layers have an irritating tendency to stick to the baking pans and to add insult to injury, they donâ€™t stay crisp for very long.