With a come-on like that, how could I not be intrigued? Anyway, a few months passed and then we bumped into each other at the San Lo Sunday market. Needless to say, I wasted no time getting to his house later that week.
The Morelos family runs Dulcelin, a made-to-order gourmet food business, from their home in Quezon City. Linda (Mrs. Morelos) is the heart and soul of the business, but she is quick to point out that she wouldn’t be where she is without the help of her two sons, Ricky and Mico.
Linda likes to joke: ”I used to say that I cook only ”˜once a year’ and that was during Christmas when my friends would ask me to bake fruitcake for them. They would even bring it abroad!” Specialty food quickly followed that well-traveled fruitcake: ”“ lengua, callos, paella, chicken galantina, etc. “I started cooking food first,” Linda recalls, “and then little by little the desserts in small batches, until I found myself baking bigger and bigger batches!”
That was 15 years ago. Linda and her staff have now been cooking and baking year-round for the past five years. It’s within this short time that Linda’s mango torte has exploded onto the dessert scene, making it her top seller. Indeed, she sells about 2,000 of them during the holiday season.
Dulcelin’s mango torte (P700/12” Â· P450/9”) is a study in perfect contrasts: set on a cashew-based nougatine, there are two alternating layers of cream then crust then an overlay of golden mango balls. Smooth then crunchy, hard then soft. It’s a dessert that’s difficult to get tired of.
The nougatine has a crumbly texture, and it’s so thin that it appears almost lattice-like. Also used in their strawberry shortcake as a filling, it’s so popular with customers that one woman even asked Linda if she ”˜sold just the nougatine.’
While Linda still bakes most of the cakes herself, she has six assistants and 12 during the Christmas rush. Linda acknowledges how large her business has gotten ”“ she’s built a brand-new kitchen at the back of her house, and she’s setting up a take-out shop at the new Tiendesitas along C-5, in addition to her stall at the San Lo Sunday market.
“Do you ever get so tired that you swear you never want to see another mango torte again?” I ask Linda half-jokingly.
“My love for baking has evolved, so much so that I love it even more now,” she smiles. I respect that so much, and am awed by it. Unbelievable in her reserves of energy and talent, perhaps the most astounding thing that Linda told me is that she doesn’t have a sweet tooth. (!) “I just like to bake,” she states simply. She says that she prefers to eat food and concedes to no favorites. “I like everything.”
Here are the desserts that Linda, Ricky, and Mico served when I had lunch with them. Because this is already a lengthy feature, I will post photos of the savory food next time.
This is what started it all. I confessed to Linda that fruitcake is not something I prefer to eat, but I’d give hers a chance. I’m sure glad I did. Unlike other fruitcakes where there’s just enough batter to hold all the petrified “assorteds” together, this cake is solid and moist. And not too many of those glazed fruits either.
Callebaut Chocolate Ganache Cake
How to describe this cake, this testament to the purest chocolate experience? Beneath that fancy piped ganache frosting lies a cake as black as a midnight desire, a crumb so soft it almost tumbles upon itself. Then there is that almost ethereal mousse filling that flows then fades. Please, this cake, I must have some more.
What other cake could be as striking in its unadorned state? Beautiful and bordering on burnished copper in color, this butter cake is substantial. Take a whiff. Mmm, the smoky mysteriousness of Irish Cream and the subtle sweetness of chocolate chip.
Caramel Pecan-Walnut Pie
I don’t exaggerate when I say that I can eat this pie everyday. I adore caramel and nuts and pie ”“ if you put them all together, it’s an encounter that for me, is akin to an orgiastic experience that you mustn’t wake me from. There is something quietly different about this pie: Linda told me what the secret ingredient was, and while I can’t tell you, let me just say that “it” unites the trinity of caramel, pecans and walnuts. Oh, it’s too much to bear. This pie is nothing short of sincerely delicious.
36 Times St.
West Triangle, Q.C.
374-2165 / 374-2167
call for their product list
Note: prices listed in this feature are effective Nov. 15, 2005.