I was in Cebu for a few hours yesterday and between appointments I had some time to wander around the Ayala mall after lunch. I immediately headed to the Metro Gaisano grocery and hit the two â€œnative delicacyâ€ aisles to check out the carbohydrate and sugar offerings. Ever notice that most local food pasalubongs have tons of sugar??? Here are three of my finds: Barquiron de Casoy, Assorted Turrones and some Ampao. I have not eaten Barquiron for at least 20 years. The small cylindrical â€œcookiesâ€ have a wafer thin outer skin with a powdery filling. I guess like a small, nut-filled barquillo. Made up of flour, milk, cashew nuts, peanuts, sugar, sesame seeds and shortening, this cookie is not too sweet and rather addictive. It tends to dry up your mouth the way a polvoron does, and is best eaten with an accompanying hot or cold drink. Theyâ€™re a bit addictive and I usually consume at least 10 at one time! Colorfully wrapped in cellophane, they make nice presents.
I also purchased a large pack of assorted turrones, which in Cebu are long cylindrical confections with a wafer wrapper and nut filling. Not to be confused with the Spanish turrone with yummy nougat and nuts, the Cebu version is nevertheless delicious. I personally seek out the pili nut turrones as it seems to have the most flavor and probably sugar and I always get disappointed when I buy mixed packs that seem to have an even distribution of pili, peanuts and cashew only to find out they put the pili and cashew up front and everything in the back are cheaper peanut turrones! So now I buy by type of turrones even if that costs more. Despite an ingredients list that includes wild honey, sugar, flour, shortening and nuts I consider this healthy snack food whenever I am on a dietâ€¦haha, now you know why I rarely lose weight!
Finally, I got some Ampao which is crisped or puffed rice coated with sugar and honey with an occasional chopped nut thrown in for token color. There used to be a lot more nuts in these but what the heck, I was going down memory lane! These ones were nice and crisp and totally off the sweet meter!!! When I paid for my sweets at the cashier, I noticed Christmas music and turned to see a shocking Christmas promotion from July to September at Metro Gaisano! Outrageous! It’s bad enough Christmas carols start in September at the malls, but JULY???