For as long as I have summered in Cebu (going back a good 35+ years), I recall munching on Titay’s of Liloan rosquillos. As a child, I always thought they could be sweeter, and while I liked them, if there were broas or consilva in the house at the same time, rosquillos would be a distant third snacking choice. But as an adult, I have found myself drawn more and more to their crisp texture, slightly dry mouth feel and just slightly sweet taste. Actually, I now like them very much indeed. I was just munching on a few of them with a nice hot cup of tea (diet treat, sillies!) and noticed that the packaging announced that these Liloan originals were celebrating their 100th birthday! Can you imagine that?! Not too many local food items have lasted that long, and branded ones at that! And this just jogged my memory that another of my favorite sweets also turned 100 this year, but more on that below…
Titay’s Liloan rosquillos are made with flour, eggs, shortening, sugar and baking powder, according to their packaging. That’s it. No preservatives, no artificial flavorings, color, etc. The delicacy was invented by Margarita “Titay” Frasco in 1907, and it continues to be manfactured by her descendants in the town of Liloan, Cebu. I always like to scrutinize a package (plastic these days), because it always amazes me that each cookie seems to be a slightly different shade, a sign of more home-made style cookies than those of a factory mass-producing thousands of these discs a day! In the old days, these came in nice circular tins, and those were better for keeping the cookies crisp longer. As with all things without a center, I always wondered what they did with the little circles of dough from the middle of the cookie…think they sell those separately???
A few months ago in New York, we visited the Hershey’s store near Times Square, and I was stunned by the volume of people coursing through this relatively small shop (a huge M&M’s shop was across the street, we visited that, too!). Of course The Kid had to get a t-shirt but as we were wandering through, we noticed there was a whole big hullabaloo about the Herhey’s Kiss or Kisses, which also turned 100 years old this year! I don’t know about you guys, but when I was a kid, Hershey’s ksses were like IT. There wasn’t much chocolate around, and if you had Hershey’s, it was a MAJOR BIG DEAL.
If I was really sick and home from school, dying with fever and a cough, our cook always made me pospas or arroz caldo. And if the fever was high enough to practically hallucinate, my mother, if she could manage to, would sneak off to some illegal PX dealer and buy a small package of Hershey’s kisses and present these to me as though they were more effective than aspirin at alleviating my pain. So oddly, my first immediate association whenever I see a silver foil wrapped chocolate kiss, is that I must be sick…hahaha. But seriously, these were my all time favorite chocolate as a kid, and despite graduating to La Maison du Chocolat as an adult, I can STILL happily scarf down an entire package of Hershey’s milk chocolate kisses with glee! So, a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to two Marketman favorites, rosquillos and chocolate kisses!!! :)
At the Hershey’s shop, I got this commemorative tin truck for me; it was filled with chocolate kisses which are long gone. As a kid, I also used to search through packages of Hershey’s kisses, seeing if any “naked” kisses made it past quality control… I guess the same way a slightly more morena rosquillo gets included in a package of cookies, and at least once a year I would find a naked kiss. So when I opened a new package of chocolates just minutes ago for these photos, and a single naked kiss fell out (that still happens with all sorts of quality controls???), I took that as a sign from elsewhere that I should eat it. And many of its companions. Like right now. :) Isn’t it amazing that about the same time as Titay’s was inventing her rosquillos in Liloan, Cebu, that have since become such a favorite in this part of the world, the Hershey company was coming up with milk chocolate kisses halfway around the world in Pennsylvania? I think it is really cool. What I don’t understand is how and when the Spaniards somehow figured these two favorites out and melted the chocolate and coated the biscuit and decided to name them Filipinos… Hahaha.