Though there has been no consensus on whether sweet or sour flavor profiles are more definitive of Filipino cuisine, one thing's for sure: the Filipino palate has been shaped by a love for all things sweet.
From panghimagas (desserts) like halo-halo to merienda (snacks) like sapin-sapin (glutinous rice and coconut cake), sweetness pervades Filipino cuisine. So much so that even traditionally savory dishes like spaghetti are made with sweetened tomato sauce and traditional breakfast meats, like tocino. are coated in a sweet glaze, enhancing its savoriness.
It was in the 16th century, when sugar haciendas started sprouting in different regions, uplifting the farming industry, particularly in the Visayas. But sugarcane had long thrived in Philippine soil, when traders brought the first sugarcane cuttings from Indonesia to Mindanao, the Southernmost region of the Philippines.
Over the years, sugar manufacturers spread the love for sugar by "exciting the Filipino's taste" for it, writes historian John Larkin. Not only was it widely received due to affordable prices, its flavor was winning the country over, one sweet-savory meal or merienda at a time.
This affinity for sweetness further grew, but mostly out of necessity. In World War II, spices and tomatoes were scarce, so Filipino ingenuity kicked in. And they found ways to make the most out of what was abundant and readily available, like sabá banana (or what some call cooking plantain). This was how some of the most brilliant Filipino food innovations were born, such as banana ketchup, which was invented by food scientist and war hero Maria Orosa, who saved countless war prisoners from starvation.
This heritage of ingenuity can still be felt today, particularly in the new generation of food artisans who are taking classic sweet dishes and putting their own unique twists to them.
So when we stumbled upon Audrey's Confectioneries' Chocolate Mango Caramel, we knew we found something truly special. Crafted in Cebu, this dessert takes an already beloved delicacy and makes it even more enjoyable.
image: Audrey Regis
The abundance of sweet and juicy mangoes has made Cebu one of the go-to tourist destinations for foodies. This abundance has led to many delicious and inventive, mango-based products. And out of all the delicacies of Cebu, one of the most ubiquitous and familiar are dried mangoes.
To say Cebu's dried mangoes are the best would be an understatement.
Aside from its chewy candy-like texture, it perfectly balances the zesty sweetness of dried mangoes. What's more, it's packed with nutrients, making it a healthier alternative to sugary snacks.
Audrey Regis, the founder of Audrey's Confectioneries is a banker turned entrepreneur relocated to Cebu, her parents' hometown, in 2005.
A banker turned entrepreneur, she wanted to create a product based on dried mangoes, but she knew that she needed to add her own twist to the already popular delicacy. Since she has always loved caramel since childhood, she decided why not combine the two?
What resulted is a product that pays tribute to a beloved Filipino delicacy and takes it up a notch.
This product is proof that passion and ingenuity can go a long way. And lead to truly sweet victories.
We at Chibundle value ingenuity and resilience, and so it's our privilege to bring this proudly Filipino made product to a wider audience.
Savor Audrey's confectioneries' Chocolate Mango Caramel in our Holiday Hurrah! Chibundle. It is also available in multi-packs (6 boxes in 1 Chibundle). Each individual box contains six Chocolate Mango Caramel bars.