There’s a lot I didn’t know about ice cream until about 24 hours ago when my mind and palette were completely blown away. You see, it’s one thing to say that you looooove ice cream but it’s a completely other thing to be able to say that you actually know what makes good ice cream… I can actually say both.
It was through cups of ice cream, sandwiches and lots of water that I learned not only about ice cream but also about the food industry, how photographers actually manage to take commercial ice cream shots (mashed potatoes + food coloring) and why ice cream is everyone’s guilty pleasure when we’re feeling a little down in the dirt. But before I get ahead of myself, allow me to talk about the reason for the season (the ice cream season, that is…) Carmen’s Best Ice Cream.
I don’t know who said this but sometimes the best ideas are right in front of you or stem from not wanting to waste some good natural resources- in this case is milk, which is how Carmen’s Best came to be. With Mr. Magsaysay’s father having an excess of fresh milk from their dairy farm in Laguna, he had to come up with an idea and fast. Experimenting with different milk based products, it was when he chanced upon the idea of making ice cream that he struck gold.
This idea that eventually turned into a hobby and eventually a business was picking up fast! In 2013, the Magsaysay family established the only fresh milk processing plant in the country and it was also in the same year that Paco took Penn State’s Ice Cream Short Course and even came home with the top prize: The Keeney Award. When asked what the award was exactly, Mr. Magsaysay replied by saying, “a hat” gleaming with pride and a huge grin on his face.
As of the moment, Carmen’s Best carries 6 flavors: Salted Caramel, Malted Milk, Brazillian Coffee, Butter Pecan, Dark Chocolate and He’s Not Worth It, which is basically a Mississippi mud pie that wins at life. Each flavor has a distinct reason for its being such as the Malted Milk being reminiscent of ones childhood favorite snack Horlicks Malties, the Butter Pecan being Paco’s favorite ice cream flavor as a child and He’s Not Worth It for the ladies (and men) who need an little extra push to check out that ice cream. While there are other back stories to each flavor, the important question here is… what makes Carmen’s the best ice cream?
Well for one, Carmen’s Best is produced locally in the Philippines and uses 100% cow’s milk and cream. A not so known fact is that many commercial ice cream manufacturers do not actually use fresh milk or milk at all in their recipes which by default, doesn’t really make them ice cream to begin with. But Carmen’s Best makes homemade artisenal ice cream the old-fashioned way which means that there is no water, no additives, no mass-production and just pure craftsmanship and only the finest ingredients available to them from all over the globe. Now that sounds like ice cream.
Another key feature about this ice cream is the absence of air in their recipe. Yes, you read right, air. Many commercial ice creams are packed or should I say fluffed, in order to cut costs on cream which makes the more affordable to the general public. Notice how after opening a cup or a tub that the ice cream will begin to melt and the water and cream will eventually begin to separate? That is not the case with Carmen’s. In fact, we left the ice cream sitting for the duration of our gathering and even when being fully melted, there were still no signs of separation mainly because, it was never going to happen!
Having said all of this, this also another question: is this ice cream actually worth it? Carmen’s Best doesn’t come cheap. In fact, it is the Philippines’ most expensive local ice cream and is even more expensive that Haagen Dazs, Ben & Jerry’s and other international competitors. Priced at P140++ for a small cup and P400++ for a pint, I have to admit, it’s not going to be everyone’s go to ice cream especially on a daily basis. But if you can afford it, if you appreciate good ice cream and like to indulge a little bit more than you actually should then this ice cream is definitely for you!
So yes, I would say it’s worth it. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have spent all afternoon making this entry if it wasn’t. :p What can I say, I’m a sucker for ice cream. (I used to call myself the ice cream monster. lol) My favorites are: Salted Caramel (everyone’s favorite, as well!), Butter Pecan, Malted Milk & Brazilian Coffee.
So what’s next for this ice cream that was sampled by the Pope himself during his recent trip to the Philippines? More flavors and reaching out to a larger Asian audience!
Bring home your own cup/ pint! Carmen’s Best Ice Cream is available at: PAL, Duty Free Philippines, Island Souvenirs outlets, Robinsons Supermarket, Rustan’s, Shopwise, Landers Superstore, Bo’s Coffee, Casa Verde & others!