Raise your hands if you’ve seen the movie Heneral Luna by Jerrold Tarog. I’m sure you’ve seen the part where Captain Rusca (Archie Alemania) raves about the pairing of ensaymada and hot chocolate. For the unfamiliar – ensaymada is a brioche pastry baked with butter and topped with sugar, cream, and grated cheese. A different version with grated Edam (locally known as queso de bola) emerges around Christmas time, with a more intense and salty taste.
Raise your hands, also, if you’ve read Jose Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere—whether it’s for academic purposes or general reading. In the novel’s ninth chapter, the alferez (military constable) of the town of San Diego warns a friend set to visit the town curate Padre Salvi – especially in the instance when the latter serves hot chocolate. If the friar asks his servant Fulanito for rich and thick tsokolate eh, then one must stay; but when the friar asks for watered down tsokolate ah, he must depart immediately.
Fortunately, we need not go back in time to the Spanish era just to experience this magnificent pairing. Cafe Mary Grace serves an ensaymada and hot chocolate combo for P216, available in all its branches. Before you rant how expensive this is, let me share a good reason for that price point. Mary Grace’s ensaymada is rated as one of Manila’s best, and food bloggers have been lauding its hot chocolate’s rich and creamy consistency. CNN itself has even weighed in – with a positive rating to boot! What started as a home-baking business, that used to only appear in food bazaars, has expanded into a well-known chain!
It was no surprise, then, that I celebrated my 25th birthday with CJ last November at their SM North EDSA branch. Cafe Mary Grace has a lot of branches in major malls around the metro, but this one was convenient for us. Here’s a personal tip from me when you order the ensaymada and hot chocolate combo. Have the ensaymada grilled before serving to melt the cheese and sugar on top, and dip the ensaymada pieces into the thick chocolate brew (much like you would do with churros) before consuming. Absolute bliss! If you’re not into the hot chocolate-ensaymada pairing, Cafe Mary Grace also serves up a variety of savory dishes and sweet treats you and your whole family can enjoy.
Well, did that get your taste buds up and running? Head over to their Facebook page and give it a like while you’re at it. Their official website can also be accessed by clicking on this link. Until the next review, bon appetit everyone.
Cafe Mary Grace
L2 The Block, SM North EDSA,
North Avenue, Brgy. Bagong Pag-Asa,
Quezon City 1105