Brandon drove me to Bacarra to scrutinize Petrina’s. Paul, my dear friend from Adams, has been egging me on to visit the shop. A tiny bite of their insane cassava cake left me hanging for quite a while. It was closed on Good Friday when I first went. A few days ago, another guy friend asked me to compare the Petrina’s carrot cake with another one that’s quite popular in Laoag. So in demand right now, from the grapevine, the 14-month old pasalubong shop is the object of desire of a rich and famous personality in Ilocos.
I got stoked to dig deeper into the sweet stuff.
A generous layer of caramel goes on top of pure yellow Ilocos balanghoy, the diket kind, which means there is a kilnet factor that adds up to the special quality of their cassava cake. The challenge is on how to make it stay soft for 7 days even with refrigeration, said Albert Tugade, the husband of baker Coney Orprecio, who was at their commissary somewhere in Bacarra.
Coney got her training in baking, cake decoration and other short courses from prominent culinary figures such as Heny Sison in a span of two years. For 12 years, the business was home-based; she took orders and made cakes for other people, before the husband and wife team put up shop in the balikbayan town of Bacarra.
Petrina’s was given a grant for product enhancement and packaging improvement by the Department of Science and Technology through its Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program.
Currently, they are able to grate 1.2 tons of cassava in a month. Other than setting up a bigger store in Bacarra, as they want to preserve the novelty of being a traveler’s pit stop for pasalubong shopping, the couple’s focus is product development.
I bought Brandon his favorite leche flan. It looks rather ordinary from afar. Up close, the syrup is a beautiful amber color. The texture is unlike jello. It is the real deal, much like tocino del cielo, rich but not too sweet.
A customer at the store suggested the ensaymada, but unfortunately they ran out of them. Another friend swears by the choco-banana loaf.
You might have seen this twist to carrot cake before. Coney likes to add freshly grated carrot. If you like it without stringy carrots like I do, it is as good because she uses only quality ingredients like walnuts, cream cheese, etc. The buttercream frosting has a tempered sweetness.
I’ll tell you about the ensaymada when I go again. Remember Petrina’s on your next trip to the north. You won’t miss the pink flags:)
Petrina’s Pastries & Delicacies National Highway, Brgy. 22 Bani, Bacarra, Ilocos Norte (8 kms north of Laoag City) Contact Nos: 077-676-0161 / 0922-815-9203
Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2014