Taste N See Toasted Pastillas from Bulacan

Pinasong Pastillas

Fresh creamy pastillas from Bulacan was a childhood favorite. I saw how pastillas is cooked during a FoodPrints adventure with Chef Sandy Daza in the northern province nearest to Manila, and we sampled hubad na pastilyas (undressed, which means the milk candy is not wrapped in typical fashion, rather, it is packaged in round containers). Discovered another take on the Bulacan pastillas. Reviews on the toasted pastillas that has gone viral are mixed. While others find it too sweet for comfort, pastillas de leche fanatics swear by its addicting quality. Martine sent some to Ericke. I honestly ignored it at first ‘coz Alexa’s nanny wasn’t enthusiastic about it.

Taste n See

The three packs of Taste N See toasted pastillas arrive in LA. Almost eaten in less than two days. So there, I sent Eugene to buy a few packs at the Lucky Chinatown Weekend Gourmet Market.

Taste n See Pastillas

I opened a pack. It’s the sweet kind of pastillas, probably made with condensed milk, and made even more sweet with a coating of sugar, and then seared to let it caramelize. I call it the “pinaso na pastilyas”. My first cube, I don’t know, the texture was gritty, reminded me weirdly of Valda pastillas. After trying all sorts of tricks, hahah, you know what I mean, I let it melt in the mouth. That’s when I start to realize this pastillas is special. The milky side is played up by the burnt flavors of sugar in such a beautiful manner. The more you eat, the more you will discover the endearing qualities of these Malolos-made pastillas.

Pastillas

Taste and see the other flavors such as cookies and cream, plain milk and caramel.

Taste N See
Malolos, Bulacan
CP No.: 09157193817
Official Taste N See Facebook page

Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2014

Luz Ocampo: Wrap Artist Par Excellence

pabalat ng pastilyas

The first thing that comes to mind when I hear the word Bulacan is pastillas de leche, those sugar-dusted pillows of carabao’s milk casually wrapped in white. As a child of the North, I routinely, quietly wished for them each time my mom and dad were out traveling.

Exploring Bulacan with the FoodPrints food travelogue show was more than a wish come true. Once there, it was the seemingly dying Filipino traditions that I wanted more to digest. One of them is the art of pabalat ng pastillas de leche, the endangered art of wrapping milk candies with billowy colorful paper cut outs.

Luz Ocampo

We met Nanay Luz Ocampo, an octegenarian who has made a mark in pastillas paper wrapper design and cutting. Hers are done in elaborate Filipino motifs, handcrafted laser cut-like patterns from the mind, inspired by her environs in San Miguel. Her artistry that started as a hobby when she was 12 years old was recognized by the Cultural Center of the Philippines, in books and in art and culture exhibits such as the University of Santo Tomas Likhang Bayan.

Pabalat ng Pastilyas

Skilfully cut tails in a kaleidoscope of colors add to a more festive spirit, making a conversation-worthy material. If they seem familiar, the elongated paper artworks have an uncanny resemblance to Chinese tomb decorations.

Daughter Naty tries to follow her footsteps. She traces her mother’s stencils on layers of papel de Hapon ((Japanese paper) and uses a pair of sharp point tip scissors to cut out holes. To sustain the fading craftsmanship, occasionally, they put to use the mastery to lecture in Bulacan and in other parts of the country.

Among Nanay Luz’s prized possessions are photographs of her art by prominent artist Jaime Zobel (top frame in photo below).

Luz Ocampo ResidenceThe Ocampo ArtCarved Dayap

Another story of mother Luz’s meticulous artistry is fruit carving she developed as a teen during WWII. In the same vein as she snips out shapes in paper, making intricate designs on fruits such as dayap or suha requires a profusion of love and serenity.

Fruit Carving

Mrs. Luz Ocampo 83 Inang Wika St., Malolos, Bulacan, Philippines (044) 791 5657

Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2014