While the Philippines, being a tropical country, is naturally blessed with bountiful harvests of fruits all year round, some fruits remain to be seasonal and, thus, are available only for a limited period. Either that, or they are more bountiful and in their best quality when they are in their so-called season. So, some chefs, particularly pastry chefs, and food entrepreneurs really take advantage of the season’s bounty to offer consumers unique treats that turn out to be a pleasant surprise for their palate.

Chef Gel Salonga-Datu’s Calamansi Muffins.

Calamansi power

Take calamansi, for one. Calamansi trees bear fruit all year round, but its peak season is from August to October. This means calamansi is most abundant and in its best quality during its peak season. They are huge, bursting in flavor, containing lots of juice and, best of all, reasonably priced during this period. So, chef Gel Salonga-Datu, one of the most talented pastry chefs in town, is taking advantage of calamansi’s peak season to bake— and sell — Calamansi Muffins.

Chef Gel uses organically raised fruits harvested at the peak of ripeness for her huge Calamansi Muffins, which are moist with a bit of tartness, topped with crunchy crumble and some more sweet and tart calamansi glaze.

The muffins are sold per box of four pieces at P500 and per box of eight pieces at P950. To order, message chef Gel via her IG account (@baker_gel_salonga).

Tamarind Sorbet from Sebastian.
Milo Marathon from Sebastian’s ice cream.

Tamarind and lanzones

While chef Gel concentrates on calamansi for her new products, Ian Carandang, the ice cream genius behind Sebastian’s Ice Cream, works with different ingredients — a seasonal fruit, an essential for sinigang, a favorite chocolate milk powder, a favorite local confection and a Turkish dessert — for the brand’s new set of flavors.

The unique flavor of lanzones, a seasonal fruit, was too good to be ignored, so Ian uses it to make Lanzones Sorbet, a limited offering available in scoops at the Sebastian’s Ice Cream store at The Podium and in limited pints online.

Tamarind, or sampalok, comes alive in his Tamarind Sorbet, a Thai-inspired fruit sorbet made with ripe tamarind and Thai palm sugar.

Always a childhood favorite, Milo chocolate malt powder is transformed into Sebastian’s Milo Marathon ice cream flavor. The ice cream comes with Milo chunks and Milo fudge ripple.

A favorite confection, pastillas de leche, acquires a refreshing lemon flavor in its ice cream version from Sebastian’s Pastillas de Leche con Limon. It is literally pastillas de leche ice cream with lemon curd ribbon, and it is delicious.

Lastly, a Turkish dessert called baklava takes on an ice cream form in the brand’s new flavor simply called, well, Baklava. It is a spiced mixed nut ice cream with a phyllo nut ribbon mixed with rosewater honey syrup. Only this flavor comes in pints, while the rest, are available in scoops — rotating now at the Sebastian’s store at The Podium.