Risa Chocolates Finds A Home At The Grid And Gives Every Meal A Sweet Ending
If you haven't already, now is the time to familarize yourself with Pam Lim Cinco, the mastermind behind Risa Chocolates, a.k.a. one of the first proudly homegrown sweets brands to use locally sourced cacao!
Thank her and her peers for making Philippine chocolate as popular as it is today!
By now, you or someone you know must have had a taste of hot chocolate or champurado made with local chocolate, cookies baked with Philippine cacao nibs, or chocolate-infused mango products. All of these and more have become specialties of Risa Chocolates over the years, and for the brand's loyal clientele—and those about to discover it for the first time—they can now head over to Power Plant's The Grid where Pam has set up permanent shop for the very first time.
Whether you're hoping to get your fix of their legendary choco beverages or come home with your favorite chocolate bar, they've got everything there and more for you.
Keep reading to see what Risa Chocolates' best sellers have been since they opened at The Grid this summer, and make sure to order them when you drop by!
While practically every region in the Philippines has their own take on suman (a dessert or snack made from sticky rice and sweetened or flavored with local ingredients, often with coconut milk, natural sugars, or fruit), Pam has a particular sweet spot for suman moron. It's a delicacy that usually comes from Leyte and Samar, and why Pam has a particular affinity to it is simple: it's made with chocolate!
Making sure to use only quality sticky rice and cacao beans, this suman is smooth (i.e.: no choco chunks or the occasional tough rice grain) and allows the richness of the chocolate to shine through. And because it's not made with egg, Pam is able to extend its shelf life—an issue almost everybody has with this suman variety—and keep its flavor.
We've been conditioned to expect that desserts are either hot or cold, exclusively. Hence, what happens when you have both temperatures mingling after your first bite and until your last can only be described as pure magic!
Enter, Risa Chocolates' The Chover, a two-scoop vanilla ice cream dessert enjoyed with a pouring of its milky hot chocolate. Simple yet uncommon, this creation is playful and fun (just as sweet treats should be!). Flavor-wise, the velvety vanilla tastes almost like honeycomb and when paired with the liquid choco meant to flow over it like a river, diners get a seesawing of toasty sweet and subtly bitter, an endless cycle that'll lead you to finish The Chover faster than you can say "this is the best thing I've had all week."
Imagine Pam's shock when one of the first menu items her The Grid customers inquired about was champurado, a signature chocolate-infused sticky rice porridge invention of the Philippines that she personally never liked.
To make sure that she could meet their champurado demands (and there were many!), Pam concocted a recipe that she herself would like. The rule was, if she didn't like it and if she didn't think it was yummy, it doesn't deserve to be included in the Risa Chocolates roster.
After weeks of trial and error, she hit gold.
Pam recalls, "I had to find the right kind of malagkit [or sticky rice] and finally we were able to find this farming family who really took care of their crops and don't just rely on other people. When I tried it, I fell in love with it. I thought it would really go well with our champurado then we just went with the basics: malagkit, very good chocolate, and something to sweeten it aside from sugar. [At The Grid], we also offer toppings like dilis, tuyo, and milk powder."
If there was an experiment that Pam could be proud of, it would be her chilled choco-mango creation that she took a chance with.
Not flavors that are usually paired together in a beverage, this creation is a whole new take on drinkable chocolate. Pam realized that although chocolate always makes for an indulgent, rich drink, it's almost never crisp and refreshing. The challenge was to make it so, and thanks to her love for local ingredients, the ever-dependable Philippine mango was her top choice for revamping the choco drink experience.
With a generous layer of mango juice as its base, chilled choco in the middle, and frothy cream and mango cubes to top it off, this drink is seriously a must-try.
Risa Hot Chocolate
A mainstay of Pam's menu since the beginning, the Risa Hot Chocolate is more than a warm hug in a cup. It tells the story about how Philippine chocolate is versatile and rich in heritage, possessing the ability to spruce up even the most ubiquitous sweets in its own recognizable way.
Elaborating on this, Pam says, "When I make desserts with chocolate, the chocolate always has to be the star. We're going to be introducing our limited hot chocolate soon. We want people to [learn] that aside from adding flavors to your chocolate, it's going to [taste] different if it's made from fruity, single origin South Cotabato beans, or Laguna beans, or Zamboanga beans."
Read Pam Lim Cinco's story here.
Produced by Nana Ozaeta
Liaison editor: Grace Libero-Cruz
Photography by Jar Concengco
Special thanks to Jannine Sy