I haven’t been to the Salcedo Weekend Market in ages, so I was pretty gobsmacked to see that the variety of edible treats offered has grown and expanded to include a number of things even as some old go-to spots are still around.
There’s Gigi La Crepe with its garrulous French proprietor where the savory buckwheat galettes (the sausage ones go best with a drizzle of Dijon mustard; the one with ham is best plain) are deliciously authentic and go magnificently with Scots apple cider. The New York Bagel Company is still around, still purveying some of the best bagels and English muffins in town. Le Cuisine Francaise still makes that garlicky roast chicken of theirs as well as those coffee-infused jumbo macarons, those dreamy confections of meringue, almonds, and cream that make me swoon even now. And David’s Frozen Yogurt cart is still near the entrance – and the sublime dark chocolate fro yo is still available.
And now, there’s a tiny space which sells utterly scrumptious Swiss / German cookies, bars, and tortes.
Giger’s Homemade Specialties is one of my newest discoveries at the Salcedo Market for the basic reason that my friends wondered about the Bircher muesli and my mind was utterly blown by the little red biscuit stand’s wares.
It was as if every nicety used for building the witch’s house in Hansel und Gretel was there: sugar-dusted vanilla kipferl (vanilla horns), jam-topped Spitzbuben (literally: naughty boys – so named because these Linzer-torte-style cookies are such a temptation to children), vogelnests (fetching little bird’s-nest cookies), an array of chocolate cookies ranging from a triple-chocolate cookie made with milk, dark, and white choc to a chocolate-cherry cookie reminiscent of Schwarzwaldertorte (Black Forest Cake) only without the Kirsch and cream.
And then, what really got my attention: lebkuchen and Sankt Galler biberli.
For all you gingerbread-junkies out there, Giger’s lebkuchen is guaranteed to grab and sustain your interest. This classic German / Swiss Christmas cookie is deliciously spicy and has the texture of shortbread: crumbly, buttery, and certainly toothsome. There are bits of almond in these cookies which makes them more delicious and they’re glazed with a translucent sugar icing that makes the surface shiny and utterly appealing. While these are delicious on their own or when paired with a hot cup of milky coffee (coffee not tea!), I imagine these would be incredible when used to make sandwiches filled with plain vanilla ice cream – sublime!
Similar to lebkuchen but taking it to a completely different level are the Sankt Galler biberli. As its name suggests, these sandwich cookies are a specialty of St. Gallen, a canton in the northeastern part of Switzerland. Another Yuletide treat, these spicy cookies are sweetened with honey and give off a more nutmeg-gy vibe than the lebkuchen which strike me more as a clove-infused cookie. Each little rectangle is filled with the proprietors’ homemade marzipan which is less sweet than the commercial sort, absolutely nuttier with the creamy-rich taste of real almonds. End-result: a sandwich cookie that beats all of the commercial stuff hollow as it is deliciously wholesome, rich without being too cloying, and utterly satisfying.
Both the lebkuchen and the biberli go for P 40.00 apiece; rather steep for cookies, but try them for yourself and see that they are definitely worth it.
For more info, you can also check out the Giger website or stop by their stall at the Salcedo Market on Saturdays and the Legaspi Market on Sundays.