Filipinos have never really been big on berries, preferring stone fruits and tropicals over them. For one thing, unless you live in Baguio where strawberries are cultivated and blueberries abound, they’re rather hard to get one’s hands on in most parts of the country. For another, whenever they are available, these fruits are priced a tad too steeply for the budgets of most people. Yet, if incorporated into desserts such as blueberry cheesecakes, Black Forest cakes, and strawberry jam or ice cream, Filipinos do enjoy berries quite a bit.
Berry-flavored desserts usually become more popular during the Holiday Season. For some odd reason, these are considered festive treats – dishes best served on a family’s groaning Christmas or New Year table. That said, it’s the time of year when many wives, mothers, and daughters start whipping up cheesecakes topped with strawberries, blueberries, and cherries. It’s also the time of year when fast food chains that serve milkshakes or yogurt smoothies start touting single-berry and mixed berry confections.
One of this year’s front-runners is the Winter Berry Krusher from KFC. Pastel-pink, one would assume that this one would have all the weird, off-putting aftertastes of anything made with artificial sweeteners or flavorings. However, one sip will prove you wrong when you realize that a compote of real berries has been swirled into the frosty, slightly tangy blended yogurt. You actually get whole blueberries in this one: plump, succulent ones that burst with raisin-y flavor when you bite into them. Plus, depending on how sensitive your tastebuds are, you get the faintly bitter-almond hint that tells you that there are cherries involved somewhere. The gritty texture and tartness of the red chunks in the compote are evidence of either raspberries (doubtful) or strawberries (more likely) in your drink.
On the sweet end of the spectrum is this equally pink – possibly even pinker – strawberry Frosty Shake served at Wendy’s. It’s what happens when you blitz together vanilla soft-serve with strawberry syrup. I can’t really say I’m a fan of it: I find it too throat-catchingly sweet for comfort and it tastes like artificially-flavored strawberry boiled sweets.
In fairness, it’s really thick and rich. Still, I’d rather slurp on something with real fruit.
So, what’s your berry indulgence for this Season? 😉