About a month ago, prior to my trip to Iloilo, stress began to take its toll on me. Both my physical health and my general happiness began to suffer thanks to very little in the way of sleep, too many things to think about, and pretty much feeling more than a little unappreciated, overwhelmed, and totally useless.
Sometimes, I would get home too tired to eat dinner: I’d just try to drown myself under the shower and manage – barely- to haul myself to bed. Other times, I would find myself wondering if any of the things I did was worth it, if what I was doing still had any meaning in my life, and whether or not I was a fool for staying where I was, for staying in the Philippines where the political situation is pretty much shot to hell and the economics are even more so.
One evening, my sister managed to cheer me up with a small treat that she kept for me in the freezer: a black sesame ice cream mochi from Mochiko.
Mochiko is run by Fruits in Ice Cream and has been a long-time staple of such foodie fairs as the Mercato Centrale Night Market in Taguig and The Collective in Makati. As its name suggests, it features scoops of ice cream wrapped in mochi [Japanese-inspired sweet rice dough] – a delightful enough notion on its own, but the variety of flavors makes it even more amazing. You can get cookie dough, matcha [green tea], adzuki [sweetened red bean], caramel, and even avocado.
And, yes: the black sesame.
You need to let this baby thaw out for a few minutes out of the freezer before scoffing it down – and, even then, you should take the time to appreciate the mixture of flavors and textures. It isn’t impressive to look at; indeed, this wee beastie is rather on the drab, gray side. But the second you take a bite, it goes ballistic on you. The chewy mochi coating is interspersed with crisp, smoky-tasting tidbits of toasted black sesame. This, in turn, gives way to creamy-rich FIC ice cream that is rather vanilla-esque at first, then goes all rich and nutty with that wonted sesame taste.
I seriously nibbled at this treat little by little, savoring every last bit of it as much as possible. It may not have solved all my problems that evening, nor did it soothe all my aches and pains in both body and soul. But, by gum: it sure put a smile on my face and – since it was supper in its entirety – sent me off to a deep, restful sleep at the end of an excruciatingly long day.