If there is one fruit I can’t really get enough of, it’s blueberries. Yes, I know it sounds very strange considering how I was born and raised in a country famous for its glorious abundance of such tropical treasures as mangoes, pineapple, and papaya, but I’ve been a fan of the deep bluish-purple [indigo?] fruit since the day a few years back when a friend gave me some fresh berries from her family’s fruit-farm up north in Baguio.
Most people in this country only know one way of enjoying the fruit: as the topping on a blueberry cheesecake – and, even then, all they have is sugary goo rather than the sweet-sharp taste and fleshy, slightly gritty texture of the actual fruit. Worse: while some food companies have introduced blueberry-flavored items among their product offerings, most of these are artificially flavored and don’t have any actual blueberries in them. Most of the time, what many companies try to pass off as blueberry are actually made with grape syrup or paste: think raisin – too much raisin for comfort!
Fortunately, some companies have a heart and believe in using real fruit in their preparations. Yesterday’s mid-afternoon nosh, in particular, was an example of that.
Shown above: Zigla‘s blueberry smoothie and an old-fashioned oatmeal cookie with blueberries from Starbucks. The smoothie was blended from locally-sourced, organic berries sweetened with the safer sugar substitute Stevia. It’s a rich, deep indigo drink with a balanced, sweet-tart fruitiness; it has an oddly creamy texture to it, considering that there’s no dairy involved. It’s an interesting way to get an antioxidant fix in the middle of the workday and has the additional advantage of waking you up sans caffeine.
The cookie, on the other hand, was magnificently chunky and actually had whole dried blueberries in every bite. I loved how the little pockets of fruit contrasted with the grainy texture and nutty taste of the cookie as a whole. Definitely ordering this again; probably next time with a massive tumbler of iced chai.
I should also add at this point that this double-barreled berry combo is definitely what you should opt for instead of a blueberry cheesecake (unless you make a blueberry cheesecake from scratch using low-fat blueberry yogurt and Neufchatel cheese instead of full-fat cream) when a blueberry craving strikes. Trust me: it’s healthier but it’s equally scrumptious.