Those who know me best are aware that green is my favourite colour. It is something I may have likely picked up from my maternal grandmother who also favoured that verdant shade; it was a hue that made the old girl look absolutely stunning, especially when the jewelry she wore with those outfits featured jade or emeralds. (Incidentally, it was also the colour motif of the Child Jesus of Tacloban [Sto. Nino de Tacloban] of whom my grandmother was a devotee.) Green makes my skin look creamy and almost flawless and, modesty aside, I’m probably one of the few Asian girls who can rock bright green contact lenses.
Green is also one of my favourite hues when it comes to food. I mean really: a bright green salad of crisp, fresh greens or one with the darker shades and softer, chewier textures of seaweed and dulse are a source of delight for me. Creamy laing (dark green taro leaves) cooked with plenty of coconut milk and salt-fish is also excellent as are the fresh flavours of a watercress soup tempered with a touch of cream or the crunchy bitterness of blanched gai lan in a peppery pad see ew.
And, of course, there’s green tea, the dusky, fragrant powder known as matcha and used for the traditional cha-no-yu [tea ceremony]. Its bittersweet flavour – a little herby, somewhat grassy, just this side of almond-like – gains a delicateness and sophistication when whisked into steamed milk for a matcha latte. It is a flavour that also works well when whipped into white chocolate and used for such confections as the much sought after matcha KitKats from Japan, JiPan Bakery’s green tea pain au chocolat, and the gorgeous matcha soft-serve over at Family Mart.
And, speaking of Family Mart, it’s where I found a couple of bright green treats for a refreshing mid-morning nosh.
This wee beastie is Family Mart’s green tea cake roll, a matcha sponge wrapped around a thick, lusciously creamy core of matcha-infused crème patisserie. Priced at P 45.00 a slice, it is part of FM’s proprietary line of desserts, joining such treats as the mango curd tapioca, tiramisu, and several other flavours of cake.
It is interesting, to say the very least. The sponge is a deep, dark green and you can smell a jasmine-like aroma soon as you pull it out of the tub it’s in. On its own, it’s rather dry and cottony – definitely needs soaking, in my opinion, though it does have a rich, proper, matcha flavour, grassy nuances and all.
However, if you eat the aforementioned sponge with the lush centre of thick, tea-flavoured cream, you’re in for a tasty little treat. The green tea mousse adds the much-needed moistness to the cake, adding both richness and a wonted sense of indulgence. I do wish, however, that FM could eventually do a spin-off on the green tea crème patisserie – say, a mousse cup or a panna cotta; I’d buy it in a blink.
Another treat that has caught my eye and palate over at FM is the cucumber lemonade. Seriously: don’t turn your nose up at the notion as the Europeans and the folks in the Med have been adding the said gourd to summer drinks since time immemorial. What you get is a pale green beverage that smells and tastes more of the equally-green honeydew melon rather than cuke. It’s delicately sweet with just the softest, most delightful lemony tang towards the end.
Believe me when I recommend that you get the large size (it’s only P 30.00, after all) for maximum refreshment on another warm, late-summer morning.