Carmen's Best ice cream: From cult favorite to Pope Francis' dessert
From earning a cult following in weekend markets to being served during Pope Francis' flight from Manila to Rome, Carmen's Best is fast becoming a favorite of the Manila gourmet circuit.
Pia Ranada reports.
If you want premium ice cream, people in the know will point you to Carmen's Best – one of the fastest-growing ice cream brands in the country.
PINKY HALOS, DALCIELO MANAGER: It's creamier. It's tastier… Parang matabang na yung ibang ice cream after you taste Carmen's Best. And they have unique flavors too that are not found in the regular ice cream.
(It's like the other brands of ice cream are less tasty after you taste Carmen's Best.)
This gourmet product traces its beginnings to a 27-hectare cow farm in Los Baños.
Here, 230 Holstein cows produce the fresh dairy that make up 80% of Carmen's Best ice cream.
Paco Magsaysay, the brand's founder, says it's no joke taking care of the cows.
PACO MAGSAYSAY, CARMEN'S BEST FOUNDER: Like anything that deals with livestock, which cows are live, when there's extreme heat, kawawa naman yung mga cows because nahihirapan sila lalo na for tropical climates…Working with cows or I think chickens if they're not under a roof or goats it gets tricky because there are so many external factors that affect the animals.
(When there's extreme heat, the cows are pitiful because they have a hard time with the tropical climate.)
Stressed cows produce lower quality milk. Classical music is played to keep the cows relaxed.
Only women, who are gentle with their hands, can milk them.
The farm is owned by Magsaysay's father, but Carmen's Best is all Paco's.
The venture is proof there are opportunities for young agripreneurs.
PACO MAGSAYSAY, CARMEN'S BEST FOUNDER: The fact that the climate in this country is perfect for growing vegetables and fruits. Number two the soil in our country is so rich. It's like you go to Mindanao, even here in Bay, Laguna and you look around it's so green. The weather is perfect for growing fruits and vegetables. We don't have any winter that really kills everything around.
For Magsaysay, success in agriculture means turning blessings into opportunities.
Pia Ranada, Rappler, Los Baños.