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A surprising sensory experience w/ Sampaguita ice cream

Vanilla ice cream infused with Sampaguita (jasmine)
Vanilla ice cream infused with Sampaguita (jasmine)

Sampaguita flavor? That’s a novelty! I told myself when the waiter mentioned that they have sampaguita (jasmine) ice cream. It was also enough to heighten our curiosity for us, bloggers, who were gathered at the private room at Cafe Marco while partaking in its latest Culinary Journey, the Comida de Independencia.

Sampaguita (jasmine, Jasminum sambac) is an evergreen shrub that is popular across Southeast Asia and is cultivated especially for its small but very fragrant white flowers. In the Philippines, it is mainly used as garlands and leis which are hung on visitors neck, upon arrival, offered to religious icons or as a fragrant decor in vehicles, especially in tricycles and jeepneys. But as ice cream flavor?

Within minutes, scoops of the sampaguita ice cream, ensconced in a small and white china were distributed. When my share arrived, I smelled it but the fragrance of the sampaguita wasn’t there. I then took a bite with the teaspoon and was in for an unexpected surprise.

I can taste the sampaguita in the vanilla ice cream base. But how can that be possible if I haven’t eaten these flowers much more know its taste? But it was there. The essence of the sampaguita fragrance was in my mouth. As I took teaspoon after teaspoon, the fragrance grew.

It was a unique flavor. It was a unique sensory experience as my sense of taste melded with my sense of smell. The gentle explosion of that sampaguita essence filled my mouth and caressed my olfactory nerves. And it was such a wonderful feeling that I didn’t refuse a second helping.

Comida de Independencia is available for lunch and dinner from 5-14 June 2014

Cafe Marco
Marco Polo Plaza Cebu
Cebu (032) 253 1111 and Manila (02) 887 1263

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