Achieving a Sweeter Tomorrow Through Stevia

Achieving a Sweeter Tomorrow Through Stevia

Cesar Cruz Jr.

Business Mirror | July 19, 2019

It is no secret that more and more people are making their health and wellness their top priority. After all, who does not want to look and feel good as they age? A crucial factor that contributes to the state of our health has a lot to do with what we eat.

While everyone wants to indulge in their favorite sugary treats, nobody wants to impact the blood sugar levels in the body in a negative way.

Thankfully, there is a noncaloric sustainable sweetener that comes to the rescue. The organic sugar substitute is known as stevia. This shrub type of plant, first found in Paraguay, could hold the potential to provide the solution to weight management goals. Could this be the solution sweet-tooth individuals are looking for?

In the 58th Philippine Association of Food Technologies Inc. annual convention held recently at the Crown Plaza Manila Galleria, Ortigas Center, Ms. Cecille Miciano, export/marketing officer of Glorious Industrial and Development Corp. (GIDC) was among the guest speakers to lecture on the theme of “Future Food.” She spoke on the topic of plant-based sweetening alternative ingredient for tomorrows need. Her findings based on the 2020 Global Consumer Trends showed that the world market is ripe for the introduction of stevia. Likewise, she mentioned that among the five global trends according to Kroger (an American retailing company), plant-based food is one of them—consumers choosing to go meatless or dairy free gave rise to “Meatless Monday” and “Flexitarian Friday,” for example.

The local scenario seems to support this trend. In the Philippine sugar tax bill, because stevia is not sugar but purely steviol glycosides, it was exempted from the excise tax. Added to this, the guidelines on food and drinks as stated by the Department of Education, is the message that there is a need for students to limit the intake of free sugar for health reasons. The sequence of events makes it conducive or ripe for stevia to generate a buzz and penetrate mainstream consciousness.

The GIDC officer left the audience with the famous words attributed to Hippocrates, “Let food be thy medicine, thy medicine shall be thy food.”

Dessert Application of Stevia

A shining example of stevia’s application in dessert was witnessed by the those who partook of the Philippine Culinary Heritage Food Festival of Diamond Hotel held during the country’s independence month. While it has been a practice of the hotel to feature celebrity chefs and their signature dishes, this time around was different. Diamond Hotel GM Vanessa Suatengco got hold of Chef Christopher Cariangan for an exciting collaboration. His passion for food research has brought to life culinary treasures of yesteryears. Aside from being the founder and president of Razorchef Philippines and being the chief general of the Culinary Generals of the Philippines, there is more to this Filipino-cuisine expert than meets the eye. His role as a brand ambassador of Sweet & Fit Stevia food supplement powder proved to be the ace up his sleeves as his tasty creations made a splash at the dessert station of the food festival. His three kinds of ice cream flavors, which were sweetened by Sweet & Fit Stevia were Ube Kinampay, Activated Charcoal, and Criollo. The Ube Kinampay, for example, pays tribute to the root crop native to Bohol. Its inherent creamy texture proved to be a good match for stevia.

On the other hand, heavy cream and eggs were added in the making of charcoal ice cream to achieve the desired texture as it is mixed with Sweet & Fit Stevia. Lastly, Criollo refers to the rare and expensive variety of heirloom cocoa. The ice cream flavors were a hit. The ice-cream flavors made with stevia had their share of fame as they made their rounds in social media. The locally produced stevia pride itself of having no bitter aftertaste.

Continuous research and development were key ingredients in developing great tasting food with stevia.

Glorious Industrial and Development Corp.

GIDC is the Philippines’s first stevia company established in 2004. To insure the nutrients of the stevia are intact after undergoing the production process, the company avails of the service of a third party lab test.

To further its credibility, there is an ongoing organic certification from the Organic Certification Center of the Philippines and Nicert organic inspection and certification. The issuance of the certificate would be a big boost to the company as it grows its list of satisfied clients both locally and abroad. Sweet & Fit Stevia was first marketed to the dietary department of hospitals catering to diabetic and borderline diabetic patients, as it positions itself as a health alternative to sugar. In recent years, on the other hand, the product demand has been on the upswing as health conscious individuals who turned into ketogenic diet looked for a sugar substitute. Not only does stevia meet the criteria, the product also has a zero reading in the nutritional facts department in terms of calories, total fat, cholesterol, sodium and total carbohydrates. The stevia company is certified by FDA, Phils.,ISO 9001-2015, Good Manufacturing Practices, Halal and DOST-Assisted Project.

GIDC supports the Stevia farming communities as it improve the quality of their life by way of higher income, educational assistance, health care and additional training.

Cesar Cruz Jr.

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Cesar studied communication arts at the University of Santo Tomas. He writes articles in the Lifestyle Section of Business Mirror as a lifestyle writer. He manages Pancit Malabon, his own restaurant at Banawe St.

Sweet Treats

Sweet Treats

Gabrielle R. Borromeo

The Daily Tribune | July 06, 2014

UCC Park Café | BreadTalk | Krispy Kreme | Gelatissimo | Cupcakes by Sonja

UCC Park Café is a Japanese coffee shop known for its coffees that are freshly brewed using a siphon coffee maker. Here, one can also order familiar Asian fusion dishes like pasta, sandwiches and main courses to satisfy their appetite.

At the event, UCC made the veggie garden pizza toast, kani mango salad and the chili garlic chicken spaghetti available for the guests to try. Their version of the pizza was in a thick toasted bread topped with sliced tomatoes, green and red peppers, mushrooms, pineapples, corn bits and cheese. The chili garlic chicken spaghetti was spicy, and had toppings of mushrooms, chicken strips and garlic. The kani mango salad for me was simple but a winner, assembled with lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, nuts, crab sticks, boiled eggs, mangoes and fish eggs. Eaten together they were refreshing.

UCC’s veggie garden pizza toast

For bread and pastry lovers, BreadTalk is also a Singaporean brand that focuses on baked gourmet goods. Try their pizza sticks, cheese floss, Rocky Rocky Milk and Beckham n’ Cheese. Since BreadTalk is famous for its pork floss line of bread, their newest cheese floss is worth a try. Just like the other floss, it has delicious cream inside its soft savory sweet bun and topped with pork floss. The taste of cheese is evident in every bite.

But, of course, one cannot forget to grab desserts from Krispy Kreme, Gelatissimo and Cupcakes by Sonja. These three establishments represent main desserts like donuts, gelato and cupcakes, respectively.

At Krispy Kreme, one can opt for soft and fluffy cloud-like donuts with flavors of their choice. Krispy Kreme has always been a rave ever since it came to the Philippines and is still irresistible. They also serve coffee, fresh squeezed juices and Baked Creations that have a Filipino twist to it.

The bright red gelato parlor famously known as Gelatissimo serves authentic gelato that is freshly made from a secret family recipe. They have a spectrum of luscious flavors and every single time I enter this gelato parlor, it takes me at least five to 10 minutes to pick a flavor. Though it takes time to choose, having a lot of options is an upside. Gelatissimo has never failed to impress me with every flavor I choose every time I visit.

Cupcakes by Sonja is one of the top cupcake boutiques in the city and trying for the first time their Red Velvet Vixen, I had no doubt why they were at the top. This cupcake was shining bright red and the first bite I took widened my eyes. It was made with Belgian cocoa topped with cream cheese icing, and being a dessert lover and a sweet tooth at the same time, the sweetness captivated.

Cupcakes by Sonja is owned by Sonja Ocampo, who makes sure that whatever is served in her store is the top of the line. She not only pays attention to the looks, which she perfects through tender loving care in the piping of the icing, but also focuses on the moistness of her cakes and most of all the taste.

I saw this cake at the event, it was adorable. I think it was called The Clown Cake.

This is the slice of The Clown Cake, inside is a rainbow cake!

Great food finds that cater to a gamut of tastes and cravings are located at the upper ground floor of Shangri-La Plaza’s East Wing.

Shangri-La Plaza is located at the corner of Edsa and Shaw Boulevard in Mandaluyong City.

Gabrielle Borromeo

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Gabe organizes what she sees around her and loves to put it into words. She has been contributing her articles for the Daily Tribune newspaper, Tinig ng Marino (maritime) newspaper, Cook magazine, Appetite magazine and F&B World magazine.

You can contact Gabrielle at: gabrielle_borromeo@write-experts.com

Maple

Maple

Gabrielle R. Borromeo

The Daily Tribune | July 06, 2014

My favorite meal of the day is breakfast even if I am not an early riser because when waffles, cheese and bacon are served, my day begins right. When I first heard about Maple, I was intrigued. It’s a restaurant that servs breakfast all day, or at least that’s how I saw it. Also, I was told that it was run by the same owners of Pancake House, so all the more I did not want to miss out on trying this.

On the table were classy breakfast staples like Prime Rib Tapa, chicken fried steak, The Maple Burger and The Big Maple Breakfast. They all came in huge servings, totally worth it if one wanted to stuff themselves in heavenly breakfast delights.

Everything was sweet and salty, just the way I like most of my food. The Prime Rib Tapa was fulfilling because it was chunky and tasty. The Chicken Fried Steak was breaded and dry as it should be. The Maple Burger was huge and the patty enormous and perfectly creamy as it had cheese melting under the long bacon strips that were sweet and mapled. It came with battered onion rings and French fries.

The Big Maple Breakfast, simply put, was glorious. Who doesn’t love waffles or pancakes especially drizzled in high-grade maple syrup? Served together with this dish are French fries, eggs and bacon. Maple breakfasts proved to be everything I wanted and more.

Gabrielle Borromeo

Author Profile

Gabe organizes what she sees around her and loves to put it into words. She has been contributing her articles for the Daily Tribune newspaper, Tinig ng Marino (maritime) newspaper, Cook magazine, Appetite magazine and F&B World magazine.

You can contact Gabrielle at: gabrielle_borromeo@write-experts.com

Wee Nam Kee

Wee Nam Kee

Gabrielle R. Borromeo

The Daily Tribune | July 06, 2014

Franchise owner Linfred Yap, mentioned, “When I worked at a multinational company in Singapore, Wee Nam Kee had chicken rice and cereal prawns that I loved, making it one of my favorite dining destinations. It was so good we decided to franchise it in the Philippines. We opened our first branch at Ayala Triangle Gardens in Makati and now we have other locations already in Metro Manila, one at Shangri-La Mall, Greenhills Promenade, Serendra, Alabang Town Center, Trinoma and Fairview Ayala Terraces.”

Wee Nam Kee is a traditional Singaporean restaurant that specializes in Hainanese chicken, but in terms of the interiors and furniture, it has a more European touch to it with Asian influences. Linfred continues, “Singapore used to be a British territory, so we wanted a throwback with that certain era in the concept of our restaurant.”

The honey crispy squid.

Linfred enthused, “The honey crispy squid is a traditional Singaporean dish. Basically it is baby squid chopped and toasted in a honey sweet sesame sauce. It is an appetizer, but can also be eaten with your main meal.” Orange but almost red in color, the dish looked candied. The squid was sliced in tiny circles and smelled sweet. When I took my first bite, it reminded me of a Visayan tocino fried fish, and I thought it was interesting that Singapore had their own variation. I enjoyed this especially since it went well with the Wee Nam Kee Fried Rice.

“We are also known for our fried rice. Our fried rice is flavored with the essence of the Hainanese chicken and since we add that with fried rice, then it becomes a winning combination. Our chicken rice (with the choice of steamed or roasted) is served with on-the-side sauces of pounded ginger, chili sauce and dark soy sauce.” Linfred explained.

Prawn paste chicken wings

The prawn paste chicken wings, meanwhile, were actually bigger than the usual chicken wings. It was covered in a light breading that was just right, and had a thin golden brown crispy bite.

Butterflied tilapia

Last but not the least was the butterflied tilapia with chili crab sauce which looked artistic as the fish was sauce. It wasn’t hard to devour the fish since the sides were already opened and designed to look as if they had wings, thus the name “butterflied.” The sauce, on the other hand, was sweet and sour with a hint of spiciness, and the subtle taste of the crab sauce was satisfying enough especially without having to sweat over taking the meat out of the crab shell. The fish was juicy. These were all new additions to their menu.

Gabrielle Borromeo

Author Profile

Gabe organizes what she sees around her and loves to put it into words. She has been contributing her articles for the Daily Tribune newspaper, Tinig ng Marino (maritime) newspaper, Cook magazine, Appetite magazine and F&B World magazine.

You can contact Gabrielle at: gabrielle_borromeo@write-experts.com

Epicurious

Epicurious

Gabrielle R. Borromeo

The Daily Tribune | July 06, 2014

Epicurious, a unique culinary concept from the pioneering Cravings Group, is not just a gourmet place to dine, but also a mini-grocery of rare food finds, fresh produce, cooking ingredients, kitchenware and packed goods. It has a deli with a wide variety of wine, cheese, cold cuts, chilled meat and fresh greens; a bakery that serves freshly baked bread, pastries and desserts; a culinary studio for cooking demos; and a café all under one roof.

Epicurious has a relaxing vibe because of the garden style interiors. One may shop and dine at leisure, have their shopped goods cooked on the spot or take them home if in a rush.

The pulled pork arugula pizza.

The cold kani, cucumber pizza.

We tried their cold kani, cucumber pizza and pulled pork arugula pizza. The pizzas weren’t the regular circle-shaped kind, but came in the shape of a stretched oval. The crust was crisp with a slight moistness and the toppings were abundant. Beside the pizza was a tray of cheeses, cold cuts and dried fruits to offset the saltiness and whet one’s appetite all the more.

The wooden tray of cold cuts.

Epicurious also served their tender slow roast US Angus belly with au jus and mustard, confit of garlic and tomato sardine and red onion chutney that looked mouthwatering and tasted savory. There was also the Lemonata Rack of Lamb served with corn and pimiento polenta cakes, french beans amandine, tomato chutney and mint jelly.

The tender slow roast US Angus belly.

For the drink, I was served bottled Moringa Cucumber Lemonada. It was very refreshing as the flavor of the cucumber stood out. It quenched my thirst, but at the same time made me want more of its taste and healthy elements.

My favorite dish was the mushroom in truffle oil ravioli. It was so good I had to keep coming back for more since each bowl only had one ravioli in it. The mushroom sauce really complemented the ravioli perfectly. I could hear other diners who also had a share of this dish rave about it. This dish was the best; I would forget any diet that existed for this? that’s how much I loved it.

Gabrielle Borromeo

Author Profile

Gabe organizes what she sees around her and loves to put it into words. She has been contributing her articles for the Daily Tribune newspaper, Tinig ng Marino (maritime) newspaper, Cook magazine, Appetite magazine and F&B World magazine.

You can contact Gabrielle at: gabrielle_borromeo@write-experts.com