Chocolates over love

13 07 2009


“IT IS better to be feared than loved, if you cannot be both.” – Niccolo Machiavelli

“It is better to have chocolates than love, if you cannot have both.” – Machiavelli Chocolatier


And with those wise words from this chocolatier’s official website, off I went to get chocolates.  And I guess it was only apropos to get myself Machiavelli Chocolatier chocolates – not just any chocolate.

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A box of six Machiavelli Chocolatier chocolates for Spider-man on his birthday!

I have kind of stumbled across this store a number of times in the past three months but had never gotten around to satisfying my curiosity.  Everytime I would finish my Monday night special grocery shopping at Rustan’s in Makati, I would pass by this store’s display on my way to Krispy Kreme in Glorietta 4.  For some reason, my head would always be pulled towards the direction of the store’s display.  I do remember vividly that I smiled at the very thoughts that came running in my head upon reading the name on the boxes – Machiavelli Chocolatier.  “Niccolo Machiavelli”, “The Prince”, my report in college… and all the controversial thoughts they conjure!

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Machiavelli Chocolatier paper (gift) bag

Controversial thoughts aside, I found the two-level shelves to be clean and uncluttered; the contrast of the pronounced purple and white colors surprisingly soothing to the eyes.  But for some reason, my sights never went beyond the display.  I didn’t really notice the display counters all those times I would pass by.  All I know is that everytime I would look up the display, I would realize that whatever “Machiavelli Chocolatier” was, it was inside Rustan’s Essences.  Which to me meant that it could be chocolate for the skin or the hair.  Hahaha!

But I couldn’t be any more wrong.  Darn, I was so wrong.

So armed with the belief that I would be better off to have chocolates than love – and with a bag of Royce’ chocolates already in tow – I went to the Machiavelli Chocolatier store yesterday.

Standing in front of their display counters, I marvelled at the edible works of art staring me to my face.  Glistening under the softened lighting at the quiet corner on the ground floor, the chocolates need not a fancy advertisement to move them from off the display counters to the boxes… to the hands of undoubtedly excited customers.  I’ve seen quite a number of chocolate displays by different chocolatiers but none has moved me quite like the Machiavelli Chocolatier display.  I could imagine the skill – the artistry – and the patience that went to every piece of chocolate that lies prettily within the strictly 10 oC controlled environment.

After my amazement at the gleaming exteriors of the chocolates, my jaw dropped at how “Filipino” some of the chocolates’ names sounded.  Okay, not actually sounded.  It’s more like just how very identifiably Filipino ingredients are called out prominently in the names – Yema De Manila, Purple Yam Yum, Muscovado Grass, Mung Bean Bon Bon, Pili Bon Bon, and Coconut Screw.  How other Filipino ingredients are cleverly disguised in catchy names – Ivorie Jack (for the “jackfruit”).  And how a chocolate’s name could pay homage to the rich culinary past (and present) of a beloved province – Negros Crunch.

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Machiavelli Chocolatier's Yema De Manila (background) and Purple Yam Yum (foreground).

For myself, I got two boxes of two – each with one Yema De Manila and Purple Yam Yum.  For Spider-man, as part of his birthday presents from me, I had a box of six put together – three each of Yema De Manila and Purple Yam.

The Purple Yam Yum was a runaway hit with me!  After I got over just how pretty the exterior of the chocolate was, all I could muster were muffled sounds after taking my first bite.  The chocolate that enrobed the purple yam puree was not cloyingly sweet at all.  Taken at room temperature (as Machiavelli Chocolatier suggests), the chocolate melted smoothly in my mouth, interplaying with the burst of purple yam yummy goodness that revealed itself both to my tongue and then to my eyes when I held the other half of the chocolate in front of me.

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Machiavelli Chocolatier chocolates on fine china. Notice the artistic details!

The Yema De Manila was kind of a surprise to me.  It was not “yema” as I know it (and I have a friend who makes the best yema!) but it was a more sophisticated one.  The texture of the filling was smoother, almost pudding like.  And again, the chocolate that encrusted everything provided a robust quality, characteristic of a rich custard bathed in rich chocolate.

I’m raring to go back and get some more of these delicious treats.  It also helped that the store’s attendant – “Abby” – was quite knowledgeable on the treats they offer.  She was engaging in letting me in on what the bestsellers are, what the new offerings are, without sounding a bit over-enthusiastic.  She actually clued me in on some of their upcoming treats, with the “Carrot” chips sounding the most intriguing to me!  And thanks to a display on one side of the counter, I learned that as much as possible, I should not refrigerate chocolates.  Though they’d have to be kept within room temperature, defined to range from 10 oC to 16 oC.  And, in between chocolates, it is advisable to sip (sparkling or spring?) water.

Anybody who likes Leonidas and Royce’ chocolates will definitely have a room to appreciate one more – Machiavelli Chocolatier chocolates.  Like its namesake, prepare your senses to be arrested by the unfamiliar, the controversial, the freedom of thought.  Internationally excellent chocolates with a proud, undisguised, prominent Filipino twist.  That’s Machiavelli!

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"Machiavelli is Eurasian!"

The Machiavelli Chocolatier boutique is located at Essences, Ground Floor, Rustan’s Makati.

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eNTeNG and Machiavelli



Happy Birthday, Mother!

13 07 2009

TWO OF my closest friends blow out the candles on their birthday cakes on July 12.  One is Spider-man.  The other is Lethe (a.k.a. Mother).

I met Lethe at work, where she used to be my Quality & Reliability Engineer.  Eventually, we got assigned right ‘round the same time – though on separate projects – at our Corporate offices in the States.  Having had the opportunity to work with her before (though I guess I didn’t really meet her high standards… hahaha!), I sort of expected us to click.  We are both no-nonsense.  We tell things like they really are.  We like things for the home and the kitchen.

But I got so surprised to later realize that we could find in each other really lasting friends.  As in the case with Friendshipwith whom we used to almost always have an exclusive group all our own – one thing that really struck me with Mother on the get-go was that we would always find the same things funny.  Sometimes, all it takes is to find someone you can laugh with, and what you’ve really got is a friend you can keep for life.

But that is not saying that all Mother and I have shared were moments of boisterous laughter.  Nope.  Breathing life to the monicker that Friendship, our other friends, and I have given her, she has been the closest we would have for a real mom at the workplace.  Like her own little children, she would never miss out on giving us pieces of advice.  Like a true mother, she would let us have our way.  But as with probably children of her own, she would always be there to break our fall and welcome us back with open arms.  I guess she had done all these for me.  (Hahaha! Too much information?!)

Sometimes nowadays, when I’m at a crossroads at work or in my relations with people, I could still hear her classic, signature opening line, “’Teng…” spoken with the “lambing” that only someone who really cares for you could give or emanate.  She may not be around here in the office anymore but I know she is now finally prioritizing her family – not that it has taken the back seat in her life ever.  Her two daughters, both brilliant kids on their own, are really fortunate to have her in their lives.

Happy birthday, Mother!  I miss our dinners and our shopping together.  You finishing my sentences… reading my thoughts… beating me to the Corelle sale.  Hahaha!

Four-letter word

13 07 2009

I SHOP only when it is screaming SALE in big bold letters.

But with the economy as it is right now – with every aspect of our life taking some serious beating – it behooves us to reflect on this very serious matter, so serious it’s way up there with the debate on poll automation.

ShoppingShopping in these times.

For over a couple of years now, I’ve been my own incarnation of a penny-pinching miserly old man.  Eversince Friendship introduced me to the unbridled joy of retail therapy in the States (when I was there), I’ve never come near any retail item in the malls here at home.  Okay, that’s a bit too much to say.  I have actually had – though very few and far between – but most definitely, I’ve steered clear of the cashiers.  The first one on my all-time shopping list that I had crossed out has been clothes.  Sometimes, some are just so ridiculously priced here.  But I won’t go into a debate with anybody.  Because even I myself do recognize that the barcoded numbers I see on the tags here take into consideration a lot of overhead cost.

Superman has actually been a very good influence on me on these things.  There was one time that I backed out of ringing up my purchase at Armani Exchange at the Shangri-La Plaza Mall, just the very split second after the sales associate had assisted the person before me, and just the very moment before she could even mouth, “this way, Sir.”  I fixed the red, white, and blue knit shirt in my hand a “longing” stare and went my way.

But yesterday, I made an exception.  I went to Makati to get some gifts for one of my best friends – Spider-man.  For special occasions and for special people, I think it’s perfectly okay to break the rules.  Hahaha!  And take note, MOST of the stores were actually on SALE!

I haven’t been in the Makati area for a while so I took my leisurely walk.  I actually spanned the expanse of Serendra, all the way to Glorietta, then to Greenbelt.  I decided on a Zara Basic Polo Shirt in light blue.  It was a toss up between the red and the blue.  I was actually leaning towards red (since it is a birthday present), until the sales associate said, “The blue is better.”  Though just this morning, James said that whenever he and his wife shop, and he couldn’t decide, he would be told to “get both.”  I’m scratching my head right now and thinking why on earth I didn’t think the same way!  Hahaha!

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Zara Basic Polo Shirt in red


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Zara Basic Polo Shirt in blue. I took the images using my Nokia 5310 camera phone.

Being in Makati also allowed me to fulfill a couple of other promises I’ve made to Spider-man.  Finally, I’m picking up Royce’ Nama Chocolate for him (got the Champagne Pierre Mignon).  And for good measure, I got a small box of Machiavelli Chocolatier chocolates.  I’ll post something about these chocolates!

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The Royce' paper bag now has a cute logo ribbon as accent. They used to use a gold foil ribbobn they tie to the straps.


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Say HAPPY BIRTHDAY with Machiavelli Chocolatier's chocolates!


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Some things for the birthday boy Spider-man!

I had a great time yesterday and by the end of my shopping day, I realized that I didn’t bleed the coffers dry (Zara has such great deals!!!).  And seriously, not even a small hole was burned in my pockets.  I’ve made wise purchases that based from Spider-man’s reaction this morning, are well-appreciated.

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Trust Kenneth Cole to say it like it is!