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WITH October as Filipino American History Month, you’ll find dozens of events commemorating the history and contributions of Fil-Ams across industries. The food scene, of course, takes part in this with specialty menus and pop-ups highlighting the range of Filipino flavors and culinary talent. 

One of the celebrations we look forward to here in Southern California is Fil-Am owned artisanal ice cream concept Wanderlust Creamery’s special menu of 11 flavors inspired by Filipino desserts. 

The month-long menu started in 2018 when Wanderlust Creamery’s co-founder and creative partner Adrienne Borlongan introduced 12 custom flavors based on desserts like sans rival or ingredients like pandan. In fact, the art of ice cream making is in her lineage as her grandfather was a flavor chemist for Magnolia Ice Cream back in the Philippines. 

“The overwhelmingly positive response last year was unexpected, and reassurance that these flavors resonate deeply with a lot of Fil-Ams,” Borlongan told the Asian Journal. “We decided we needed to make this a yearly thing.”

With Wanderlust Creamery’s roots in global travels, these Fil-Am flavors allow us to transport back to childhood memories or for other customers, give a glimpse of the Philippines and exposure to other Filipino ingredients beyond the classic ube. 

The flavors that return for the full month are:

Sans Rival: buttercream ice cream with pieces of crispy cashew dacquoise 

Kalamansi Pie: meringue ice cream, housemade kalamansi lime curd and graham crumble

Kapampangan Halo Halo: a mixture of condensed milk ice cream, flecked with jackfruit sherbet, swirls of saba banana-dulce de leche, and studded with coconut sport + crispy pinipig rice. (The base is like leftover condensed milk at the bottom of the halo halo bowl; think of a Fil-Am version of Momofuku Milk Bar’s Cereal Milk).

Pandan Tres Leches: sweet cream ice cream with ribbons of condensed milk + pieces of pandan sponge cake

Barako Coffee: barako coffee beans infused into grass fed ice cream sweeted with dark muscovado sugar

Sapin Sapin: A Neapolitan of the signature Ube Malted Crunch®, jackfruit, and sticky rice ice creams. 

Borlongan also asked several Fil-Ams what childhood food they would turn into an ice cream flavor. Responses included White Rabbit candy (suggested by Reach Guinto of Foodbeast), which was introduced earlier this February, creating a lot of online buzz and inspiring replicas all over the world. It has since become a fixture on the signature menu. 

Wanderlust Creamery’s Tita’s Fruit Salad — mascarpone ice cream studded with cubes of Manila mango sherbet, maraschino cherries, peaches and pineapple. | Photo courtesy of Wanderlust Creamery

Another response she received was Filipino fruit salad — a potluck staple typically composed of fruit cocktail, sweetened condensed milk and cream — thus inspiring Tita’s Fruit Salad flavor, which is a limited run from October 18-24. 

It uses mascarpone ice cream studded with cubes of Manila mango sherbet, maraschino cherries, peaches and pineapple. [Editor’s note: the flavor was inspired during a previous conversation Borlongan had with Asian Journal’s managing editor Christina Oriel.]

On select dates (and not available in pints), other limited run flavors are: 

Salted Duck Egg Yema (October 4-10): Salted duck egg custard ice cream with pieces of hard-cured candied duck yolk

Green Mango (October 4-10): Sorbet of green unripe mangoes (vegan and dairy free)

Biko (October 11-17): Banana leaf-infused sticky rice ice cream with caramelized coconut milk (vegan and dairy free) 

Keso De Bola (October 25-31): aged edam cheese ice cream

Popular limited run flavor Salted Duck Egg Yema uses salted duck egg custard ice cream with pieces of hard-cured candied duck yolk. | Photo courtesy of Wanderlust Creamery

The salted duck egg yema attracted a lot of attention and discussion last year, especially after an Insider Food video of the flavor’s creation process went viral. 

“This [flavor] seemed to be a hit last year but also at the same time very controversial. On one hand, we had Filipinos saying it’s not a Filipino flavor, so we renamed it with ‘yema’ to give context,” Borlongan explained. “On the other hand we had non-Filipinos repulsed at the idea and name of the flavor. Whatever the case, it was undoubtedly our fastest selling flavor last year (although it was a limited run).” 

In addition to storefronts in Tarzana, Atwater Village and Venice, and a weekly residency at Smorgasburg in downtown, Wanderlust recently landed in Pasadena.

Wanderlust offers ube and pandan cones also to complete the experience. Ube Malted Crunch® — ube with crunchy malted milk pieces — inspired by Borlongan’s upbringing as a second-generation Fil-Am remains a mainstay and best-seller on the menu. 

To check which flavors are available at each store this month, visit https://www.wanderlustcreamery.com/.

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