Sorbetes Ice Cream: Philippines Style
SORBETES ICE CREAM: PHILIPPINE STYLE
It’s summertime here in the Philippines and Holy Week is almost near – the hottest days in summer. Summer fruits are almost everywhere, watermelon, cantaloupe, pineapples and others. But added to the much heat quenching elements are halo-halo and ice cream. Allow me to introduce you the Philippine traditional version of ice cream and how it is serve not only in the hot days but every sunny days.
Sorbets is the Philippine version of ice cream commonly peddled from carts in the streets of the both urban and rural districts. It is usually serve with small sugar cones or wafer, and recently with buns. It is usually made from coconut milk or carabo’s (water buffalo) milk, unlike others that are made from cow’s milk. Usually, the ice cream peddler (sorbetero) rings his bell to make notice that the ice cream seller just arrive. Whenever the children heard the bell rings, the kids runs to street to buy.
Ice cream was introduced the same tine cooling devices like refrigerators are brought in during the time of the American colonization. American ice cream was made from cow’s milk, “sorbets” was made out of carabo’s milk, resulting to a cheaper produce. Both kinds of milk are widely used these days. Coconut milk and cassava flour are other ingredients used to make the local ice cream, making “sorbets” distinct from ice cream in other countries. I can not think of other reason why the modern Filipinos called sorbetes “dirty ice cream” rather than these.
Flavors varied from the usual natural flavor such as mango, melon, ube (yam), jackfruit, and avocado and coconut flavors. They also copy commercial ice cream flavor like chocolate, cheese, mocha or coffee flavor.
The “sorbets” industry competes with the big commercially available ice cream from giant companies operating in the country such as Nestle, Magnolia and Selecta which also started to peddle their product in the streets in a more modernized carts like the picture below.
Sorbets is peddled by a “sorbetero” using colorfully hand-painted wooden carts which usually contained only three flavors, each in a large metal canister. The cart is stuffed with “dry ice” sprinkled with salt to produce lower temperature around the metal canisters and keep the ice cream frozen longer. These peddlers usually get their cart from the manufacturers of the local ice cream and walk the streets the whole day, calling the attention of consumers by ringing their hand-held bell. The latest carts are now attached to bicycles with stainless containers.
The whole cart is also available for private gatherings like anniversary or birthdays and much cheaper to buy in gallons of ice cream to be served to the guests.
Peddlers of sorbetes render various serving options. It may be served in a sugar cone, small plastic cups, wafer cone or bread bun at different prices. A serving can include one falvor of your choice or a combination of all available flavors. Sorbets are best serve as dessert or as a snack.
Due to the high technology and advancement, sorbets become an endangered peddling business and become rare nowadays. Big companies had taken most of the market and some have their own kind and type of peddling fashion.
All photos by the author.