Z for Zucrè

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014


IF Charmaine Bontia had it her way, the entire place would have been draped in wooden fixtures. But her brother Rex, who happens to be the architect, insisted on something of his own flair: industrial chic motif in neutral colors, running against the trend of painting pastry shops in pastel colors and all things girly.

Nevertheless it works—setting a refreshing and casual ambience for where one can enjoy sweets, plus more.

One of the newest hangouts in Cebu, Zucré Pastry Shop is managed by budding chef Charmaine and her mom Carmencita, who for several years has been operating a catering business in Ormoc City. Their shop serves an array of desserts crafted by Charmaine, and some hot meals from her mom’s own recipes.

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Zucré’s cakes are rich and moist, and the bread products are reasonably priced—much to the delight of the students from nearby schools. Pastry bars, cupcakes, muffins and kakanin (rice cakes) like cassava cake are available, not to mention Charmaine’s unique specialty, the fried ice cream, served flambé style.

When walking up the counter, easily catching attention from their display are the assorted mini cupcakes that are at only P10 each, and the Pinterest-worthy goodies such as the rainbow cake and the chocolate moist that’s topped with Maltesers.

As for the hot meals, the selection includes sandwiches, salads and pastas; the bestsellers being the baked lasagna, and the panini sandwiches that can be filled with either bacon, ham or chicken.

Recalling her earliest encounters with food preparation, Charmaine shared, “When I was young, I used to help out in the kitchen of my mom’s catering service. It has always been my dream to open something of my own because I love backing, and for me it’s a stress reliever.”

The 22-year-old chef pursued her culinary studies at the International Culinary Arts Academy Cebu and then had her apprenticeship in a Hilton Hotel in North Carolina, USA, where she stayed for over a year. She opened Zucré March 28 this year, explaining that the name is a play on the word azúcar, which means sugar in Spanish.

Zucré Pastry Shop is on the second level of City Times Square in Mandaue City. It is open from 12 noon to 10 p.m. on Sundays to Thursdays, and from 12 noon to 12 midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 30, 2014.

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