Sugar Rush

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Tuesday, August 12, 2014


THEY say when you are down, you go grab, munch and find refuge in something edible and pleasing to the taste buds. Yes, desserts. Some call it eye candy, and are very addictive. How ever it is labeled, it is usually sweet; and should make you feel better every time, if not for that only time you are eating.

“Stressed,” when spelled backwards, is “desserts.” Crazy logic? Well, there must be some truth in there.

Displaying the mantra is a small pastry boutique on Don Mariano Cui St. in Capitol Site, Cebu City. Artistic, modern and non-traditional, Zoet Cakes and Pastries was put up on Dec. 8 last year to carry the saccharine, delightful creations of shop owner Erica Neal. By the way, Zoet is pronounced as “zut,” which is the Dutch adjective for “sweet.”

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Erica is famous for her cheesecakes, which are not too sweet but are sinfully good. The signature pieces come in blueberry, strawberry, mango, cherry, Oreo, cappuccino and fudge. Shelf life is one week and a half, given proper storage. These cheesecakes are crafted from pure cream cheese, which probably explains why they don’t melt right away after serving.

Under the umbrella of Erica’s bestseller is a collection of other delicious treats in the form of cupcakes, sandwiches, ice cream and cakes. How could you snub the rainbow cake? Complete meals, all-day breakfast chows and snacks are also available on the menu.

Prior the physical outlet, Erica was already doing pastry business for four years. She took up a degree in culinary arts, graduated in 2009 and took it from there. She began by making Belgian chocolates but the following at that time was not that strong until she decided to venture into cheesecakes, which are also offered in delivery cases especially to Manila.

According to Erica, unlike in the capital (i.e. Manila) where the crowd would normally go for the physical look of the business, Cebu is a finicky market which makes it all challenging.

“As much as possible, you really have to constantly innovate on your products yet maintain your trademark flavor,” she underscored.

Erica also does made-to-order, customized sweet items and at the same time, supplies her personal clients and other establishments, including cafes and restaurants.

Zoet Cakes and Pastries is open from Mondays to Saturdays at 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Busy hours are from 4 to 8 p.m. A total of 30 persons is already a full house. The place “saves” one unhappy person at a time. Definitely making life sweeter.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 13, 2014.

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