A WAVE of various wholesome food establishments and even healthier options in restaurants have grown sporadically like mushrooms here in Cebu. Most of these healthy dishes lean more toward the savory dishes like salads, vegetarian burgers, and even green concoctions like detoxifying, fat-flushing drinks. Finding these types of food is easy peasy. What may not be as easy as pie, however, is finding and eating “clean” desserts.
Oh, desserts! Come to think of it, dessert is almost always synonymous to processed sugar, and Filipinos, for sure, do love their sweets! It sounds impossible but would you believe that such a dessert that’s actually vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, wheat-free, and at some point sugar-free, exists? How insanely bland, one might think? However, all you need’s a tiny slice, let it melt into your mouth, and only then will the flavors bombard your taste buds. Before you know it, you’re reaching out for your fourth bite.
Halva is a Jewish delicacy originating from Morocco and lucky for us Cebuanos, we don’t have to go that far just to get a taste of this vegan treat. Owners Tal Levi Sudi and Casey Roasa popped open Halva Kingdom, a kiosk located in Ayala Center Cebu.
“Filipinos love sweets. Back in Jerusalem, a lot of tourists would buy huge amounts of halva as pasalubong. So we thought about bringing halva into the country,” said Tal.
Living in the Philippines for roughly around seven years also motivated Tal to offer a healthy alternative for desserts. “Back when I was a kid, my mom would always give me something delicious yet healthy.
Kids like sandwiches with chocolate spread, but that’s just full of sugar. Here, we offer a hazelnut chocolate tahini that tastes similar to that but is healthier because it’s made from sesame seeds.”
The Moroccan dessert starts with organic sesame seeds sourced from Ethiopia. Passing through a cold press grinding, the ground toasted sesame seeds turn into a paste. According to Tal, they have stuck with the traditional method of producing halva as this ensures the retention of the natural minerals and nutrients extracted from the sesame.
Served in bite-sized portions and paired with coffee or tea, halva has become the alternative dessert in Israel as people aren’t allowed to consume anything dairy after having meat. With over 30 flavors including the crowd favorites like whiskey, coffee bean halva, premium chocolate, and lemon-chocolate, halva is indeed a unique dessert that’s guilt-free.
Halva Kingdom is also selling tahini available in seven flavors including hazelnut chocolate tahini, pesto, chili and tuscan-flavored tahini.