Some things you ought to know:
First of all, I always call it Mercato Centrale because I often wind up there during the day time. I have no stamina to stay awake at 10+ pm and roam around the Fort so far away from home.
Second, the Merry Moo stall has always got me checking it out for new and unique flavors. From the first time I saw it, my interest was piqued by the Earl Grey ice cream. But I had to restrain myself at the time because the budget was a bit on the low side, and a cup of said ice cream would have set me back around P70-80. (You have to budget it out, if you want to try many things at Mercato).
Finally, I usually rely on the kindness of family and M for me to get a cup of their ice cream. Dad let me try the Strawberry Basil, which I can only describe as “herby” and what you would imagine gourmet to be like (read: kitchen experiments that may not be for mainstream consumption). Mind you, it tastes good but is considerably far from what the grocery ice cream brands have to offer.
On M’s birthday, he treated me to lunch at Mercato with a dessert of Merry Moo’s Sea Salt + Caramel Ice Cream. It blew my mind. (I have a severe soft spot for the salty-sweet, hence my liking of Holy Kettle Corn’s original flavor.) The caramel in the ice cream, though sweet, wasn’t the toffee kind, but was on the dark caramel side. –Something that I always prefer to toffee. I like that subtle bitterness that cuts into, what would have been, a sea of saccharine, sticky, tonsilitis-inducing sweetness (ick!).
The base of the dessert was rich and creamy enough. Not Haagen-Dazs level, but good. It melts a bit fast but I wouldn’t blame them for it, since their freezers go through the open-close motions a lot from the free tastes and orders they accommodate.
Positive Points: They are developing gourmet ice cream for those who are into the whole thing. It’s not just the branded type. They really bank on the unique flavors of the product. I like that they take it easy with a stall. You really have to test if the market is receptive to this type of product before you launch into a hardcore boutique.
Low Points: For the foodie on a budget, it may seem a bit pricey, but I get that the flavors available to us are at a premium. (Some gelato stands are even more expensive.)
Also got to try their Candied Bacon flavor. For some reason, it reminded me of chorizo. And no, I don’t like chorizo. I have to say, though, that it didn’t taste gross. Again, a fair play on the salty and the sweet. –I half-expected it to be a mostly savory ice cream (sort of like sticking huge amounts of maple bacon into a blender and adding cream). But it wasn’t.
Those looking for an unconventional dessert at Mercato should stop by. I find that their ice cream flavors are a good example of tanggal-umay. Plus, their Sea Salt Caramel is my new favorite. 🙂