Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Candies from the Apo

If you know anyone who has been to Mindanao - anywhere in the island - chances are you likely received as pasalubong durian candies - those long, thin rectangles of hard pastilles that give just a hint of durian flavor. Mainly, though, they are sweet and milky.

They are common across and in the breadth and width of Mindanao - I've been to areas in the north, south, southeastern and northwestern parts and I always encounter them in the shops specializing in regional delicacies.

In Davao, these candies also abound, but there is a special kind that stands out. These candies are special because, first, it is home-grown in Davao, which city is known for durian, and second because it is not like any other durian candy in the entirety of Mindanao.

What sets these candies apart is this - they are soft, sticky, and ball-shaped like yemas. But yemas of Filipino childhoods they are definitely not, because they pack a hard punch of explosively pungent and funky durian flavor.

So these candies are not for durian-averse individuals who can only eat durian candies and durian ice cream. But for durian fanatics - you're missing a vital portion of your durian repertoire by not having had these.

We have these candies today because one enterprising and creative individual thought of setting up his own business that would improve on the one his family had been successfully operating since 1946.

He is the apo, grandchild, of Lola Abon - Mrs. Abondia Del Puerto Raakin - the matriarch who started what proved to be an enduring backyard business that made use of local flavors and achieved cult status in Davao.

The business has been handed down to the next generations, and currently it is the grandchildren who are now steering the wheel. But an inspired apo, Arnel Raakin, struck out on his own and made his family's special candies more special.

And in line with the reversal of roles, instead of the grandma giving sweet treats to her apos, it is now the grandchild producing the candies. Thus the Apo ni Lola brand of durian and other fruit delicacies, to distinguish from the cousins continuing the Lola Abon candy line.

Arnel explains that real durian lovers want real durian flavor in any durian product, so he uses the native durian variety, which has the strongest - and of course, the funkiest - flavor. The smell alone of the candies, even in a tightly sealed container, is enough proof.

But there's no need to fret if you don't like durian. There are jackfruit and mangosteen variants, and they are also great.

Needless to say, the widest selection is of the durian variants. There's durian yema (with butter), durian delight (with cream), durian nuggets (with peanuts), durian candy jam, durian buko pandan, durian royal (with raisins), durian mocha, durian cookies and cream, and even durian mallows!

Packs of the sweet treats are available in two sizes, and there is an assorted pack (large size) that contains about half of the durian variants. And because all ingredients used are fresh and no chemical/synthetic preservatives are added, the candies' shelf life is only a month (in the sealed container unopened).

Arnel continues to innovate, looking at expanding his product line. There's ice candies, and soft ice cream. Perfect to lug around while exploring the rest of Davao.

Apo ni Lola Durian Delicacies
#28 San Miguel Village
Matina, Davao City
Tel. No. (6382) 2985099, (63917) 4825078

Related Posts
Pastillas de Leche
Coconut Pastillas

My Other Food Trips in Davao
Ahfat Seafood Plaza
My Durian Epiphany
Davao's Other Fruits
Mangosteen in Manila


tak said...

Ooooh... I really like their durian candies and tarts - tastes like the actual durian fruit! the packaging is cute, too. :-)

i think you might need to update their website... i found out they have a new website at http://aponilola.weebly.com. it's more updated and complete with the list of their products and promos.

tak said...

oops. i forgot to link their website - here: apo ni lola durian candy

Kai said...

Tak, thank you very much! Just updated the post.