I finally got the chance to visit Mercato Centrale at the Fort this weekend. I think it’s pretty obvious from the blog that I love to eat, so it was only a matter of time that I’d make a beeline for a market offering the best food finds in and around the city.
Inspired by the original Mercato Centrale in Florence, Italy, this market at the Bonifacio Global City is a more modest version, made up of two air-conditioned tents and a pavilion of outdoor stalls. But don’t be fooled, there are gastronomic treasures to be had.
A very important tip: never go to MC (I don’t think anyone really calls it this, but that name is too long to type over and over again) on an empty stomach or else you’d be gobbling up each and every sample of paella, cookies, cheesecake, chocolate, ice cream and yoghurt that you pass by. Not to mention you might end up buying everything you’ve taken a fancy to. And in MC, that’s likely to be a lot!
And as proof to that point, my mom and I made our first purchase within five minutes of arriving. At Tent No. 1, is Baked by Anita, offering mini cupcakes with some unique and surprising flavor combinations. Bacon & Maple or Saffron with Black Salt, anyone?
There were, of course, samples, and one taste of their Sticky Date with Salted Caramel Butter Cream and Himalayan Pink Salt (whew!) got us hooked. It tasted a little like Food for the Gods, which I love, but the salty-sweet frosting took it, like 12 levels higher. We quickly snatched up a dozen, an assortment including the aforementioned three flavors and Chocolate Chip, Peanut Butter Truffle and Caramel Apple.
They cupcakes are a little on the pricey side, 35 PHP for one, three for 100 PHP, six for 200 PHP and so on. But with ingredients like the world’s most expensive spice and fancy colored salt, I suppose the higher prices are merited. Besides, cost and worth are two entirely different things. And were these mini-cupcakes worth it?
They sure were. The Chocolate Chip cupcake was like a cookie combined with the bread-y-ness of cake, while the Bacon & Maple was further proof that bacon DOES make everything better.
But the Sticky Date remains my absolute favorite. A close second is the Caramel Apple. It’s a caramelized apple cake with a cinnamon-pecan crisp. The salted caramel drizzle on top is the perfect foil to the sweet, cinnamon-y cupcake base. I’m licking my lips just thinking about it.
So obviously, Mercato Centrale find #1 was a win. Let’s see if I get as lucky with my other purchases.
Baked by Anita is located at Booth 17, Tent 1 of tMercato Centrale at Corner 9th and 30th Streets, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.