Text by TERENCE REPELENTE
Images by PINGGOT ZULUETA
If you’re like me, and a thousand other Millennials out there, whose emotional and gastronomic mood often consists of “tara kape? (Want to get coffee?)”and “tara inom! (Let’s drink!),” then get ready to experience the best of both worlds. Fundador, Spain’s largest and oldest brandy company in the Philippines, gives us the Fundador Café, finally!
Located at the Venice Grand Canal Mall in McKinley Hill, the newly-opened Fundador Café is the first concept café of its kind in the Philippines, offering a sumptuous list of unique food and beverage concoctions infused with brandy and Sherry wines.
According to Kendrick Tan, Emperador executive director, who personally unveiled the Fundador Café, it was the Filipino Millennials who were in their mind when they conceptualized the concept store. “It’s part of our heritage in the company, not just for Fundador but for all of our brands under Emperador, to always keep evolving and coming up with these new ideas. Because we have to do everything we can to make sure that our brand stays relevant. We have to continuously find new applications in which people can enjoy our brand,” he said in an exclusive interview with the Manila Bulletin during the store launch. “The preferences of people, especially the young ones, can change from generation to generation. The goal here is to make sure we have something to offer them, ’yung kakaiba (something different), ’yung unique.” And this, he said, the delicious marriage between liquor and sweet treats is the result of their exploration for relevance.
Inside the 50-square-meter Fundador Café you’ll find yourself awed in a stylish Spanish distillery-inspired space, with refined wooden finish, hinting at elements of classic interior design, possessing a modern café spirit. And, coming all the way from Jerez, Spain, the eye-catching Fundador barrel, the very emblem of the liquor company, serves as the store’s design centerpiece. Stacked on the shelves is a wide array of Fundador selections, which include the exclusive Harveys wines.
But what makes Fundador Café one-of-a-kind is, of course, the “cocktail bar,” serving store-exclusive Fundador concoctions. For a hot drink, Kendrick recommends the store’s Café Exclusivo, a great blend of Fundador Exclusivo and the finest brewed coffee.“It’s perfect for those who likes their coffee black. It’s hot, something that will electrify and wake you up, to get you ready for a long work day,” he said. And for the ice blended option, just in time for summer, he urged everyone to try the Matcha Light, a sweet blend, perfectly coupled with the smooth Fundador Light—currently everyone’s favorite. For other hot drinks, the store also has the Fundador Café Latte, which has premium espresso combined with Fundador Gold Reserve and the classic Fundador Solera and Double Salted Caramel, which is mixed with Fundador Double Light. Along with the Matcha Light, the store’s heat-extinguishing drinks are the Light Iced Tea mixed with a shot of Fundador Light, Café Solera, a premium roast coffee served with ice and a shot of Fundador Solera, Harveys Mojito, which has the sweet taste of lemon and mint mixed with Harveys, and Orange Passion, a sweet soda based drink blended with Harveys Bristol Cream.
These spiked beverages are best paired with the Fundador Café’s cupcakes, which are laced with the fresh and fruity flavors of Harveys Bristol Cream, a.k.a. the number one sherry in the world. The selection, which are all topped with Harveys Dark Chocolate Ganache (just in case you need an additional dose of alcohol), includes the Sherry Butter Cupcake, Banana Cupcake, Chocolate Cupcake, and Vanilla Butter Cupcake. And guess what? They also have Italian Gelato—Amara Dark Chocolate and the Dulce De Leche, both also mixed with Harvey’s Bristol Cream.
“We understand that there is a very huge coffee and dessert culture in the Philippines, so, we thought why not use our products, which go exceedingly well with coffee, tea, and dessert, and pair them together?” he said. “We have a bunch of products that go extremely well with sweets, especially dessert and coffee, and Fundador Café is a way to use that in our advantage. It’s a unique idea to serve new ways that will make people enjoy our products.”
While Fundador Café is the first of its kind, Kendrick guarantees that it will definitely not be the last. In fact, one will rise soon in Iloilo, according to Kendrick.