Food Safari: Mexico, Pampanga


By very fortunate circumstances, my friend Liana and I happened to be invited to the Pampanga Food Safari, a trip organized by Enderun. Pampanga is known to be the “House of Philippine Gastronomy” which is probably why they decided to hold the trip here. The day started out early and by around 10am, we reached our first destination; the ancestral home of Lillian Borromeo in Mexico, Pampanga.
We were greeted by Chef Sau del Rosario who was by the entrance, handing each of us fresh, chilled pandan tea. This was indeed refreshing.


After a few introductory notes by Chef Sau, he introduced us to Lillian Borromeo, one of his cooking idols. Standing directly in the kitchen of her ancestors, I couldn’t help but notice the cookware and molds which were evidently antiques. The beautifully hand-carved molds were gifts to her grandmother back in the 1730’s.


She was set to teach us how to make San Nicolas cookies, a recipe passed down from Spanish friars and Dominican sisters who needed to make use of spare egg yolks that were often thrown away. I find that San Nicolas cookies are reminiscent of butter cookies but with a bit more flour, and just a hint of citrus zest lying in its after taste. With the same recipe, one can conjure up Dulce Prenda (which is basically yema inside a mold made of this cookie batter) and Angel’s Delight.


In Mrs. Borromeo’s backyard, she has what appears to be a huge stone grinder that makes pure chocolate out of ground cacao beans and peanuts. I think this is probably one of the more traditional means of its production and man, does it look like a lot of hard work. Fortunately for us all, a taste of the famed Tsokolate-e was in order. Armed with carabao milk and her own tub of pure homemade goodness, Mrs. Borromeo worked her magic.




The Tsokolate-e was wonderous and unlike anything I’ve ever tasted before. It was light and creamy at the same time. There’s a smokey kind of flavor that comes with the drinking the chocolate, I don’t know if it’s from the copper pot or the chocolate itself but wow, just wow. I had three cups of this because I am a glutton and it was absolutely awesome. I can only dream of this at the moment since I do not have a tub of her special chocolate or a stone grinder from the days of yore. Boo.


Last but certainly not least was the Tibok-Tibok
which is quite a popular Kapampangan kakanin made with carabao’s milk and latik. Tibok-Tibok is a dish dedicated to lovers and got its name from the milk mimicking heartbeats in the pan. For those who don’t know, Tibok-Tibok means heartbeat. I found Mrs.Borromeo’s Tibok-Tibok to be really milky and good but lacking in the latik department, I wish she put more!


I have the exact recipe for the San Nicolas Cookies if anybody wants them. Just leave your e-mail address in the comments and I’ll be sure to send them to you.


What the cacao and peanut mix looks like before they stick it in the stone grinder.

You can grab a tub of this labor of love for a whopping P500. Sounds kinda steep but if you see how much effort is put into a jar, you wouldn’t mind paying that premium. If I am not mistaken, one tub takes around 2 hours of non-stop grinding to produce.

Panecillos de San Nicolas
A Kampampangan Culinary Heritage
+45 966 0211
+45 875 0678
+63 915 7730788
(This is information I saw on a box of San Nicolas Cookies someone else on the Safari took home. Maybe you can call to see if you can order any of the things I was lucky enough to try.)

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60 comments
  1. Carina said:

    !!! I WANT THAT CHOCOLATE. :0

    The molds are so pretty.

    • Sarie said:

      I have a bigger photo of the molds! I wanted to buy the chocolate but ang mahal!!! And, fattening! Steaky revival!

  2. nancy said:

    wow ..i super like it ..love choco too..can you pls share me the recipe on how to make that San Nicolas cookies?? thanks a lot!

    • Sarie said:

      Hi Nancy! Thanks for checking out my blog. I sent an e-mail with the recipe to europhil@live.de. Let me know when you receive it. Enjoy!

  3. issah said:

    My husband VIC was the only rose among us beautiful thorns. But how glad he was to have joined us! The fellowshipping we enjoyed was so enjoyable and the culinary experience extremely such a memorable one and something truly well-worth recommending. Lori-Vi and her ToursGroup and of course their partner-institution our beloved ENDERUN deserves all the kudos for such a successful undertaking! (…one of the organizers mentioned that we were in fact the “guinea pigs” for this type of tour?… Here is the verdict from all: hope you do another one and another one and another one…. ! ) …and Atching Lilian and Chef Sau, you are indeed of global caliber… we are very proud of you!

    issah

  4. issah said:

    My husband VIC was the only rose among us beautiful thorns. But how glad he was to have joined us! The fellowshipping was so enjoyable and the culinary experience extremely such a memorable one and something truly well-worth recommending. Lori-Vi and her ToursGroup and of course their partner-institution our beloved ENDERUN deserves all the kudos for such a successful undertaking! (…one of the organizers mentioned that we were in fact the “guinea pigs” for this type of tour?… Here is the verdict from all: hope you do another one and another one and another one…. ! ) …and Atching Lilian and Chef Sau, you are indeed of global caliber… we are very proud of you!

    issah

    • Sarie said:

      Thanks for the comment! I wholeheartedly agree with your sentiments. The Food Safari was just so much fun!

  5. candid f said:

    love the San Nicolas cookies..can you please share the recipe to me. thank you so much.

    • Sarie said:

      Recipe sent! Thanks for checking out my blog. 🙂

  6. Lyn Roque said:

    Please can you share the San Nicolas cookie recipe.Thanks in advance!

  7. Elviralim said:

    Hi! I love the San Nicholas cookies . Can you please share with me the recipe of the cookies ?

    • Sarie said:

      Hi! Glad you checked out my entry. Just sent you the recipe for the cookies. Enjoy!

  8. I enjoyed reading your posts, you take great photographs.
    Since you offered, I’d like the recipe for those San Nicolas cookies. The holidays are almost here and would like to make them. Thanks.

    • Sarie said:

      Wow, thank you so much. 🙂 I checked your blog as well and the food looks mighty delicious. I just sent you the recipe through the email you left here. Do link me and let me know how it goes when you get the chance to bake them. Enjoy!

  9. Rowena said:

    Love the San Nicolas cookie, can you please share the recipe to me. Thank you

  10. tuazimoto said:

    hi could you please share the san nicolas recipe? Thanks!

    • Sarie said:

      Sent! Thanks for reading!

  11. Karen said:

    Hi! I’ve always wanted to try making San Nicolas cookies, can I get the recipe 🙂 ?? Thanks!

    • Sarie said:

      Hi Karen! Just sent you the recipe via email. 🙂

  12. M&M said:

    Can you please send me the San Nicolas cookie recipe too? Salamat.

    • Sarie said:

      I just sent it to you via email. Enjoy!

  13. Hazel said:

    I remember that my grandmother had that stone grinder when I was young…it bring back lots of memories. Can you pls email me the San Nicolas cookie recipe. I really appreciate it. Thank you so much 🙂

    • Sarie said:

      Wow, you guys must’ve had such great dessert at your grandmother’s place! Lucky you. Anyway, I sent the recipe to this email address and I hope you enjoy. 🙂

  14. esther said:

    please send e-mail the san nicholas cookies recipe, thanks

    • esther said:

      Please e-mail the san nichokas cookie recipe, Thanks

      • Sarie said:

        Sent! Hope you enjoy!

  15. Carmela said:

    Thanks for this wonderful article! San Nicholas cookies bring back childhood memories in Pampanga and of my Mom who passed away recently. Mom used to get them for us as “pasalubong”. Please send me the recipe so that I could share them with my kids too just like Mom did. Thank you so much and more power to you!

    • Sarie said:

      Oh, I’m so sorry for your loss. I sent you an e-mail with the recipe. Hope you and your kids enjoy it. 🙂

  16. minay said:

    Hi! Can you please send me the San Nicolas cookie recipe? They taste like the minasa cookies of Bulacan which we’re also addicted, too 🙂 Thanks so much.

  17. Laila said:

    HI Sarie, can you send me the recipe for the San Nicolas cookies please? Thank you!

  18. marceline vitug said:

    I love the San Nicolas cookies and I’d like to learn how to bake it. May I have a copy of the recipe please? Can it be sent to my email address. Thanks

  19. Irene Adube said:

    Hi, one of my favorite Filipino delicacies is the San Nicolas cookies. May I request the recipe please? Thank you very much and may God bless you always.

    • Sarie said:

      Sent! Thanks. May God bless you too!

  20. Randy said:

    request for the ‘saniculas’ recipe pls.. ASAP, we’l hv our patronal fiesta (San Nicolas de Tolentino) on Sept 10.. tnx.. email: chauve33@yahoo.com

  21. Jeru said:

    Hi there! I want the recipe for San Nicolas cookie too. Thanks!

  22. Nina said.. Please email me the San Nicholas cookies recipe. thank you said:

    Nina said, Please email me the San Nicholas cookies recipe. thank you.

  23. Alan O. Encabo said:

    Am quite intrigued to read about the San Nicolas and Dulce Prenda. It brings back memories of our Rosquillos, Masa Real, Binangkal and other traditional foods that I shared in baking and eating with my Lola Nieving when I was a youngster in Cebu.

    Can you share me their recipes? Other Kapampangan pasalubong recipes also would be greatly appreciated.Thank you so much!

  24. jen m. said:

    can yo email me the recipe? please

  25. jen m. said:

    can you email the recipe to me. please

  26. I grew up eating San Nicolas bec of my Ima’. I also like tinbok-tibok, duman, yema w caramel coating, chocolate-e , flower shaped peanut brittle and many more. Please email me the recipe =) thanks

  27. Roen Layug said:

    I am Kapampangan on my dad side. We used to live in Lubao and now living here in Ca for almost 30 yrs. I miss the place so much. My husband’s family is from Guagua. My inlaws are great cook. Maybe one day I can go back and visit all these places. I would love to try the recipes..Thank you so much for sharing…..

  28. hi! is san nicolas coookie recipe same as MINASA cookies of san miguel bulakan, kindly send me a recipe of both cookies, thanks and GOD BLESS!!!

  29. maria said:

    Hi, I was googling a recipe for Pan de San Nicolas and this post came up. I enjoyed reading your post and would love to have a recipe of Pan de San Nicolas. Can I pls ask you to email the recipe? Thank you.

  30. Jonathan Jose said:

    please send me the recipe of this fabulous cookies called san nicolas…thank you so much.

  31. Cecilia Padlan said:

    Your post is very enjoyable to read. Kindly send me the recipe for the Pan de San Nicolas…Thank you very much for sharing. God bless.

  32. RT said:

    Hi! I totally love San Nicolas cookies and can’t wait to try making it. Can you please share this recipe to me? Thank you! My email: rossacui@hotmail.com

  33. Jamie said:

    Hi!! can i ask for the recipe of the Panecillos de San Nicolas too ^^ Thank you!

  34. cecilia said:

    HI .. LOVE THE TIBOK TIBOK.. would you have the original recipe using carabaos milk…mine tasted like too much cornstarch.. please help me perfect this…

  35. Rachelle dayrit said:

    can you send me the recipe of the san nicolas cookies. Tnx

  36. Rex Poyaoan said:

    Hello I would like to try the San Nicholas pan de cookie can you please send me the recipe … Salamat

    • Sarie said:

      Sorry Rex, by very unfortunate circumstances (my PC got wiped out) I lost the copy of the recipe. 😦

  37. ERIC C. CASTRO said:

    Hi, I am from Vintar, Ilocos Norte and our Patron Saint here is also San Nicolas de Tolentino. The celebration of his feast is fast approaching and I would like to share the panecillo de San Nicolas to my townmates. where can I buy them? can i have them online? thanks

  38. Please send me the recipe for the Pan San Nicolas cookies

  39. emmanuel m tandang said:

    please send me your recipe..

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