A stirring sweetness
For life and biz, Alyssa Lao conjures the perfect mix
By Deneb Batucan
IT all started with a craving, and she ended up with a business that satisfies every intense desire — for ice cream, that is.
Alyssa Lao was craving for one of her favorite ice cream flavors — salted caramel — four years ago. She just got back home in Cebu, but her favorite salted caramel ice cream was in a Sunday market in Manila. So Alyssa did the next best thing: make her own ice cream. “I kept tweaking it until it was how I wanted it and I realized, ‘I can make ice cream!’ I made my family taste it and they really liked it. Then I had this ice-cream tasting party with my friends where they tried out different flavors, and they were like, ‘You should make this a business!’”
A graduate of hotel and restaurant management from the University of San Carlos, Alyssa pursued further studies and training in Manila. After finishing culinary arts at the Global Academy, she worked as a chef for almost a year in The Goose Station, one of the premier restaurants in the capital, and then took a short course on ice-cream making held by the renowned Carpigianni Gelato University of Italy.
All that time spent learning and studying the sciences behind everyone’s favorite frozen dessert made Alyssa well-equipped to venture into the ice-cream business. And Scoops by Edrea was born. Starting the online homemade artisanal gelato shop about three years ago, she has since made countless made-to-order gelato. Alyssa assures that her gelato is always concocted with the freshest products and is guaranteed to be all kinds of delicious.
Being in a tropical country, Alyssa thought that ice cream is always a good idea. With Scoops by Edrea, her products are made to order with a minimum of three pints of any of her mouth-watering flavors: Nutty Business (vanilla bean based with toffee almonds and walnuts), Once You Go Dark (triple dark chocolate), Java Chip (coffee and chocolate chips), High Tea (Earl Gray infused ice cream with a vanilla bean base), Apple Pie ala Mode, Cranberry Stracciatella (fruit and chocolate combo) and Salted Caramel. She also has two Christmas flavors: The Grinch (mint chocolate chip with oreos) and Santa’s Helper (peppermint and white chocolate).
From time to time, Alyssa makes customized flavors for her clients who have acquired tastes. At the moment, she’s making muscovado-flavored ice cream paired with fresh bananas — her take of the popular sweet street food, banana cue.
To set the bar high, Alyssa never makes common flavors, mixing these up instead to create her own masterpiece of frozen, creamy scoops. But she mused that in making ice cream, a good cream base is essential. “It starts with the vanilla base. And then from there I build on whatever flavors I want. If it’s good, I develop it more,” she said.
To achieve the guaranteed freshness of her gelato, Alyssa never stocks up on her products. “I only make ice cream when someone orders because I want to make sure that it’s fresh. It’s so different when you have ice cream that’s been stored for quite a while compared to ice cream that’s made fresh the night before. It will crystallize the longer that it’s stored,” she explained.
Raising the ante
Even when she’s surrounded by glorious, mouth-watering ice cream, Alyssa finds the time to keep fit. She’s an active member of CrossFit Pintados, a growing community geared toward spreading awareness on the ultimate fitness regimen. She started doing CrossFit a year ago and has been hooked ever since.
Food is Alyssa’s main passion, though, and she is about to up the ante: this September, she will be opening her first restaurant, Birdseed Breakfast Club + Café, an all-day breakfast concept with artisanal coffee, at Vibo Place on Escario St. As a hands-on owner, all the recipes and concepts will be by Alyssa. Scoops by Edrea will also be served.
“Breakfast from all over the world” — that is Birdseed’s main concept. “I want to expose Cebu to world cuisine. The food industry outside Cebu is so different and I want to bring it here for everyone to enjoy,” Alyssa shared.
With a knack for turning cravings into something rewarding, Alyssa can only grow more passionate in bringing more food goodness to Cebu, one scoop —or serving — at a time.
Photos: Alfred Gregory E. Bartolome
Make-up Artist: Carlo Damolo
Hair Stylist: Jerwin Bastatas