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Keep Rolling, Rolling, Rolling.



Nothing beats a nice, cold cup of ice cream. Even better if it's on a cone, the sweet kind, like those you get from local sorbeteros. But just when you think you've seen everything there is to see with ice cream, a little stall in Greenbelt 3 called XOXO is offering ice cream with a twist--or with a roll, really.

Serving handcrafted ice cream in Bali, Indonesia since 2017, XOXO has now opened branches in Manila. "We opened here at Greenbelt 3 in October of last year," says Samuel Wilkes, the New Zealand-born co-founder of XOXO. "We have some good friends here. We love the Philippines--I come here a lot and it's a great holiday destination. It's a great holiday destination. We're looking for--"

"Warm weather," interjects Joana De Oliveira Wilkes, the other half of XOXO and Sam's better half. Both are award-winning chefs who now live in Macau.

"Yeah, warm weather," continues Sam, whose experience as a chef includes running a number of Michelin-starred restaurants. "It's got nice people and a good tourist population that will appreciate this kind of concept. And the Philippines fits all of these criteria."

XOXO's unique appeal--its hugs and kisses, so to speak--is in how its ice cream is prepared. Instead of scooping ready-made ice cream and putting it into cups or cones, XOXO's well-trained staff prepares the ice cream right in front of your eyes.

It's a ritual, really. First, you stirfry--yes, it's called stir-frying--a mixture of imported ROLLING, ROLLING KEEP ROLLING, Here's an ice cream experience you don't get to have everyday milk and cream, vanilla paste, high-quality milk powder, plus whatever flavor you want the ice cream to be, on an ice pan that's about -20 degrees cold. Once the mixture is flattened, you roll it into semi-smooth ice cream.

Rolled ice cream, Joana and Sam say, is a concoction that originated from the night markets of Thailand. "But a lot of those in Thailand just put together whatever flavors they want," Joana explains. "We offer more curated texture and flavors."

Rolled ice cream, Joana and Sam say, is a concoction that originated from the night markets of Thailand. "But a lot of those in Thailand just put together whatever flavors they want," Joana explains. "We offer more curated texture and flavors."

A number of these flavors, Sam adds, are made specifically for the Pinoy palate. One is called I am What I Yam, which combines a creamy ube ice cream base with soft ube mocha and crunchy ube barquillos. It's the ultimate tita of Manila flavor, a fun treat for anyone who loves ube. Another flavor made for the Philippine market is Manny's Fruit Punch, which has ripe mango and sweet pomelo. There's also a halo-halo flavor in the works.

In Bali, XOXO's most popular ice creams are The Godfather and The Golden Ticket. The former is a delightful combination of triple chocolate sprinkled with crushed Maltesers, milk chocolate chips, and a bar of Tim Tam's. The latter also has a chocolate base with a Nutella brownie.

All of XOXO's ice cream flavors have similarly witty names: 50 Shades of Grey, which is their version of the uber-popular cookies and cream flavor; The Full Minty, chocolates full of hidden herbs; OMG, which has a crunchy honeycomb and a delicious chocolate sauce. There are also two gluten-free options, Lala Land, which has white chocolates and salted caramel, and the Matcha Lychee, topped with white chocolate sauce and puffed rice.

And, to add the proverbial cherry on top, XOXO's ice creams have 50 percent less sugar than usual ice creams. "I love chocolates, but I don't like it too sweet." Joana asks. "After all, who doesn't like chocolates? But we have more flavors that we're planning to bring here, including one that has a bit of alcohol."

With the kind of creativity Joana and Sam put in their work, XOXO is on a roll, with a stall on the third floor of Greenbelt 3 (just right outside the cinema entrance) and a new one at Bonifacio High Street, BGC. | Facebook @XOXOIceCreamManila | (+639) 06 385 6165


HOW WE ROLL Samuel Wilkes and Joana De Oliveira Wilkes holding their favorite flavors of XOXO handcrafted ice cream

XOXO's I am What I Yam

Lala Land

Matcha Lychee

A version of The Golden Ticket
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Title Annotation:Feature Story
Publication:Manila Bulletin
Geographic Code:9PHIL
Date:Mar 7, 2019
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