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Wanderlust | Everything durian and where to find them

This story appeared on Page 13 of the August 15, 2019 issue of Mindanao Times. To download a copy, visit www.bit.ly/MindanaoTimes
Durian buffet at SM Lanang Premier

Davao’s durian will soon become one of the region’s top fruit exports to China, and it is no surprise. The region Davao is harvesting more and more durian fruits than we can consume. What used to be just a farm fruit enjoyed by locals before is finally going global.

I remember around a decade ago when I used to complain and compare how other countries have made creative and innovative use of their durian harvest aside from just consuming it as fresh fruit.

Fastfoward to 2019 – we’re finally seeing durian packed in foils, mixed in a variety of food products, and even freeze dried.

Cacao de Davao’s durian filled dark chocolate is a winner

Here are some of the durian products that can be enjoyed by both locals and tourists as well as a hassle-free (no more durian aroma reeking in airports, or worse, inside airplanes) “pasalubong” item.

There are several durian chocolates (whether durian filled or flavored) but one of the few that stands out, at least, for me, is Cacao de Davao’s durian filled dark chocolate (PhP160/ Cacao City, SM Kultura, Bankerohan). One word: dark. Nothing comes close to real chocolate flavor than dark chocolate. Another brand is the Indangan, Buhangin-based Nutrarich’s 65% chocolate with freeze dried durian (PhP240/ Pasalubong Center)

So far, my fave durian product discovery this year

We can also now drink durian, at least, in coffee form, thanks also to Eagle’s Nest by Nutrarich Nutraceuticals Innovations (PhP300/ Pasulubong Center, NCCC Victoria Plaza grocery, Davao Airport).

Eng Seng Food Products, the same company behind the famous Yema Tower, has been making vacuum freeze dried (dehydrated) durian (PhP250/ Pasulubong Center, Bankerohan, Eng Seng-Quirino) since 2016.

NCCC Bread Factory’s Durian Petite Pie is also one of my favorite snack items. They’re not only great tasting but also very handy as a pasalubong and reasonably priced.

Durian pie for one from NCCC Bread Factory

Another new durian product discovery is Lucille’s Peanut Butter Durian. Thanks to a tip given by friend Rhona GV, I was able to find a local outlet (Go Lokal Abreeza) of this product as it is actually made in Tagum.

Finally, my current favorite durian product is Test Kitchen’s Durian Cheese (PhP170/ Dabawenyo Capsicum-Dona Segunda). After discovering it online, I immediately talked with owner Visa Cua-Castillo on how she was able to harmonize the strong taste of both cheese and durian.

Peanut Butter with durian is love

“I have been making cheese-based spreads, dips and sauces. This time, I made use of our local durian and tried mixing both – the salty cheese and the sweet, savory Durian. Surprisingly, it was a crowd pleaser,” she said.

It took Castillo only a month to develop and enhance the product with the vast variety of durian in Davao. It is perfectfor toast, crackers and even as a dip.

Durian coffee to perk you up anytime of the day

If you still can’t get enough durian fix, head to SM Lanang Premier for their durian festival buffet for only PhP180 per person for the entire Kadayawan celebration.

With durian’s multiple reinvention as food and with durian products that are making raves and rounds in expos and restaurants around the country, we can say that this thorny, previously seasonal fruit in indeed king.

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