That nugget of wisdom popped into my head a couple of weeks ago in Butuan City, as I sat patting my mid-section after all but licking the plate on which had sat, just a minute ago, a slice of sans rival.
Granted, it had been a week of non-stop eating (details to come). But it was really the sans rival that led me to the edge of the cliff and pushed me over.
Our host, you see, lives next to his sister-in-law Margie's bakery. Nearly every meal closed with a parade, literally from the bakery's door to his, of wickedly delicious cakes, cookies, pastries. Sometimes a new batch would appear on the table just as we were finishing the old one, sorely testing my usual take-it-or-leave-it view of desserts.
But it was the sans rival that did me in. Sans rival, 'without rival' - a Philippine confection that demonstrates the usefulness of hyperbole.
Made of layers of meringue sandwiching chopped nuts and buttercream, and frosted with more buttercream, sans rival is deceptively (and dangerously) light and airy. Margie's version incorporates lots of toasted cashews (I've also had sans rival with pistachios) and buttercream that's little more than butter and plain sugar - so buttery, in fact, that it melts if the cake is left out too long. It's as much nuts as meringue and shows a brilliant balance of saltiness to sweet. Our companion, who took to eating leftovers for breakfast, wished for more buttercream between the layers. My hips thank god for this version's 'leanness', if that's the way to describe a cake sporting an inch of dairy fat frosting.
Margie is an inspired baker. Everything her workshop turns out is stupendous. But it was the sans rival that lured me back for seconds. Every single meal.
If you're in Butuan City or Davao you can sample Margie's baked goods at her son Macky's eateries (accompanied, perhaps, by - wait for it - latte made with rich carabao milk), Margie's Kitchen (Butuan City) and Margie's. Or place an order with one of the bakeries and carry something wonderful home.
Margie's Kitchen, 1342 Sentro building, J. C. Aquino Avenue, Butuan City,Tel. # (085) 342-1980
Margie's Bakeshop, 393 M. Calo Street, Butuan City, Tel. # (085) 341-5046
Margie's Bakeshop, Door 3 Jatel building, Tulip Drive, Ecoland, Davao City
Margie's, Villa de Mercedez, Toril, Davao City