“I scream for ice cream!” is one of the favorite yells of ice cream lovers out there.
Undeniably, an ice cream treat makes life a little sweeter and refreshing.
Papa Diddi’s farm-to-table ice cream shop, along Maginhawa Street in Sikatuna Village, Quezon City, brings delights and pleasures especially during the summer season, guilt-free for its indulgence.
Papa Diddi’s ice cream company is a newly-opened ice cream parlor which started last March 11. Upon entering it, the interior designs are quite catchy because of the wooden shelves decorated with books and an old photo of a man smiling. This man is actually Papa Diddi himself, the late father of the present owner Paul Perez.
The shop, a tribute to Paul’s father, was inaugurated on the latter’s birthdate. Papa Diddi, who had a passion for food and reading, was a lawyer to the farmers. He would usually get local produce in exchange for his legal services and, from these, he’d prepare homemade ice cream for his family during summer.
Paul, 46, took the Ice Cream Short Course at Pennsylvania State University, in the US mainly for the planned operation of Papa Diddi’s Ice Cream Company.
“Being a father to eight kids, who are all ice cream lovers, I thought it would be great to share with my own children my childhood experience of partaking my own father’s homemade ice cream,” Paul said.
“During summertime, we counter the heat with the luscious ice creams. I grew up, therefore, looking at ice cream as a labor of love and expression of gratitude for the farm blessings,” he recalled.
According to Paul, now that he has his own family, he wanted to do the same undertaking his father had. After being disappointed with the taste of local commercial ice creams and how expensive artisanal ice creams are, he ventured into his father’s passion, which is for making homemade ice cream.
“Working on homemade ice cream is like a bridge. It brings back so many good memories of rural summers of my childhood as well as it starts a new family bonding activity with my eight children. Indeed, making homemade ice cream has become a family affair – with my wife helping me select choice ingredients; with the big kids reading the recipes, and the small ones helping pour or mix the ingredients using their small hands,” he shared.
What makes Papa Diddi’s Ice Cream stand out is its use of ingredients outsourced straight from local farms. The vegetables used are from Nueva Ecija and Bulacan, the cacao is from Davao and Cagayan, the black rice is from the Mountain Province, the coffee beans are from La Trinidad, while the creamy carabao’s milk that serves as the base for his creations is from Majayjay and Magdalena in Laguna. The flavors are certainly creative, original, and organic.
Papa Diddi’s highlights its unique delights with the following flavors and inscriptions:
- Peanut Butter & Jelly – The kids’ favorite snack now turned into an unforgettable treat of ice cream.
- Mango Ginger – The country’s favorite fruit punctuated with ginger to make it a memorable flavor.
- Sweet Basil – An herb for many dishes is now an ice cream for many celebrations!
- Davao Meets Bicol – Davao’s pure dark chocolate meets its match with Bicol’s famous sili.
- Double Chocolate – The country’s most famous tableas: Batangas and Davao create a wonderful ice cream experience.
- Never Early for Halloween – Who would ever think squash can become a wonderful ice cream flavor?
- Roasted Strawberry – La Trinidad strawberries roasted to perfection.
- Tarragon – Used a lot for teas, but now made into ice cream.
- Sweet P. – Sweet potatoes ice cream: a flavor that entices everyone to come back for many times over.
- Roasted Forbidden Rice – Mt. Province’s famous black rice made into a signature flavor.
- Starry Surprise- Star anise is given a new twist as ice cream.
- Avocado Rhum- The celebrated avocado fruit mixed with a Philippine rhum.
- Minty Choco- Most ice cream lovers prefer a chocolate flavor. Adding natural mint into this, promises that they will be hooked for life.
- Dulce Gato- Cagayan Valley’s famous Dulce Gato made into ice cream.
Paul tries to come up with new flavors for his ice cream every two weeks. He makes small batches of ice cream for his shop with some help from his staff. He crafts ice cream daily at midnight to ensure its freshness and quality.
“Our ice cream base is made of carabao’s milk. I cannot think of any other base as this is what my dad used for his ice cream back then,” he said.
“I think the uniqueness of our flavors coupled with the use of real carabaos milk is eliciting positive responses. People find it pleasantly unique and one can taste the real flavors thus they come back over and over again,” he added.
Paul uses an average of 180-200 liters of milk per week for his company’s ice cream. For him, carabaos milk is perfect for ice cream as it enhances the flavors and brings out a very creamy texture.
One ice cream scoop costs Php59 and an additional Php20 for the next scoop. Diners can also choose to add toppings for only Php10 each, turn it into a cookie sandwich for Php95, or pile it on an “ice cream nest” for additional Php25.
Papa Diddi’s attracts customers from the cross section of society – from doctors to students, from office workers to home makers. As long as these customers crave for ice cream, especially if they are in Quezon City, they consider at once going to Papa Diddi’s to quench their craving.
Currently, Papa Diddi’s has 26 different ice cream flavors. Eight are best-sellers, among them are Dulce Gato and Double Chocolate.
This artisanal ice cream parlor, because of its natural ingredients and goodness, was also featured in various blogs and articles such as wheninmanila, spot.ph, choosephilippines, sulit.ph, looloo.com, walkandeatblogspot.com, misshapenidentity and others.
Papa Diddi’s menu varies from time to time since it depends on the time of harvest and seasonality of the ingredients. These variations, however, adds appeal to the product as it keeps customers being intrigued by the new flavors that Papa Diddi’s offer.
“From the get-go, we wanted to make ice cream using the freshest produce from the different farms, gardens and markets of the Philippines. This is very interesting, but we face a lot of challenges as we are dependent on the harvest. So, if typhoons come, our production schedule has to be adjusted,” he said.
Papa Diddi’s believes that education is the key to alleviating poverty. A percentage of its sales goes to book donations for local libraries in farming communities where the ingredients are sourced from, to honor his dad’s passion for reading and helping the community.
“It’s just my small way of paying tribute to my father who introduced me to the purity of homemade ice cream and who taught me to never forget the poor,” he said.
His family’s love affair for ice cream and sharing the blessings to the communities is expressed in the firm’s self-imposed exhortation of “Supporting Communities Out Of Poverty (SCOOP)”.
Aside from his ice cream shop, Paul also has a marketing consultancy business. He is also hoping to open more branches of Papa Diddi’s Ice Cream in the future.
“We are committed to become the best Philippine ice cream producer using only Philippine produce. This commitment pushes us to be always on top of our game,” he proudly concluded.