June is Filipino heritage month, and one downtown bakery is celebrating with new Filipino-inspired menu items.
The Night Baker, located in Downtown Toronto, is well known by locals and tourists alike for their out-of-this-world cookies. Owned by Filipino-Canadians Mitch and Leanne Cabrera, the pair will be celebrating the month by rolling out five Filipino-inspired items over the next few weeks.
We spoke with Mitch about the new items customers can look forward to seeing on the menu this month, and what it means for him to celebrate his Filipino heritage with others.
What Are The New Cookies On Your Menu Going To Be?
Over the coming weeks, The Night Baker will be adding five new Filipino-inspired cookies. The first is their Coco Pandan cookie, which is one of their most popular. Pandan is a fragrant leaf that is commonly used in desserts in the Philippines.
Mitch describes the cookie by saying,
“The outside is an almond cookie flavoured with pandan with coconut cream filling.”
The second new addition to the menu is their Sans Rival cookie, inspired by a Filipino cake of the same name. It’s an almond cookie with cashews on the outside and cashew cream filling on the inside.
The third is a cookie called the Queso Royale, which is a cheese cookie with yema custard inside. It’s based on the Filipino dessert yema, which are basically custard balls sprinkled with sugar.
They are also bringing in a popular cookie called the Milo Cyrus, which is made using Milo, a chocolate powder that you add milk to that is common in southeast Asia.
The final cookie being added for Filipino heritage month is the Mango Tango, which uses dried mangos from the Cebu region of the Philippines and has condensed milk as well as graham crackers.
Other Filipino-inspired items on the menu
These five new cookies in honour of Filipino heritage month aren’t the first Filipino-inspired items on The Night Bakers menu. Since 2019, the bakery has sold its popular Ooh Bae cookie, which uses Ube, a sweet purple yam from the Philippines, as a key ingredient.
“Ube is really popular in the Philippines and now it’s getting popular worldwide,” Mitch said.
The first time that Mitch and Leanne made the cookie was back in 2017 for a Christmas party.
“That year we went to the Philippines and we came back with a ton of ube products that ended up just sitting in our pantry. So my wife Leanne was looking at it and thought to try to make something with it. So she experimented with it and on the second or third try we had the cookie that we now sell,” Mitch said.
The cookie then went on the menu in 2019. Mitch said that it took so long to get on the menu because ube was not as popular back then as it is now.
“When we were opening our store we thought we should do something unique. So we put out that flavour and we were really surprised. When people came to our store and tried it, it became our most popular by far from the beginning,” Mitch said.
How does it feel to be able to spread your culture in your own way?
“It’s a great source of pride for sure. I find that Filipino cuisine is underappreciated because it’s not mainstream yet. What we really wanted to show that there are so many things that come out of our culture and heritage and we really wanted to share it with people,” Mitch said.
The Filipino-inspired items will all be available by June 12, which is Philippines independence day. The Night Baker will be rolling out each item one week at a time leading up to that day, but hurry! They’ll only be around for a limited time.