An elite family baking business is taking the plunge, and after more than 30 years of refusal to go commercial, is currently negotiating for a distributorship of their products in Metro Manila.
The family baking business was started by Ju.D Lao, the Philippines Fruitcake Lady, who prepared a recipe using only the freshest ingredients and no additives, with careful methods of baking and a few secrets up her sleeve to prepare the most famous Fruitcake in the Philippines that is catered to by the crème de la crème of Philippine society.
Every Christmas Ju.D's maids would be thrilled to see leading celebrities knocking on their door to buy her fruitcakes. At one time they had a surprise visit by the security guards of a politician at 4 a.m. Ju.D's family was afraid they were kidnappers. Then they heard one of the security talk on his phone and say, "Boss, wala na silang fruitcake."
The fruitcake for over 30 years made Ju.D a celebrity all her own, hosting a slot in a cooking show in Taiwan (where she is even more famous than in the Philippines), the author of two books on vegetarian cooking, and a popular guest on local television programs during the yuletide season.
She was adamant about going commercial. She was content being creative, creating the world's first fruitcake cookie, the Chewie Chewkie, and when the Starbucks craze hit the Philippines, Ju.D created the world's first coffee fruitcake, Ju.D Blue, with Blue Mountain coffee from Australia specially selected by her, and the added touch of Kahlua coffee for extra zing.
She has prune cake fruitcakes and cranberry applesauce fruitcakes, too. She hired out of school youth whom she taught the nuances of baking her fruitcake, and the unused ingredients like eggshells and eggwhites were donated to convents and orphanages. The egg whites were used by the nuns to make meringue, and the eggshells were used by the orphans to fertilize the soil where orphanages plant their own vegetables.
Ju.D's implacable nature kept her business to herself for more than three decades. Then her daughter Jamie came in to add recipes of her own - a line of cookies at student prices. The cookies included Ichigo San, Petit Fours, Savory Cookies, Classic Chocolate Chip, Almond Chocolate Chip, Food For the Gods, and New York Peppermint, among others.
Jamie's gingerbread cookies is where she first learned to innovate. She wanted a nice gingerbread tang to be experienced right in the middle of the cookie. But she found that the younger gingerbread had the best effect, and that was what she chose.
She has her mother's gift for baking and innovation and with this new distributorship, it looks like bigger things will finally be in store for the Philippine Fruitcake lady. To kick off their new direction, which is expected to start next year, Ju.D launched a contest where they are giving away 10 free fruitcakes. The contest is ongoing until Dec. 15. For details go to http://www.facebook.com/judsfruitcakes. To place orders, call Ju.D at 633-1188 or 6330260, or visit her at 50 Greenmeadows Ave., Q.C.