Inside the Cold Stone branch at Serendra. Photo: Handout
MANILA, Philippines – Twenty signature ice cream concoctions are offered at the first Cold Stone Creamery store in the country, which is located at the Serendra mall at Bonifacio Global City in Taguig.
The first branch of the American ice cream chain was launched in a by-invitation event on Thursday, where guests were made to sample Cold Stone’s treats for free.
Not surprisingly, Cold Stone’s Chocolate Devotion was a hit among chocolate-loving customers, according to the store's staff. The dessert featured rich chocolate ice cream mixed with a generous amount of chocolate chips, brownie and fudge and scooped into a freshly made waffle cone or bowl.
Also popular were Founder’s Favorite, which includes sweet cream-flavored ice cream loaded with pecans, brownie, fudge and caramel; Our Strawberry Blonde or strawberry ice cream with graham cracker pie crust, white chocolate chips, strawberries and banana; and Apple Pie a la Cold Stone, or French vanilla ice cream with apple pie filling, graham cracker pie crust, cinnamon and caramel.
Cold Stone's Chocolate Devotion (left) and Founder's Favorite. Photo: Handout
Other signature creations are inspired by cake, such as All Lovin, No Oven (cake batter ice cream with cookie dough, fudge and whipped topping); Birthday Cake Remix (cake batter ice cream with rainbow sprinkles, brownie and fudge); That’s How I Roll (cake batter ice cream with pecan, yellow cake and cinnamon); Cheesecake Fantasy (cheesecake ice cream with graham cracker pie crust, blueberries and strawberries); and The Pie Who Loved Me (cheesecake ice cream with Oreo, graham crackers and fudge).
There are also the coffee-infused creations such as Coffee Lovers Only (coffee ice cream with roasted almonds, Heath bars and caramel); and Mud Pie Mojo (coffee ice cream with Oreo cookies, peanut butter, roasted almonds, fudge and whipped topping); and those using mint such as Cookie Minster (mint ice cream with double Oreo cookies and fudge); and Mint Mint chocolate Chocolate Chip (mint ice cream with chocolate chips, brownie and fudge).
Cold Stone's Mud Pie Mojo. Photo: Handout
Michael McGill, president of international at Kahala, which owns Cold Stone, said the store can come up with 11.5 million combinations of ice cream and mix-ins, which lets them cater to different tastes.
For ice cream alone, Cold Stone’s branch at Serendra offers 22 flavors: cake batter, French vanilla, cotton candy, caramel latte, dark chocolate, salted caramel, cheesecake, mint, lemon sorbet, pistachio, pineapple sorbet, orange dreamsicle, chocolate, strawberry, raspberry sorbet, peanut butter, banana, coffee, sweet cream, mocha, strawberry mango sorbet and butter pecan.
Salted caramel was especially popular among adults. Not surprisingly, cotton candy was ordered by most kids during the launch.
Mix-ins, or treats that can be blended with the ice cream, are also aplenty. The store offers anything from candy bars and chocolate (Butterfinger, Kit Kat, M&M’s, Reese’s peanut butter cups, Heath bars, Oreos, chocolate chips, sprinkles and gummy bears) to nuts (pecans and roasted almonds), fruit (apple pie filling, coconut, banana, pineapple, blueberries, raspberries, cherry pie filling and strawberries), and other sweet treats (brownies, fudge, yellow cake, caramel, graham cracker pie crust, cinnamon, peanut butter, cookie dough and whipped topping).
To give it a local feel, Cold Stone also included dried mango and the choco-nut candy Hany in its list of mix-ins.
Also on offer are ice cream cakes, where customers can choose from Cold Stone’s signature creations, or come up with their own.
Cold Stone's Strawberry Passion cake. Photo: Handout
Although it is not the first to offer Filipinos ice cream mixed on a chilled granite slab (Australian-based Cold Rock Ice Creamery was ahead by several years), Cold Stone banks on it being a “super-premium” ice cream brand, performing staff (who sing to Cold Stone-customized songs while doing stunts such as ice cream flipping), and takes advantage of the exit of the high-end Haagen-Dazs franchise in the Philippines last year.
The American ice cream chain is set to open a second branch at the SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City in June, and is targeting to put up at least ten stores in the next five years.
Cold Stone faces stiff competition from fellow ice cream parlors such as Morelli's and Swensen's, and other imported ice cream brands such as Ben and Jerry’s. There is also Selecta, a joint venture between Concepcion-led RFM Corp. and Unilever, which continues to dominate the ice cream business in the country.
The market has also seen the entry of several “artisanal” ice cream makers as kiosks in malls and weekend markets, giving Filipinos more sweet options. Among them are Bono, Sebastian’s, Carmen’s Best and Merry Moo.