MANILA -- Halva is a treat you don’t see in Manila. Sumsum aims to make this Middle Eastern confection a healthier alternative sweet snack.
Halva comes from the Arabic word “halwa” which means candy. The halva that can be found at Sumsum is the nut butter type which is made from Ethiopian sesame seeds. The seeds are ground to make tahini and then mixed in with other ingredients to get its distinctive texture, flavor, and sweetness. Halva is packed with calcium, iron, vitamins and amino acids.
Sumsum, which means “sesame,” is originally from Amsterdam. The founders were inspired from their travels in the Middle East and Africa to offer a colorful and flavorful variety of sesame delights.
It was the connection of the people behind Felafel Yo! to the founders of Sumsum that brought the concept to the Philippines.
“Weird thing is, growing up in Israel, I didn’t like halva," Yuval Mann, CEO of Israeli Foods Concepts Inc., admitted.
"And when I tried Sum Sum, it was different. The texture, the flavor and the right kind of balance with sweetness and the other ingredients with it. I really enjoyed it. Living in the Philippines for quite some time now, I knew this would be something that the Philippine market would like. Filipinos are now adventurous with food and they love contrasting flavors.”
The store displays the halva as big solid blocks that resemble massive loaves of bread. While the pricing is set per 100 grams, the minimum purchase is 300 grams. Sumsum’s staff slices the halva as it is ordered.
The recommended way of eating halva is to cut it up into bite-sized pieces and nibble away. While it can be enjoyed as is, it is a great companion to coffee, tea, milk, cake, or ice cream.
Back in Amsterdam, Sumsum has over 40 flavors. Locally, seven flavors are being initially offered. Basic flavors include Cacao, Coffee, Dark Chocolate, and Pistachio. The slightly more expensive variants are Pecan and White Chocolate, Berries, and Triple Chocolate.
Five more flavors are set to grace the Sumsum shelves soon. There are also plans to bring other products Sumsum offers abroad such as jarred tahini, bars and cured tea.
Sumsum can be found at the ground floor of One Bonifacio High Street at the Bonifacio Global City.