Pastillas de Leche is one of my favorite Filipino sweets. I've grown up eating these creamy milk candies and, as some of our relatives live in Bulacan, I've gotten to know the consistency and flavor of the authentic versions of this delicacy. The original recipe of Pastillas only calls for the combination of reduced fresh carabao's milk and sugar. However, sad to say, many of the Pastillas de Leche that are sold in the market today are not authentic anymore. They usually combine condensed milk to the fresh milk to hasten the process of cooking the Pastillas or add powdered milk into the mixture to set the candy. More than that, they usually add preservatives as this delicacy does not really have a long shelf-life.
I've tried so many versions of Pastillas and, in my opinion, nothing could still beat the ones that are sold in San Miguel, Bulacan - the home of the original Pastillas. However, I live in Manila and it's pretty hard to travel to the countryside just to get a taste of this extraordinary candy. Hence, my search for the best Pastillas in town started.
I actually tried three of the best versions I know that are available in our local supermarkets: Ric-Mar's, Sitsirya's, and DVF's, and surprisingly, among the three, DVF's tasted the best. It was really a shocking revelation as the other two versions of Pastillas are made in Bulacan, whilst this one is from Nueva Ecija.
Hence, puzzled, I asked myself one simple question.What makes DVF's the best among the rest? Let's try to find that out.
Pastillas de Leche, Two Dozens (P 105.00)
The first thing that I looked into is the packaging. The traditional Pastillas that I've known all my life is usually placed in a plain gray box, and though this one's not really in a gray box, at least it's still boxed. Now, the problem with some Pastillas boxes is they have a distinct papery odor that seems to seep into the Pastillas, changing its flavor.
The difference with DVF's, however, is, although it was also packed in a box, the candies inside are wrapped in plastic to prevent them from getting that papery flavor from the box. Indeed, packaging is very important as it can mess up the taste of the morsels inside.
Aside from this, Pastillas de Leche is traditionally rolled in a sheet of white paper with Japanese paper overlapping the sheet, then tucked into the sides to seal the edges. This one follows the same packaging.
However, one interesting thing is, inside, the pieces of Pastillas are still carefully wrapped in plastic before the paper layer. I believe this really helps in retaining the flavor of the candies and preventing them from hardening due to moisture leakage. Whoever thought of packing it like this is brilliant!
But, of course, the true measure of the Pastillas is in its appearance, taste, and consistency. As you can see above, the color of this morsel is slightly darker than how it should be, but the flavor was really nice and light. This one's a true and authentic Pastillas, not because of how it looks, but because of its silky-smooth consistency and its soft and velvety texture, combined with a sweetness that's not cloying, and that unique carabao's milk flavor that's so subtly different from cow's milk. It's a luxurious version of Pastillas! Other versions can be a tad too hard, chewy, or even gummy, but this one has that melt-in-the-mouth consistency I always look for in a Pastillas. Never mind the color. I can eat an entire pack of this in one sitting. It's rich and creamy flavor is what makes this a really good deal for a price that's even cheaper than the commercial ones from Red Ribbon.
DVF Farms Kiosk
2nd Level SM North EDSA
(Beside Cinemas 5 and 8)
North Avenue cor. EDSA, Quezon City