Samuel Wilkes Rolls Out New Business in Manila
Serving handcrafted ice cream in Bali, Indonesia since 2017, XOXO has now opened branches in Manila. “We opened here at Greenbelt 3 in October of last year,” says Samuel Wilkes, the New Zealand-born co-founder of XOXO. Dom Galeon of the Manila Bulletin gets the scoop.
“We have some good friends here. We love the Philippines – I come here a lot and it’s a great holiday destination. It’s a great holiday destination. We’re looking for –”
“Warm weather,” interjects Joana De Oliveira Wilkes, the other half of XOXO and Wilkes’ better half. Both are award-winning chefs who now live in Macau.
“Yeah, warm weather,” continues Wilkes, whose experience as a chef includes running a number of Michelin-starred restaurants. “It’s got nice people and a good tourist population that will appreciate this kind of concept. And the Philippines fits all of these criteria.”
XOXO’s unique appeal – its hugs and kisses, so to speak – is in how its ice cream is prepared. Instead of scooping ready-made ice cream and putting it into cups or cones, XOXO’s well-trained staff prepares the ice cream right in front of your eyes.
It’s a ritual, really. First, you stirfry – yes, it’s called stir-frying – a mixture of imported ROLLING, ROLLING KEEP ROLLING. Here’s an ice cream experience you don’t get to have everyday milk and cream, vanilla paste, high-quality milk powder, plus whatever flavour you want the ice cream to be, on an ice pan that’s about -20 degrees cold. Once the mixture is flattened, you roll it into semi-smooth ice cream.
Rolled ice cream, the couple says, is a concoction that originated from the night markets of Thailand. “But a lot of those in Thailand just put together whatever flavours they want,” De Oliveira Wilkes explains. “We offer more curated texture and flavours.”
Original article by Dom Galeon, Manila Bulletin, March 7, 2019.
Photo by Noel Pabalate.