From the numerous posts on food bloggers’ feeds, to the long queue you have to endure to get your hands on them – La Merienda’s ‘ube queso pandesal’ (purple yam and cheese bread) seems to have taken Bahrain’s foodie Instagram by storm!
Pandesal is the quintessential bread roll of the Philippines; it is soft and fluffy and covered with breadcrumbs. La Merienda’s version of the classic bread has an irresistible flavor profile and an IG-worthy presentation. Just recently, we had the chance to talk to Maria Veronilla, La Merienda’s owner to know more.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself? What inspired you to create “La Merienda”?
My name is Maria. I am 25-years-old and I’m the owner of La Merienda. ‘La Merienda’ started from my love for cooking and baking. The ube queso pandesal along with the other pastries I bake, used to be my meriendas (snacks).
When was the first time you remember baking?
I guess I was in 10th grade. I started baking chocolate cupcakes from scratch through the help of YouTube videos and online recipes!
What is so special about your “Ube Queso Pandesal”?
The whole thing is special since everything was made from scratch. However, what stands out most is my homemade ube (purple yam) filling.
The yam requires time and patience to get the right consistency. It takes me around 40 to 60 minutes to cook the ube itself. Even my bread dough took me 20 tries to perfect!
There are a lot of home bakers in Bahrain offering their products at the moment, what makes you stand out from the rest?
Creativity and passion. I try to revive and recreate old recipes and give them a twist as much as possible. The goodies that I come up with in La Merienda are actually inspired by either what I have enjoyed eating in the past or something that is underrated in the market. I’m looking at what everyone else is doing and I do the complete opposite.
I do my best to be different, daring and inspirational.
Do you have any tips for aspiring bakers?
No one is born to be a great baker, one learns by doing. Experiment on old recipes and try to recreate them with your personal stamp. You’ll never get bored when you try something new since limitations only exist if you let them.
Where can our readers purchase your products?
My products are currently available at Foodlab in Riffa and Indulge in Arad, Muharraq.
On a different note, where is your favorite place in Bahrain and why?
Zallaq. I grew up here and I love how tranquil the place is. It’s like the perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city, plus, I love the beach!