I USED to dread receiving fruitcakes. This is because giving fruitcakes is, I believe, a Western tradition that does not quite fit the Filipino culture. Somehow, the taste of fruitcakes does not quite fit the Filipino palate, so rare are Filipinos who genuinely like fruitcakes—and I am not an exception. But the fruitcake of Ju.D Lao made me change my mind about fruitcakes. When I got to taste her fruitcake a few years ago, I fell instantly in love with it and knew that, now, there is one fruitcake that I truly love.
Ju.D Lao, who has been making artisan fruitcakes since 1975, has formulated her fruitcake to suit the Filipino taste. It is moist and flavorful, and each bite will tell you that much thought and effort has been put into the fruitcake. Apparently, the Filipino palate is shared by the Philippines’ other neighbors in Asia, including Taiwan, where Ju.D Lao became a celebrity because of her fruitcake and even hosted a TV show for a while.
When I first tasted Ju.D Lao’s fruitcake and decided that it was the best in town, I did not know her personally. A friend, culinary expert Nancy Reyes Lumen, gave me my first one. The following year, it was Mona Sabalones Gonzalez, a colleague in the publishing industry, who gave me one. Then it was my PR friend Nana Nadal who sent me not one but an assortment of Ju.D Lao fruitcakes. I would meet the fruitcake queen in person not too long after, and she became a friend. I featured her fruitcakes and her, personally, quite a few times not just in this weblog but also in a few of the publications that I contribute to.
This year, Ju.D Lao herself sent me a box of her fruitcakes. It’s a box of eight mini fruitcakes that come in four flavors which she has worked hard to perfect—Classic Fruitcake, Ju.D Blue, Ju.D Gold, and Prune Fruitcake.
Classic Fruitcake is her signature fruitcake, whose regular loaf size sells like hotcake during the Christmas season, with orders coming in as early as October each year. It is the original fruitcake baked with the finest ingredients and aged to perfection. It took some six months to perfect, since, back in the late 1960s and early 1970s, she did not have many cookbooks to refer to, and definitely no Google to research on.
Ju.D Blue, which took a long eight months to perfect, is a coffee-flavored fruitcake that draws its unique coffee aroma and taste from Blue Mountain Coffee. It is aged with Kahlua Coffee Liquor to make its flavor more distinctive.
Ju.D Gold, a light golden-hued fruitcake, combines apricot and cranberry and is baked with honey and orange.
Prune Fruitcake, as its name implies, is an exotic mixture of prunes and coffee, thus creating a fruitcake that is a class of its own.
My husband Raff and I enjoyed one set of Ju.D Lao’s fruitcakes, and I sent one set to my sister Swanie, who, like me, is not a big fan of fruitcakes but simply adores Ju.D’s fruitcakes.
Whether in regular loaf size or in mini versions, Ju.D’s fruitcakes are beautifully wrapped, with each fruitcake sealed individually for hygiene and presentation, and then packaged in a specially designed box with Ju.D’s embossed signature on it.
The thing about Ju.D Lao’s fruitcakes is that they are delicious and beautiful at the same time, so that they are ideal to serve on the Noche Buena or Media Noche table and at the same time perfect to give away to family and friends. They are packaged to impress, and when you open the box, you won’t be disappointed with the content, either. They also taste better as they age. Fruitcakes last for years. Ju.D’s is no exception. One customer kept a fruitcake he bought from Ju.D for seven years without refrigeration. The fruitcake queen recommends, though, that her fruitcake be wrapped with a cheesecloth (or greaseproof paper) and sealed in a Ziploc freezer bag before storing it in the refrigerator. The rum and brandy in the fruitcake will preserve it
While the bulk of the production of Ju.D Lao’s fruitcakes is confined to October to December, she makes it a point to keep a few pieces of Classic Fruitcake on hand for customers who want to have it between January and October. For orders of eight or more pieces of fruitcakes during the off season, Ju.D requires an order of eight or more and asks for three weeks to age them properly.
For inquiries and orders, call (+632) 6331188, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit 50 Greenmeadows St., Quezon City.