Saturday, May 22, 2021

Carmen's Best Ice Cream: The Story Behind Each Pint, Each Scoop and Each Indulgent Bite

What's the real secret behind one of the best ice cream brands in the country? It all begins with the finest ingredients. That means, the best quality fresh milk, real pistachios from Sicily, premium chocolate from Switzerland and prized vanilla beans from Madagascar. And a clear, single-minded vision. Take a closer look behind the brand through the words of its trailblazing founder, Paco Magsaysay...

Each flavor from the local ice cream company's growing portfolio has a story drawing inspiration from the travels of its founder, Paco Magsaysay. It's these experiences that formed the foundation for the success story that would become Carmen's Best Ice Cream. But the story of Carmen's Best began with an unexpected opportunity, how to deal with excess milk from their family's Laguna-based dairy farm. For Paco, the answer was crystal clear. Ice cream. And the rest, they say, is one of the inspiring and best stories yet from the pioneering ice cream brand that continues to innovate and lead the way with one indulgent pint and scoop at a time.   

"I want to prove that our local ice cream is just as good, if not better, than more well-known international brands."

"Paco, can you help me sell the milk or do something with it?" That was the question and challenge of Paco's dad, and what happened next became became the very first chapter in a story told and enjoyed time after time with each pint. It's been said countless times before that necessity has always been the mother of invention. The story of Carmen's Best Ice Cream began with a creative inspiration to address a problem that soon became an opportunity. But it was Paco's vision that provided both depth and a sense of purpose for the brand. "During all my travels growing up, there was one thing I always had to tryćƒ¼Ice cream." Paco recalls the pistachio almond fudge and butter pecan flavors while living in the US, memories that became Paco's benchmarks in establishing his brand. It's these fond experiences from abroad that motivated Paco to create world-class products with Carmen's Best. In the beginning, the opportunity and timing was almost serendipitous, but it's Paco's uncompromising vision that clearly steered the early years of Carmen's Best to where it is today. 

"Quality means taking no short cuts and getting no substitutes for the finest ingredients. Very simply, that is the secret of Carmen's Best."

And it all begins with the finest and freshest cow's milk. Real, pure and all-natural fresh milk and nothing less, directly sourced from contented New Zealand Holstein dairy cows exposed to the soothing symphonies of Bach and Beethoven at the family's Real Fresh Dairy Farm and Laguna Creamery Processing Plant (for more on the family's dairy farm, see my earlier post, At The Source of Carmen's Best's Freshness at Real Fresh Dairy Farms from five years back). "Our milk is never spoiled, but our cows are," shared Paco. And ice cream made from 100% fresh cow's milk and cream delivered daily at dawn from the farm makes all the difference in each pint of Carmen's Best. Rich and silky smooth draping the palate with an indulgence like no other, it's what sets Carmen's Best apart from the usual commercial options.

"We create only the best ice cream you would share with your loved ones."

Ice cream, like most comfort food, is best shared and enjoyed with family and friends. And Paco insists on serving only the very best. Enjoying this frozen treat becomes an intensely personal and extremely happy moment. Imagine how feel with your favorite ice cream flavor and you get the picture. And to be the best, one has to learn from the best. 1n 2013, Paco enrolled at the Pennsylvania State Ice Cream School where he earned the much-coveted Phil Keeney Award setting the stage for Carmen's Best Ice Cream's uncompromising commitment to quality and journey to ice cream success. 

"I dream of coming up with a world-class ice cream that's made in the Philippines and sold in different countries."

Named after Paco's only daughter, Carmen's Best reflects deep family ties that bind the brand with a wholesome and unrestrained character of enjoying the pure and simple pleasures of ice cream with loved ones. "Another brand name would have made a sense of detachment. You can do whatever it is you want but not with this one. When it is your only daughter's name there is a different attachment to it. It is more personal," explained Paco. 

Carmen's Best Ice Cream is now regarded as one of the country's finest ice cream brands, served on PAL's Business Class flights to the US, Canada, UK and Japan. And during the Papal Visit back in 2015, Pope Francis enjoyed Carmen's Best Ice Cream's Malted Milk and Brown Butter Almond Brittle on his flight back to Rome. A satisfied smile and nod of approval from His Holiness clearly reveals the many milestones of Carmen's Best Ice Cream and how far Paco and his dedicated team has taken the local brand in a story that continues to unfold and inspire one indulgent pint at a time. Today, Carmen's Best Ice Cream boasts of unique specialty flavors like I Love You S'mores, Strawberry Cheesecake, Pralines and Cream, Coffee Almond Fudge, Madagascar Vanilla, the wittingly-named He's Not Worth It, Rocky Road, Vietnamese Coffee, Hokey-Pokey, Cereal Milk, Brazilian Coffee and so many more in its treasured vault of masterful ice cream creations. What began as simply finding a way to make use of excess milk has taken Paco and Carmen's Best on a flavorful journey of creating world-class ice cream delighting customers both here and abroad. 

But Paco isn't one to rest on his laurels. As Carmen's Best firmly establishes its position in the premium ice cream category, opportunities loom in niche markets for new product offerings. One of these is J & M Naughty & Nice Cream (named after his two sons, Jaime and Mikey), a specialized alcohol-infused ice cream targeted to the young above-18 market sold only in single-serve cups and the other is Arctic Ice Cream, a value line positioned to institutional accounts such as hotels, restaurants and catering or Horeca. Carmen's Best continues to evolve and adapt with a changing and increasingly competitive market, and J & M Naughty & Nice Cream and Arctic Ice Cream places the flagship brand in a strategically advantageous position to respond to specific needs and requirements while enhancing the brand equity and image (for more on J & M Naughty & Nice Cream by Carmen's Best, see my posts, Naughty & Nice in Black with J & M Naughty & Nice Cream by Carmen's Best and Reinventing the Basics: Carmen's Best Brings Quality and Value with Their New Value Line, Arctic Ice Cream on their new value line, Arctic Ice Cream on the blog). 

"When I look back, I realize how fortunate we were in surviving the past nine years. It's truly a combination of hard work, persistence and luck."

Carmen's Best Ice Cream, along with its two new brands, is once again on the path to blazing new trails built on their rock-solid promise of quality. Like Carmen's Best, both J & M Naughty & Nice Cream and Arctic Ice Cream use only the finest ingredients including pure, all-natural fresh milk from the family farm. It's this promise and trust gained by Carmen's Best among discerning consumers that goes behind the label of the two new brands. The quarantine experience presents a whole new set of challenges, transforming our daily routine as new consumer habits emerge like dining at home, the rise of the food delivery culture and increased online usage. The new normal is unlike any we've experienced before, forcing all food businesses to adapt, pivot and evolve to stay relevant. But the flipside to any crisis is an untapped opportunity for those willing to make a move. Like all other industries, the impact on the food sector has been both drastic and sweeping forever changing the culinary landscape. The new normal requires creative new way of doing things, and Carmen's Best is right there responding to the requests and demands of their customers.

"The last several months truly tested how tough we were as a team. The lockdown made us think of selling our ice cream a different way. It forced us to look for a new way of reaching our customers." 

Carmen's Best keeps in step with the times by tapping the rising food delivery culture for its wide range of specialty products. Opening new channels of distribution is a constant priority at Carmen's Best, including non-traditional food delivery options via GrabMart, FoodPanda and Pick-A Roo to provide consumers more accessibility as well as supplement their innovative Community Programs with community resellers. Online presence and mobile banking transactions are now part of the daily operations of Carmen's Best. 

But there's no better way of getting acquainted with a brand like Carmen's Best Ice Cream than to experience it first-hand with a pint, a scoop and a bite. The proof is always in the pudding, after all. Available only in pints, Carmen's Best is made the old-fashioned way. For artisanal ice cream like Carmen's Best, that means small batches of ice cream are produced. For ice cream purists, a pint or two is all you need.

The Strawberry Cheesecake by Carmen's Best transforms a classic dessert into a luscious and decadent ice cream experience with its rich cream cheese ice cream base blended with crushed Graham crackers and drizzled with tart strawberry syrup for a unique and elegant ice cream experience.

Think of it as your favorite dessert, frozen and reimagined by Carmen's Best. And one scoop just won't cut it. Don't hold back and reward yourself with generous scoops and experience dessert in a whole new way with Carmen's Best. It's innovative flavors like this that makes Carmen's Best special and endeared the brand to its loyal customer base.

From the vibrant tartness of the strawberry swirls to the contrasting texture and deep flavors of the graham crackers draped in the smooth ice cream, it just doesn't get better than that. 

For lovers of caramel, this is perhaps the best variation available in the local market. Candied pecans and indulgent caramel syrup combine with vanilla ice cream to satisfy your cravings with the Pralines and Cream by Carmen's Best.

The delicate and mildly sweet notes of candied pecans blend seamlessly with the golden swirls of thick caramel with the vanilla ice cream completing yet another memorable ice cream experience. The first bite brings the bold notes of sweet caramel to the palate, followed by textural contrasts and distinct flavor of pecans rounded out by the smoothness of the vanilla ice cream made from Madagascar vanilla beans. It isn't all about sweetness, there's depth and a complex weave of flavors with each bite. 

The Pralines and Cream by Carmen's Best highlights the use of premium ingredients once more, validated with each scoop and bite and the ice cream maker's art behind each flavor. "Each ice cream is made from the bottom up. How we choose our ingredients is based on taste and not on profit margin," explained Paco. 

The aptly named I Love You S'mores takes you back to carefree childhood summers and the outdoors with its rich blend of chocolate syrup, toasted mallows and Graham crackers with smooth vanilla ice cream. 

The inclusion of nostalgic flavors in Carmen's Best's impressive portfolio underscores the genuine love of Paco for ice cream. It's been said that one of the reasons we love a certain flavor or dish is that it triggers fond memories, transports you to another place or takes you back in time. And Carmen's Best does that well.  

That first bite is immediately comforting and nostalgic, elegantly finished with its creamy texture. And this is where using 100% pure and all-natural cow's milk makes all the difference.  

As the ice cream slowly melts and drapes the palate with its decadent richness, the lingering mouthfeel brings moments of pure happiness. The ice cream experience is elevated and transformed, and the use of the finest premium ingredients makes the case for Carmen's Best.

Uncompromising in its commitment to quality, the use of premium ingredients remain at the very core of each product from Carmen's Best. And soon, consumers will discover the same passionate commitment to quality with their two new brands, J & M Naughty & Nice Cream (more on my post, Naughty & Nice in Black with J & M Naughty & Nice Cream by Carmen's Best) and Arctic Ice Cream (more on Arctic Ice Cream at Reinventing the Basics: Carmen's Best brings Quality and Value with Their New Value Line, Arctic Ice Cream). The secret behind Carmen's Best? That's simple. Real ingredients for real flavors. And when your only daughter's name is on the label, you just won't accept anything less.

If Paco Magsaysay decided to follow in his dad's footsteps and embarked on a political career, we would have seen one of the best statesmen leading the country. But then, we won't be enjoying a pint of what could be one of the best ice cream brands in the country. And the world even. "At the end of the day, we choose the life we live. We live a short life. I choose to do what I want to do, not what other people expect me to do," says Paco. For the successful artisan ice cream master, it was clear right from the start when his dad asked for his help on what to do with the excess milk from the farm. And for loyal fans of the brand, it's the story we all love to experience time and again with each pint, scoop and bite... 

For more on Carmen's Best, visit their website at You can also visit their FB Page and IG Feed at and @carmensbest for more information and updates. 

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