Pavino's Bakery, a local, long standing panaderia in Lucban makes the best local cookies and breads this side of Mount Banahaw. I have been ordering Pavino's specialties for many years and made sure I dropped by on my last visit to Lucban.
While broas (ladyfingers) is the specialty of the house, I much prefer Pavino's other cookies most specially their very thin and crisp apas -- golden brown, sugary and utterly addictive.
The camachile cookies, shaped like the camachile fruit, are also very good and have a slight buttery taste. Pavino's sells these cookies -- the broas, apas and camachile in both plastic packs and tin cans.
All the baking is done on-site, right behind the storefront. There are trays of fresh baked bread and cookies that give off a maddeningly delicious aroma.
I am wracked with indecision as I view the variety of breads and pastries lined up on the counter -- ensaimada, cheese rolls, butter cake slices, brownies, native rice cakes like espasol, puto ... I want to buy everything I see!
In the end, I stock up on packs of pinagong, a Quezon specialty. This bread is so called because its shape mimics a turtle's shell. Pinagong is a dense, compact type of egg bread that's rather heavy but utterly divine. Heated in the toaster oven and slathered with butter, it makes for a filling breakfast treat.
Pavino's and I go a long way back. For more than fifteen years, they have been the source of Christmas gifts that I give to just about everyone ... friends, family, officemates, clients, suppliers, neighbours, etc.
I always order their apas -- those thin, crisp, sugar dusted cookies. They come in gallon tin cans which Pavino's wraps in colourful Christmas wrappers.
Maligayang aPasko ... salamat sa Pavino's!