Showing posts with label gift. Show all posts
Showing posts with label gift. Show all posts

PONPON Artisan Polvoron Cookies

I’ve written about this before, but one of the good things that has come out of COVID are the number of new entrepreneurs that have left their jobs to become a boss and push their talents. During the holidays, I love to support local artisans and find joy when I’m able to introduce a friend or family member to a new company. Hence, when Laine & Lola reached out to see if I’d like to see what they had in store for the holidays, I enthusiastically agreed. They have come a long way from selling the confections through William Sonoma in Yorkdale Mall as a pop-up brand in 2018 – they have earned their own permanent location in Vaughan!

A PONPON is Laine and Lola’s take on the Spanish polvorón cookie that also gained fame in former Spanish colonies like the Philippines. Polvorón descends from the Spanish word polvo meaning dust, which you’d think is a strange for a cookie… until you bite into it. Something that feels and smells like shortbread shatters in your mouth coating it with a blast of buttery sweet crumbs. Yet, it doesn’t simply melt, thanks to the finely ground puffed rice and nuts mixed into the batter, a crunchy texture finishes off the treat.

Their four-piece box format (all $9.99) is great for wrapping up as a casual gift for co-workers or add on as a stocking stuffer. Two flavours will be a part of every box: chocolate and original. The original flavour seems to have gotten sweeter than I remember, or it could be another factor of getting order - I once thought it wasn’t sweet enough but now it’s perfect. Of all the flavours, if you like the butteriness of shortbread this is where you’ll find it. Even the plainer chocolate cookie isn’t as buttery - it’s somehow lighter than the original – that squiggle of melted Lindt chocolate seems to temper the butter.

The other two cookies in the classic assortment are cookies & cream and cappuccino. For those who want a lighter PONPON, the cookies & cream is like the original except lighter on the butter and heavier on the sugar. Both my husband and I agreed the cappuccino is a winner for us – for an otherwise plain looking cookie this really packs a punch. It’s almost like having black coffee with sugar as you’re immediately greeted with an earthy coffee flavour that has a slightly bitter and acid bite to end.

I’m a little surprised that even the chocolate lover’s assortment still contains an original cookie - I would have thought it’d be substituted for something purely chocolate based. Nevertheless, the other two PONPONs that round out the box are a chocolate cookie topped with berries and one created to resemble a smore. Meanwhile, the fiesta assortment is so fun and is great for party favours since the two different PONPONs are adorned with festive rainbow sprinkles and multi-coloured chocolate crisps.

Yet, it really wouldn’t be the holidays without holiday cookies – in this case, cinnamon and peppermint chocolate. Both are delicious: the cinnamon is reminiscent of having a gingerbread person and the peppermint chocolate could be Laine & Lola’s version of an After Eight. Perhaps the holiday cookies were more made recently, but I enjoy their formulation better – there’s less of the puffed rice so there’s only a hint for texture allowing the PONPON to become creamier.

Aside from the PONPONs, Laine & Lola also offers gift baskets. Teaming up with The Pretzel Dough, they created the deluxe chocolate bomb set ($49.99), which includes an assortment of their cookies, uber crispy and surprisingly light chocolate dipped pretzels, a chocolate bar, a candy cane, and a chocolate bomb filled with their polvorón cookie. All this wrapped up in a soup mug that’s convenient for staying cozy in the winter or warming up milk for the chocolate bomb.

Their chocolate bomb ($8.99) goes a step further from the traditional marshmallow and sprinkles to include pieces of their chocolate PONPON as well. Once melted into hot milk, it breaks open and creates an all-in-one cookie with hot chocolate combo. This was my first experience with a chocolate bomb, and it reinforced my first belief of the product – it is great for the Gram but really isn’t the best for drinking.

Once you get the (oat) milk hot and throw the bomb in, the chocolate is so large that by the time it actually breaks apart to release all the hidden marshmallows and cookies, about 30 seconds, it cools down the milk quite substantially. Despite doing a thorough stirring, I was still left with a lot of melted chocolate at the bottom of the cup. The best way to make this – for taste purposes – would be to throw the bomb into the hot milk while it’s still in a pot, keep stirring until everything is melted and then pour into a cup. Give up the Gram and go for taste instead.

Elaine pays homage to her lola (a.k.a. grandmother) in the name of her company. It was Elaine’s lola who introduced her to PONPONs and eventually passed down the recipe to her, which she ended up jazzing up to make so many unique flavours. It’s such a heartwarming story that is a great reminder during the holidays that nothing is more important than spending time with loved ones. Whether it’s baking cookies together or skipping the work and turning to PONPONs instead, we all need less screen time and more IRL experiences.  

Thank you, Laine & Lola, for all these delightful confections. I loved sampling the new flavours and sharing them with friends. Laine & Lola are also providing all GastroWorld readers 25% off sitewide. Just use the promo code GASTROWORLD at checkout. Happy holidays!

Disclaimer: The above meal was complimentary. Rest assured, as noted in my mission statement, I will always provide an honest opinion.

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 Address: 2316 Major Mackenzie Drive West

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