(Originally posted on December 21, 2014, “Wildflour’s Farmacy Introduces Soda Fountain Concept to Metro Manila” by Gela Velasco and Pam Santos in Pepper.PH, www.pepper.ph/new-food-now-the-farmacy)
Not everyone’s childhood memories involve drinking from soda fountains or sharing milkshakes with friends like Archie’s gang, but fizzy soft drinks and American-style banana splits do hold a familiar taste and sense of nostalgia to some. Whenever we think of a 50’s diner, we remember red vinyl seating, cheap neon lights and most of all, tall clear flutes holding thick milkshakes or a bubbly concoction topped with ice cream. Thankfully the guys behind Wildflour have opened The Farmacy Ice Cream and Soda Fountain, which not only serves an array of traditional ice cream flavors but also those classic milkshake and soda favorites.
Enter the Farmacy’s narrow space and you’re instantly welcomed by the smell of fresh, homemade ingredients. Behind the bar is a medicine cabinet with a build that harks back to the days when sodas and ice creams were served in pharmacies during the Prohibition Era. “Soda fountains originated from pharmacies,” Allen Buhay elaborates. “It was part of the whole prohibition era, when alcohol would be hidden in the ice cream.” Although The Farmacy makes no promises about their ice cream or soda healing any ailments, the various comforting ice cream flavors, classic sundae combinations, and other sweet treats are sure to leave you feeling fuzzy inside. Their traditional ice cream flavors include chocolate, hazelnut, strawberry, pineapple, melon, blueberry, black sesame, and butter pecan, among others. They also have a quirky selection of flavors such as Moonshine, Lemon Curd with Blueberry Topping, and Gianduja.
“If you notice, our ice creams don’t offer any fancy or weird mixes,” owner Ana de Ocampo tells me. “When you taste it, you know exactly what it is. Everything we use here is from fresh fruit. We try to go away from the processed stuff,” Ana continues. The ice creams are not only healthier than the usual fare in supermarkets and fast food chains, but also made fresh daily. Ice cream batches are made daily in the store. We don’t have a commissary; it’s all done here.” Ana assures us.
Berry Float (PHP 255)
Take a spoonful of their Banana Split and your palate will be spoiled by the balanced sweetness of the strawberry and vanilla ice cream. The whipped cream isn’t too thick and adds a light texture to the scoops of ice cream underneath. If you want to indulge in chocolate, we suggest finishing off the Rocky Road Sundae. The Farmacy elevates a well-known combination by mixing chocolate ice cream with roasted almond, homemade marshmallows and shards of dark chocolate. The marshmallow wasn’t too sticky or thin and melted instantly in our mouths. The roasted almonds reminded us of almond roca, but served with the warmth of an in-house made treat.
The ice cream’s balanced sweetness comes from using the fruit’s sugar. “Most of the sweetness is from the fruit,” Ana explains. “We try to stay as natural as possible. We don’t use (anything) artificial.” The same care and quality is assured in the rest of their offerings: “We don’t scrimp on ingredients. You’re served good chocolates. The hazelnut and pistachio provide the best taste for those ingredients.” Despite the concept being American in origin and in nature, other ice cream flavors are made from locally available fruits such as pineapple, guava, and watermelon. “These are flavors you don’t normally have in other places,” Ana says. Parents may find a sweet and effective way to introduce more fruit to their children’s diets.
Even their sodas are homemade and promise the full on taste of each fruit. You can drink up the fruity sweetness of melon, pineapple, vanilla, calamansi and even guava. The ice cream floats, such as the Very Berry Float (PHP 255) assaults your palate with the soda’s light spritz and the ice cream’s fruity goodness. One sip of the Very Berry Float immediately tickles your tongue with the blueberry soda, while treating you to the thickness of the strawberry ice cream. Other float options include classics like the Vanilla Coke Float and the Rootbeer Float. Customers are also free to mix and match their favorite ice creams and sodas according to their preferences.
The Farmacy isn’t just a place for families and friends to gather come brunch time. Late into the night and early into morning, you can sober up to an ice cream sandwich or have a little more alcohol with any of their Farmacy After Dark drinks, which include a Rum and Coke Float and Guiness and Vanilla Ice Cream. If ice creams are too sweet for your liking, dates are free to chill out a little over a cup of coffee or a thick, warm cup of Matcha Green Tea.
Whether you’re partying into the wee hours of the morning, craving for some old fashioned sundae, or feel like taking out the family on a Sunday, the Farmacy is sure to serve a treat. We can’t promise a longer life after you’re tempted to indulge in every ice cream, but you’ll have certainly lived fully after each try.