I think it would be fair to say that halo-halo is to the Philippines what gelato is to Italy. Halo-halo (mix-mix or mixed in English) is a refreshing dessert which is a blend of shaved ice and evaporated milk topped with various sweet beans, jelly and fruits, and served in a tall glass or bowl.

I remember that as a child, I would save my pocket money so that I could go to one of our many neighbours who made and sold halo-halo. It was just the thing for a hot and humid day.

Halo-halo is a popular treat served at parties in Filipino homes, both in the Philippines and abroad. Until recently, it was one of the things I missed most here in Rome. There are a few Filipino restaurants here which serve halo-halo but only occasionally, and even when they do it can be expensive.

But now I can make my own halo-halo when I want! Last Easter a friend from Manila visited me and brought me an electric ice shaver. I was delighted for it was the missing ingredient that I needed to make my own halo-halo. Even though the toppings and evaporated milk were widely available in Rome, I could not find any shop that sold an ice shaver so you can imagine my delight when my friend asked if there was anything I wanted from Manila.

Since then, I have been making halo-halo not just for me but also for my friends in seminary. Today, I even made some for my Italian tutor who loved it, though I have to say I struggled just a bit to describe in Italian what halo-halo was made of. I think I may have started a craze in Rome!

Now, fingers crossed all that halo-halo won’t make me fat(ter).

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