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the big idea
by hannah m. muralla
THE EXPERIENCE of eating ice cream will not be complete unless served in a cone, from the more fancy sugar and waffle cones to the simple thin, orange ones peddled by the local sorbetero. It seems that the lone reason for the existence of the edible cone is to make it possible to conveniently lick the sweet treat that delights people of all ages.
Businessman Dondi Oñate, however, doesn’t think so. Inspired by a craze that he saw on a trip to Europe, his company recently introduced Amazing Cones, a trilogy composed of gourmet pizza cones, soft serve ice cream and ice slush, all packed for every individual on-the-go.Pizza in a cone
We’ve seen a number of pizza innovations through the yearsm but the pizza in a cone may just be the most innovative yet. It is a crusty cone filled to the brim with what would have been pizza toppings. Pizza in a cone, the forerunner of the Amazing Cones trio, started in Italy. “They were thinking of how they could serve pizza with functionality – that they could eat it while walking and eat it in other places than in their restaurant, and it’s not as messy. When we saw that product in in Europe, we adopted it. And now, we’re actually the first ones to bring it to the Southeast Asia,” Mr. Oñate said.The dough is specially formulated to be malleable enough to form a cone without cracking, and without a hole at the bottom, making it dip-free at all times. Its fillings range from the classic favorites like pepperoni, Hawaiian, garlic and cheese, to the novel chicken fajitas and longganisa mushroom.
In addition to his product’s functionality and convenience, Mr. Oñate also said that a single pizza cone is more filling than an ordinary slice of pizza. “A regular sized pizza is approximately 82 grams, while [the amazing cone] is at 120 grams,” he said.And because his company strives for innovation, new fillings will be introduced quarterly. “We are not limiting ourselves just to pizza fillings. Soon, we’ll have chicken hot pie or chiken ala King, because you can stuff [the cone] with whatever you want. And then we’ll have dessert cones like apple pie or mango cheesecake,” Mr. Oñate said.
All in all, he promises that digging into the pizza cone is an experience that is totally different from just eating an ordinary slice of pizza.
Swirls and Ice
Completing the amazing trio, are the soft-served ice cream and ice-slush. The former, called Amazing Swirls, is vanilla ice cream with various flavors lining only the edge of the twirls. The flavors come in brightly-colored syrups, and ice cream aficionados can mix up to three flavors to satiate their individual tastes.Family Business
Amazing Ice, on the other hand, is the company’s novel approach to the crushed ice dessert commonly called ice slush. Instead of the usual flavors offered in the market, Filipino favorites such as buko pandan, halo-halo, sgo’t gulaman, buko lychee and mais con hielo are at the helm of Amazing Ice. Mr. Oñate assures customers that only the freshest fruits and ingredients are used in the drink, some sourced directly from the family’s farm in Lipa, Batangas.
Viewtron Digital, Inc., owned by Mr. Oñate’s family where he is also the vice-president for operations, is originally into advertising, particularly on the nontraditional media. Along with their nontraditional advertising business, the Oñates also ventured into the food business, still anchored on their mind-set for innovation. Among the restaurant they’ve opened are Mr. Dimsum, which served Oriental-inspired cuisine in a Western setting, and Cucina Bacolod, a restaurant which serves Ilonggo-Visayan food-specialties. Amazing Cones is the family’s fourth venture in the food business.“I was the one who really wanted to go into food and then my younger brother became a chef, so he handles the research and development side of the business,” Mr. Oñate said. As an entrepreneur these days, Mr. Oñate said that it is important to strive for new items, and to be a leading innovator.
“We want to be the first, that’s what we strive for,” Mr. Oñate said. The first Amazing Cones store is located at No. 11 Doña Hemady St. Brgy. Valencia New Manila, Quezon City (632-7241402).