The upcoming 25th anniversary of the Festival of Philippine Arts & Culture (FPAC) expected to be one of the highlight events of the Filipino community in Southern California. Filipinos look forward to FPAC’s cultural offerings and entertaining shows, which encapsulates the Filipino-American way of life.
Regarded by many as the biggest Filipino cultural party in Los Angeles and SoCal, “FPAC25: Samu’t Sari Showcasing the Diverse Creative Tapestry of the FilAm Community” will take place on Saturday, Oct. 8 , at the Echo Park Lake in Los Angeles. Admission is FREE. The theme expresses diversity in terms of the Fil-Am artists’ contributions to the creative tapestry of Los Angeles.
Aside from the art shows and performances, festival-goers are also excited for the gastronomic fare that FPAC has to offer. And this year, one of the featured food vendors is The Ensaymada Project.
Ensaymada is one of the most popular Filipino pastries found in almost any Pinoy bakeshop. It is a fluffy brioche-like treat usually garnished with grated cheese, butter and sugar on top. The Ensaymada Project takes it one step further by perfecting the craft and making the artisanal ensayamadas deliciously different.
FilAm Arts social media guru Nicole Arca recently caught up with The Ensaymada Project’s founder and owner Chari Heredia-Reyes at the recently-concluded Smorgasburg LA. During a candid interview, Heredia-Reyes talked about all things ensaymada, and then some.
FilAm Arts (FAA): How did you come up with the idea of the Ensaymada Project?
Chari Heredia-Reyes: We usually know that it’s just cheese, and you want something homemade because Ensaymadas are always homemade. So we created it. And the reason why it’s called the Ensaymada Project is because it’s always evolving – there’s always something new. It’s ongoing.
FAA: Was ensaymada something you made often before you started EP?
CHR: It’s something we made every Christmas. It’s a very tedious task, not something I can make everyday and it was a lot of preparations and I really don’t know how it became a staple everyday – it’s just a lot of work, year round.
FAA: How do you come up with all the flavors?
CHR: You wanna keep it as a traditional as possible. You don’t wanna veer away too much. I always say it’s still 80 percent Ensaymada. When you bite into it, you know the distinct taste of the yeast – but then there’s a bit of a twist to it, a light flavor. I say 80 percent because it’s 20 percent different and it’s not overpowering or too sweet. [People] always buy a dozen, and if you turn them off with something too sweet, they’ll never move by the dozen. But they do move by the dozens.
FAA: You’ve been getting a lot of media attention! How does it feel?
CHR: It’s so surreal. I never thought it would go this big – I was always hidden in the house, and peop le would come find me. I always wonder, How do you find me? I know it’s social media now. The power of tagging and hashtags.
FAA: So is the official hashtag, #butterbuns?
CHR: Actually, it started off [like that]. It’s very hard to introduce the word “Ensaymada” so we used “butter bun first” – and once people got used to it, because it’s self-explanatory – “What is an Ensaymada?” It’s a butter bun! And then we gradually moved back to the original.
FAA: What are you excited about for FPAC?
CHR: I’ve never been there! And you know, I wanna see the faces and reactions of people when they see that there’s something more than the cheese ensaymada. And I’m going to create some surprises – introduce new flavors – and I hope you guys are just as welcoming!
Catch The Ensaymada Project, alongside numerous other Filipino caterers and restaurateurs at FPAC!
FPAC is a free event; no admission is needed for entry. FPAC is sponsored in part by the: National Endowment for the Arts, California Arts Council, California Council for Humanities, LA County Arts Commission, City of LA Department of Cultural Affairs, LA City Council District 13 Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, Toyota, McDonald’s, Western Union, AARP, LA-18, The Filipino Channel / ABS-CBN, Asian Journal (and others).
For more information, please visit www.filamarts.org or call (213) 380-3722. For sponsorship and vendor opportunities, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.