A Nice Surprise from Matti’s Bakeshop

A few months ago, Vanessa messaged me that she was coming over, and that she was bringing cake.

I don’t remember where I met Vanessa. It was probably at one book signing or another. She loves to read and likes to write. Somehow, we always kind of kept in touch, at least on social media.

A few months ago, she said that she was coming to visit, and that she was bringing cake.

Turns out that she had moved to Pampanga, where she was helping her sister with Matti’s Bakeshop. Named after her nephew, Matti’s Bakeshop is located in Jumbo Jenra mall in Sinadlan, Pampanga. It was set up by Vanessa’s sister, Matti’s mom.

The bakeshop is quite popular in the area. It’s a bit more upscale in terms of variety, ingredients, and design than the locals are used to, but that’s part of the draw.

Vanessa can usually be found minding the kiosk, but this doesn’t mean that she’s given up writing. In fact, in a way, she’s doing more of it.

People who buy cakes and pastries sometimes ask Vanessa to write dedications and love letters, and she is only too happy to oblige.  Her prose has gotten couples together, mended fights, and drawn friends closer. It’s also gotten her a fan club.

Vanessa doesn’t charge anything for the letters. It’s all part of the service.

She and her brother Malds dropped by to give me a carrot cake and some cupcakes. The carrot cake is delicious. The icing is cream cheese tart, just the way I like it. The cake is dense and moist. I would have liked a more carroty flavor, but I know that I’m a minority in this case. Needless to say, the cake didn’t last long in our house.

This is a little late, but I’d like to thank Vanessa for the lovely surprise. Those delicious pastries fuelled many a writing marathon.

And if you guys ever find yourselves in Sindalan, Pampanga, drop by Matti’s Bakeshop for a cupcake, or a whole cake. Look for Vanessa and have her work her magic on the cake’s dedication.

You’ll be glad you did.


Yvette Natalie U. Tan is a multi-awarded author of horror fiction and the Agriculture section editor of Manila Bulletin.

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