There's A New Ice Cream Place You Have To Check Out

Hint: Mascarpone cheese on vanilla soft-serve.

IMAGE Ian Santos


If there's one thing we can learn from food fusions and other eccentric-but-delicious goodies, itâs that you should never throw away an idea, no matter how silly you might think it is. We wouldn't have gotten Cronuts, sushi burritos or, the particularly inspired brainchild of a group of friends from South Korea: Tiramisu soft-serve ice cream from Seoul-based cafe Kiss the Tiramisu.


It all started when this group of friends from military school thought, "What if we make tiramisu into ice cream?" shares Shirley Vy, who brought the dessert cafe from Hongdae, Seoul to Makati City. The seemingly simple question has now spawned a global franchise, with branches not just all over South Korea but also Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Canada, and now, the Philippines.


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It's tasty, it's light, it's an easy-to-make dessert.


A quick online search reveals that Kiss the Tiramisu is something of a pop-culture phenomenon in South Korea, spawning massive queues in all their branches, and several TV features, too. You might think tiramisu-flavored ice cream is nothing new, but Kiss the Tiramisu does their version with flair. Instead of putting the ice cream in cones or ordinary cups, the soft-serve comes in gold-rimmed plastic goblets that you can take out of the store and reuse. "From the presentation, it was love at first sight for me," says Shirley. "We had to get these goblets all the way from Korea. It might seem a little extra, but that's actually just the tip of the metaphorical iceberg.


Original Tiramisu


Imagine your regular tiramisu cake. How do you transform it into a creamy soft-serve? You donât need alchemy or magic, but for Kiss the Tiramisu, it also isn't as simple as flavoring your vanilla soft-serve with coffee and chocolate and calling it a day. Instead, the Original Tiramisu (P265) is picture-perfect layers of vanilla ice cream (made only with milkâno water added), mascarpone cheese, mocha and chocolate cookie crumble, coffee sauce, and dark chocolate shavings. Itâs all the elements that make tiramisu what it is, but in a new delightful form.



In a glass where lots of great things are meshing well together in one sweet symphony, the mascarpone cheese still stands out as the one element that binds everything together and brings it to new heights. It makes the vanilla soft-serve richer, thick but also melt-in-your-mouth smooth. It adds a subtle pinch of saltiness that elevates the sweet chocolate and cookie crumbs, and makes you realize this is the reason why salted sweets were invented.




Kiss the Tiramisu takes a great thing and riffs off it with the Matcha (P285), which has almost the exact list of components as the Original Tiramisu, only replacing the coffee sauce with matcha sauce and adding a fine dusting of matcha powder, too. The result is the no-fail combination of earthy green tea with sweet dark chocolate, plus of course that rich mascarpone cheese.




Of course, no Korean dessert cafe is complete without their favorite delicacy, injeolmi or sticky rice cakes dusted with roasted soy bean powder. If you've never had the classic Korean flavor before, the nutty flavor of the Injeolmi (P265), with injeolmi balls, roasted soy bean powder, and roasted soy bean sauce, is at the very least interesting. If you like your desserts sweet and savory, you'll find this more than enjoyable.


Aside from their three signature flavors, Shirley and chef-slash-food consultant Kat Diploma shares that theyâll be introducing seasonal variants to the menu soon, using more local flavors. "We're thinking ube or leche flan," shares Chef Kat. It's something to be excited about, but one taste of their Original Tiramisu, and you could find yourself only thinking about when you'll be able to get that vanilla soft-serve-mascarpone-cheese fusion again. And again.


Photos by Ian Santos


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* Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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