God is really good. My mom just turned 88 last Jan. 8. And to mark her birthday each year, my family and I throw her a party in thanksgiving. But that’s the easy part.
More and more, I find it difficult to put something new on the buffet spread, to excite the same old well-wishers and visitors.
Thanks to the suggestion of former Candaba Mayor Jerry Pelayo, we had sashimi for a change this year.
A caterer does the service. The tuna was flown in from GenSan and prepared right before the guests.
The tuna meat was sweet, soft, meaty and fresh. With every bite was a gentle hint of the sea. It was sheer perfection.
People paid little attention to anything else. The tuna sashimi spread was the star of the feast.
The tuna sashimi package came with a chef who sliced the fish, whichever part of it the guest fancied. The chef was bright enough to keep the belly tucked away in the cooler, to make sure everyone would get one’s fair share of it.
Wasabi, calamansi, soy sauce and chopsticks come with the service as well.
All you need to provide are plates and a table. Make sure to set it up outdoors. In an enclosed room, the experience will turn out to be fishy rather than fresh.
Everyone was surprised to learn that the whole thing was priced quite reasonably, P350 per kilo (minimum of 20 kilos, which will serve approximately 40 persons).
Considering that the service had to haul in the fish and send someone to prepare, the fee was a good deal, especially since the guests loved the treat.
Aside from tuna, salmon may be served by the caterer. (Three days’ lead time required; tel. 0906-5126979.)
After enjoying sashimi, the palate must be cleansed and there’s a new liqueur in town that does the job splendidly—Manille Liqueur de Calamansi. It tastes fresh and very refreshing when served shaken with ice.
It is made with a vodka base using the fruit rinds, which is why it is flavor-packed and zesty, yet goes down easy.
It is very Filipino, using the ubiquitous calamansi, which gives it a fancy, sophisticated twist.
I can’t wait to cook with it, too. I want to have a pan-fried white fleshy fish, cooked with a bit of butter and a splash of Manille Liqueur de Calamansi.
Manille is “an all-natural product using calamansi fruit from Mindoro, the calamansi capital of the Philippines,” the brand label says. “There are no added flavors and preservatives while only natural plant pigment is used to enhance the liqueur’s color.”
“In the production of Manille,” the label adds, “the company extends its support to the Mindoro calamansi farmers and an indigenous Mangyan community in Tugdaan. Organic calamansi grown in the Tugdaan mountains of Mindoro are handpicked every morning by the Mangyan farmers and carried down on foot to the processing plant located at the foot of the mountain.”
Because of the product’s fair trade aspects, and that it’s a good product, I’d be very proud to give it as pasalubong on my trips.
It not only tastes good but also comes in a pretty package.
Destileria Limtuaco president Olivia Limpe-Aw explained the inspiration behind the new product.
“In my business meetings with potential importers and distributors in various countries, they always ask, ‘What can you offer us that is unique to the Philippines?’
“Quite honestly, I didn’t have anything that was uniquely Filipino then. So I vowed to develop something the Philippines could be proud of.”
In 2002, after two years of R&D work, Destileria Limtuaco & Co., Inc. launched Paradise Mango Rum Liqueur, a natural fruit-based liqueur made with world-renowned Philippine mangoes and premium aged rum. “I thought of putting together two things the Philippines is known for, our mangoes and, being a sugar-producing country, the rum base for the liqueur,” said Limpe-Aw.
Paradise Mango Rum Liqueur was a hit. It has received local and international awards.
In 2008, then Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap took note of the success of Paradise and asked Limpe-Aw to consider developing other products based on local crops.
The result was Amadeo Coffee Liqueur. (Amadeo, Cavite, is the coffee capital of the Philippines.) It is made of four kinds of coffee beans from the Philippines: Arabica, Robusta, and the Excelsa and Liberica beans of the local barako coffee.
Destileria Limtuaco should be commended for coming up with a stellar line of specialty liqueurs and craft spirits that are proudly Philippine-made. Congratulations!
For orders, call Oliver So, 0922-8564036 or 0918-9794241. Visit https://cmcestore.convoymktg.com.
Binondo food and culture tour
In celebration of the Chinese New Year, I, with tour guide Carlos Celdran and geomancer Aldric Dalumpines, will hold a culture tour of Binondo. Eat, cook, learn and shop with us. Call 0917-5543700, 0908-2372346 or 4008496, 9289296, 9273008.