Hindy Weber-Tantoco has always been a strong advocate of organic food. She put up Holy Carabao Holistic Farms with good friend Melanie Teng-Go seven years ago to promote organic farming in Laguna, Batangas and Benguet.
They practice sustainable, holistic, biodynamic agriculture to produce safe, natural and nutritious food for the family.
“We realized that most of the food in the markets were manufactured in a factory, manipulated or compromised with the use of toxic chemicals, synthetic additives and preservatives,” says Tantoco.
Holy Carabao now distributes organic veggies and even packaged goodies, such as wild honey, grass-fed meats, free-range poultry and eggs, fresh specialty juices, rice, coconut sugar, artisanal dairy and chocolate, oil and vinegar, jams and preserves, and even toxin-free household cleaning products.
“Our aim is to offer food you can trust because, these days, even if there’s an organic label on the package, you’re not really sure if it’s true,” says Tantoco. “At Holy Carabao, we ourselves are the farmers. We plant, grow and harvest the produce ourselves.”
Tantoco’s Holy Carabao is only one of the 40-plus participants/merchants in the Gourmand Market, a weekend selling of an eclectic mix of food and drinks, hard-to-find cooking ingredients, artisanal meat products, kitchenware, dinnerware and local gift items.
Gourmand Market will be held March 27, 28 and 29, 11 a.m. till midnight, at C1 Park, Bonifacio High Street Central (fronting the cinema building), in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.
It is organized by friends who love to travel, eat good food, and look for all things innovative and new: Dara David-Roa (from Collab Contessa events firm), Julia Morales (owner of monogrammed home accessories brand Oliver & Maude), Dong Ronquillo (marketing director for Uniqlo Philippines) and Trish Panlilio (of the famed nawwTy’s Kitchen catering).
“We often see this kind of gathering of foodies abroad,” says Roa. “It’s so vibrant and beautiful as it showcases new produce and interesting food finds. We want to come up with something similar for the Manila foodies because we know they are ready. They are hungry for the best food venue to sell their stuff.”
“We are carefully curating our merchants because most products to be sold are not commercially and readily available; most are homemade,” says Panlilio.
Foodies will have a field day enjoying truffle-flavored popcorn (Truffles and More); Nutella-stuffed peanut butter cookies and homemade apple jam cookies (The Baker Bros); old-fashioned mini Bundt cakes with mouthwatering toppings, such as whipped cream cheese, chocolate ganache, dulce de leche and candied nuts (Bundt and Brûlée); brownie crunch, with flavors like triple chocolate, peppermint, salted caramel and roasted cacao nibs with chia and flaxseed (Snack Box); bocaditos with wild mushroom and spicy Italian sausage fillings (Anitali); smoked salmon caviar pie, chicken spanakopitas and herb-crusted chicken pot pie (Art of Pie); gourmet sausages, with saffron, jalapeño, caramelized onion and mozzarella variants (The Butchery); and all-natural, homemade farm-fresh products from Bukidnon—butter, white cheese, yogurt and fresh milk (The Dairy Farm Manila).
For specialty beverages, there will be unique blends of coffee from different regions here and abroad (Slurp Coffee), and white wines made from locally produced honey and fermented drinks from fresh fruits (Nipa Foods).
For kids, there’s Mister Fluffies organic cotton candy. This gourmet cotton candy, with no colorants and preservatives, has 29 fruity and floral flavors, including coconut, lychee, rum, rose, kiwi, chocolate and grapes.
Panlilio’s nawwTy’s Kitchen will provide homemade comfort dishes (crab fat paella de marisco, prime roast beef and crispy pata), and her famous herbed butter logs with thyme porcini, lime peppered jalapeño and smoked paprika with bacon variants. Panlilio will also set up her flower stall called The Lavander Porch.
There will also be nonfood items, such as photography and printing for home and kitchen décor (Pursue and We Canvas), and kitchen essentials produced by Gawad Kalinga beneficiaries—placemats, loose bottles with chalkboard labels, trays, napkin holders, vegetable baskets, etc. (Domesticity).
For Holy Carabao, Tantoco will bring the farm to the city, so to speak. There will be live farm animals like goats, chickens, bunnies and piglets, so that kids can interact with them.
“We want families to connect back to where their food comes from,” says Tantoco.