I’ve always wondered why some good food products in the province haven’t found their way to Manila.
The sweet, small Ormoc Queen pineapple, for instance, can be bought only in Leyte. The creamy durian of Makilala, Cotabato, is not available elsewhere, and so is the etag (air-dried pork) of the Cordilleras.
It’s a delight that young people have started to look for foodstuff in the countryside, taking what is good out there to their fellow city folks.
Stephen Co did just that with his Nipa Foods, which makes cashew butter from the nuts of producers in the countryside. Because he is young and would like to appeal to his age group, Stephen also has a craft microbrewery which makes Tropic Haze and the other liqueurs from marang fruit; mead (fruit fermented with honey); and lipote, a fruit related to the duhat and makopa usually made into jams.
These constitute a sampling of the products to be featured at the MaArte 2015: Craft, Art, Food & Design Fair. A project of the Museum Foundation of the Philippines, the three-day festival will run at Rockwell Tent, Aug. 28-30, 10 a.m.-10 p.m.
The organizers have chosen exhibitors that produce unique products and help out artisans, as well as projects by nonprofit community livelihood organizations and start-up entrepreneurs.
Sisters Mylene and Coleen Huengfeld serve Spanish
specialties like the Pamplona chorizo they make themselves. They have come home after living in Spain, and now do other kinds of sausages—chistorra, butifarra, morcilla and diablitos —under the name Calidad Española.
The sampling they recently presented included tortilla de patata (potato omelet); hojaldres de chistorra (sausage wrapped in pastry); and lentejas de chorizo de Pamplona (lentils with sausage).
Meanwhile, two brothers, Marc and Johann (no family name included), decided to brew ginger ale based on a beverage recipe from a book their mother bought 30 years ago. Stanford and Shaw Ginger brew turns out to be a refreshing drink for these muggy days, and always fresh because its short shelf life is indicated on the bottle.
Although quinoa is a grain native to Peru, Colombia, Ecuador and Bolivia, it’s now embraced as one of the world’s healthiest foods. Holy Cow Holistic Farms has included it in its salad mix, flavored with tinapa, kesong puti, tomatoes, arugula, sweet basil and hard-boiled eggs.
The company has several farms in Baguio, Laguna and Batangas that practice holistic and biodynamic farming. It also offers a guyabano chia cooler with all the health benefits those ingredients provide.
While salted dried fish and smoked fish have been part of traditional Filipino food, these have been presented in different ways abroad.
Lick the Spoon, through its chef Arnold Bernardo, has bottled tuyo, immersed in oil or tomato sauce, as well as tinapa, giving these ordinary food items a gourmet touch.
The bread-and-butter pudding of La Cocina de Tita Moning, located at the Legarda ancestral home in the San Miguel district of Manila, shouldn’t be missed. Its homemade queso de bola spread and salsa monja add life to bread and crackers. Suzette Montinola has kept alive the recipes of her grandmother, Ramona Hernandez Legarda.
Gourmet Garage, on the other hand, had a whole layout of cocktail pickings—tapa, bola-bola, lumpia. The company is known for its catering services and its shop at Subic Freeport. Its founder is Menchu Lopez and its chef is Booj Supe.
Kyra Dy’s Art of Pie will surely offer, among others, its Caviar Pie, the green tea pistachio cream puff, and the rosemary pecan multi-seed crackers.
If these food items seem high-end, it is because of the overall conscious effort of the MaArte Festival to stand out of the ordinary. The accessories on sale are art pieces; the fans are cool in more ways than one; and the bags are designed to really be upscale while using native products.
For food, it’s both in the cooking and in the presentation, as well as its ability to keep up with health trends.
The festival, indeed, will be a feast for the senses. And what’s great about it is that everything is produced and designed by Filipinos.