The Marco Polo Plaza Hotel in Cebu held its 10th edition of Sabores de España. The 10-day food festival of authentic Spanish cuisine was featured in the buffet of the hotel’s Café Marco for lunch and dinner.
Since its inception in 2007, the fest has been the most frequented and the top revenue earner of the “culinary journeys” the Marco Polo embarks on throughout the year.
Opening night was a well attended fiesta. Instead of a ribbon cutting, a large jamon serrano was sliced up by general manager Julie Najar, honorary consul of Spain Anton Perdices, president of Amigos de España en Cebu Amparito Llamas Lhuillier and the festival’s consultant Gema Luisa Pido.
For the opening, Gema devised a menu that was served tapas-style, dispensed in small stalls with the corresponding labels. There was Paella, Croquetas, Tortilla de Patatas and more.
For the regular buffet at Café Marco, Gema had cured several hefty legs of pork into delicious jamon en dice, culled from a treasured family recipe. It took over a month, and the results were delicious.
That opening night, Myra Gonzalez was welcomed by almost everyone with hugs and kisses as it was her birthday. “We should have prepared a cake,” Julie told Myra’s sister Margot Larrañaga. As it was, there was quite an array of Spanish desserts.
Forming a lively cluster with Amparito were Rosebud Sala, Paqui Aboitiz, Quina Melendez, Maria Pilar Escaño and her daughter Ana Maria Escaño.
The hotel was well represented by resident manager Xavier Masson, executive chef Stafano Verrillo; sales and marketing director Lara Constantino Scarrow; communications manager Manna Alcaraz, her assistant Yvonne Silva; Jude Pangan, Gemma Baz; and Joward Tongco, manager for restaurants, bars and events.
Among those present were Maripaz Perdices, honorary consul of Sweden Cheling Sala and wife Susan, Dr. Nestor Alonso, Julius and Nelia Neri, Chinggay Utzurrum, Mila Espina, Cookie Newman and Joanna Cuenco.
Congratulated were Future Trade’s Visayas and Mindanao manager Ritsky Anlagan, and sales account manager Erika Ceniza, for setting up a beer bar. They were concocting some high-gear cocktails with energy drinks.
For us, the less adventurous, there was fruity sangria with lots of ice, and the usual goblets filled with either red or white wine.
To further liven the evening, the Dance Sport Team Cebu presented a spirited rendition of the famous Spanish pasodoble “España Cañi.” Ole!
The next culinary journey of the Cebu Marco Polo will concentrate on the Philippines and coincide with the celebration of Philippine Independence Day on June 12. Jessica Avila, the hotel’s consultant for Filipino cuisine, is planning something imaginative.
In June, the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) will celebrate Cebu Business Month with the usual fanfare. Two of the key events will be held at the ballroom of the Marco Polo.
The first is on June 16 with the annual Tourism Forum, chaired by Julie Najar. Then come the Grand Chamber Awards on June 30. Hands on are Melanie Ng, current CCCI president, and her predecessor Tess Chan, the only women to head the CCCI since its founding in 1903.
Wine store expands
Bibendum Wines has opened a new branch at the second level of Streetscape in Banilad, at a small mall close to the gates of Maria Luisa Estate Park. Its owner Margie Richards Taylor hosted a well attended inaugural.
It was a wonderful opportunity to try out several of the top quality wines the shop offers, plus its line of deli products: cold cuts and sausages, and an assortment of cheeses, including brie from France and manchego from Spain.
Patrons may choose to stay within the airconditioned shop or in the verandah with its comfortable lounge chairs and sofas.