It’s that time of year again when one faces a happy problem—what to give the people you love. Go ahead, feed them with love and lechon. Pamper them with praises and paella.
More fab finds for foodies of all ages:
For lechon lovers
If Thanksgiving is turkey, a Filipino Christmas is lechon. The latest craze to hit our lechon-eating world is Dedet de la Fuente’s stuffed lechon. Her Piggie International is German lechon stuffed with potatoes and roasted garlic; Chinese lechon is stuffed with a machang-like concoction; the French version has truffled rice—yes, truffled lechon is a reality. The Filipino lechon comes with dinuguan stuffing.
These are not spit-roasted but oven-baked on charcoal, so they are a little smaller than the usual lechon but definitely bigger than lechon de leche. The upside of her cooking style is that the skin comes out amazingly crunchy, with a perfect line of fat simmering underneath. 0917-8660662.
If you can’t handle that big a size, there is always the ever-reliable cochinillo from Cirkulo for P5,950. This is more in the traditional Spanish style. Tel. 8108735.
Another way to pig out in style is with Michelle Dee’s Christmas ham. At P850 a kilo, it’s not your regular ham. Tel. 8920688.
Then there’s Joy’s Swiss Ham (Tel. 5242891 or 0919-466 7769). The sauce is a little on the too-sweet side but the ham is delish.
Since you can’t exactly bring lechon to the office, here are some sweets that are guaranteed to impress:
For the fashionista friend. The Sweet Life by Ange became famous for her frozen brazo and later on for her stylish cupcakes. But she also has these Couture Cookies that are perfect little treats for your most fashionable girlfriends. She has Chanel bags, Louboutin shoes—you can probably even ask her to make a cookie with your favorite designer for you. Find her on Facebook at “The Sweet Life by Ange” or order at 8150188 or 0917-8238198.
For the kids. Treats for your best friend’s adorable children may come from Double Delights. They make polvoron—but not your ordinary polvoron. These are designed with kids’ favorite characters, from Winnie the Pooh cast to the more current Angry Birds. Facebook.com/doubledelights or order at 0919-4286320 or 2963720.
For the kids at heart. If the kids have the character-topped polvoron, adults who know that looks don’t (necessarily) matter may instead order the Buttery Polvoron of Dial K for Kitchen. These are deceiving as they come in the form of balls, but you are guaranteed a treat as they melt in your mouth in milky, buttery delight! 0908-8733855 or 0919-2355446.
For the dessert snob. What do you give someone who has tasted it all? I bet that someone hasn’t tried Atelier 317’s Pumpkin Ginger cake. This cake is not too sweet and is beautifully moist. 0917-8308393 or 3847064.
Another not-so-common treat is Mara de la Rama’s flourless truffle tort from her brand Dessert du Jour. Everyone has been ordering the Tres Leches, but she also highly recommends this cake as a great Christmas gift because it travels well and is only P800. 0917-8116272 or 8069511.
Bittersweets for my sweet
As with life, sometimes bittersweet is the better sweet. Like when cake is cooked with rum! Mary Ann’s Kitchen makes a very good rumcake. 7213639.
Then there’s the great bitterness of coffee! Nestlé recently launched an affordable version of the Nespresso, the Dolce Gusto coffee machine line. Check out the red or white Piccolo machines, which sell at only P3,999, or the Circolo (comes in grey), which is only P6,999. See dolce-gusto.com.ph.
For the romantic. If you are out to win someone over, you must order something from Sweet Bella. Cakes here will melt the heart of even the sternest boss or mother-in-law. I’ve been in love with her Strawberry Charlotte since 2007 and the romance is even better now that Sweet Bella has its own place at the Fort. The Strawberry Charlotte is P1,700; the Mango Charlotte is P1,500. Visit Sweet Bella at the Fort: 29th cor. Rizal Drive, Burgos Circle, Bonifacio Global City. But best to order ahead through 8468243. They require three days’ advance notice.
For those who want Lola’s cooking: Of course, I will rave about my own lola Nana Meng’s Tsokolate. Every Christmas table must have this! It comes in paste form so it is easier to mix and has a toasted, nutty aftertaste. Give all your relatives a bottle with matching batidor and demitasse cups. This goes well with pan de sal and kesong puti, which may also be ordered at 0917-8339539.
One man who cooks like a loving grandmother is Chef Ed Quimson. He makes an amazing Filipinized paella which uses tinola! Flavors are subtle yet definite—signature Ed Quimson. Order Chef Ed’s Paella Tinola from his new catering business M Cuisine and Fine Food at 0917-8426000.
For the wine lover. You can’t go wrong with Terry’s Selection’s latest selections of vino. Get a Chateau Clarke 2007 or a Chateau Clarke 2001 and you will be sure to impress even the snootiest wine lover! Available at Terry’s Selection at Pasong Tamo Extension.
For the cheese lover. Be international yet remaining local with Malagos cheese! Olive Puentespina from Calinan, Davao City, makes the most amazing European cheeses like Chevre, a soft cheese, and aged Pepato. These are available at Rustan’s Gourmet to Go at Rockwell and Rustan’s Makati. (And while you’re there, check out the other creations by Beth Romualdez, as well. Cheat on that potluck dinner and just buy her cooked food from the deli!)
Good enough to eat
A gift for foodie book-lovers: Claude and Mary Ann Tayag have just launched their latest book “Linamnam,” a reliable and complete guide to all the best eateries in the country. It is packaged like a Lonely Planet book, although a little thicker. At only P250, it’s a steal!
For the foodie historian, do check out Felice Sta. Maria’s new book “The Foods of Jose Rizal.” And for the Asian traveler, there’s the “Miele Guide,” which lists the best restaurants in Asia. All of these are now available at major National Bookstore branches.
There! And your Christmas list is complete. Happy shopping, foodies!
Complete references at margauxlicious.blogspot.com. Follow twitter.com/margauxsalcedo.