How quickly time flies. It seems like only yesterday when Marriott Hotel Manila was giving the press an early preview of its Halloween and Christmas goodies. Now Halloween is over and Marriott has just lighted its 20-foot Christmas tree in the lobby.
As in the past, the lighting of the Christmas tree was a festive event, graced by the press, celebrities and Marriott’s executives. As a special treat, a few cast members of Ian Fleming’s “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” sang their signature song. (The musical is currently showing at the Newport Performing Arts Theater.)
To add to the holiday feel, members of Himig Roseña, the choral group of Colegio de Sta. Rosa, serenaded the guests with Christmas carols, their angelic voices resonating throughout the lobby as they sang “Carol of the Bells,” “Gloria in Excelsis Deo,” “Kumukutikutitap” and other familiar tunes. Their finale, “Here Comes Santa Claus,” came to life when a real live Santa appeared at the top of the stairs and came down with a sack full of gifts for the children.
It wasn’t just all merriment, though. According to Marriott’s cluster general manager Bruce Winton, proceeds from the sale of some of its Christmas gift items will go to charitable organizations such as the Philippine School for the Deaf. Christmas being the season of giving, he said, Marriott would like to highlight this by giving back to the community.
“The welfare of children is one of Marriott’s advocacies,” he said during his welcome speech.
Of course, no Marriott event is complete without a sumptuous feast. And what a feast the chefs laid out that evening: pasta with two kinds of sauces, cheese platters, hand-carved Christmas ham, tuna tartar salad and bountiful desserts that included miniature Christmas apples made with a mousse covered with a cocoa glaze, gingerbread cookies, fruit cake, strawberry cheesecake and a towering chocolate fountain with marshmallows, cookies, mini cakes, and fruits for dipping.
There was even a life-size choo choo train in the lobby, made with gingerbread decorated with intricate white frostings.
Here’s a recipe for one of the side dishes served by Marriott during the preview of its Christmas goodies. It’s a delightful variation on the usual mashed potatoes. Instead of butter, the recipe calls for thickened cream. The mashed garlic gives it a provocative flavor.
Whipped Garlic Potatoes
1 k potatoes
Water, for boiling potatoes
1 whole bulb garlic
1½ c heavy cream
Salt and pepper, to taste
Peel the potatoes and boil them in water until tender. While the potatoes are boiling, peel the garlic and mash them finely. Whip the heavy cream with a wire whisk.
When the potatoes are tender, transfer them to a large mixing bowl. Mash the potatoes until smooth (a potato masher works best). Add the mashed garlic, whipped heavy cream and salt and pepper. Blend together until smooth. Makes eight to 10 servings.