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Grazing boxes ‍for your sanity

Charcuterie box by Arte Tita Mnl —MARGAUX SALCEDO

Restaurants have begun reopening over the last couple of months. An outdoor dining area popped up along Rada in Legazpi Village. Out-of-town restaurants and even resorts have started to pick up. Invites to eat out have been sent, citing the importance of human interaction for mental health and, anyway, “as long as you wear your face mask and face shield and you’re outdoors, you’re okay.”

Sadly, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases created by the administration to address the COVID-19 crisis grossly miscalculated the situation. With ever insensitive and imbecilic leadership that disgraces the President and humanity as a whole, it ignored the rising number of cases as it refocused on energizing the economy (and possibly the 2022 elections) instead of quelling the pandemic. Yet, no call was heard from the government to contain the situation even as numbers rose north of 5,000 cases per day. There has been no call for another lockdown. There has been no campaign, at least not one heard beyond the Facebook pages of government propagandists, to stay home and practice self-quarantine. In spite of announcements to its effect, there has been no concrete effort to deliver vaccines to the general public.  So today, instead of families enjoying a wonderful lunch at a restaurant, you have families standing outside of hospitals, unable to get treated because rooms are at full capacity.

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These are the depressing realities I couldn’t help but mull over before devouring a gorgeous “grazing” charcuterie box of cold cuts and cheese. Once again, Filipinos are left to pretend that everything is okay and that everything will be ok.

There are three kinds of cheese, two kinds of cold cuts, almonds and pistachios, crackers, chocolate sticks and two kinds of jam. It’s really pretty.

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When you nibble on its contents, you can easily pretend you’re about to enjoy a 12-course degustation meal by a renowned chef. Or that you still have a job. Or that your business is not going under.

The delicate charcuterie box was prepared by the gorgeous Angela Cancio Lagunzad, broadcast journalist and documentarian of UNTV. She started it as a pandemic hobby since she was doing her broadcasts from home. “I have always loved charcuterie plates,” she shares when I asked how she chose, of all things, to sell a grazing spread. “In almost every celebration or party we would host, I would create a platter for the family or sometimes just order.”

When the pandemic hit and the demand for food deliveries increased, her partner Diego came up with the idea to create customizable curated artisan food boxes. “This gave birth to our first appetizer box called CHAR!cuterie, which was named by my son Mio,” she adds.

Arte Tita now also carries artisan jams with flavors such as mango, orange marmalade, raspberry, guava, pineapple and calamansi brandy.

The best part about these boxes is that they are comparatively affordable, at P799 for a Picaño box, which is good for 2-3 pax. They also offer a Grande size, good for 5 to 6 pax, for P1,599.

They will soon be creating more boxes, this time Filipino-themed. They also customize artisan boxes, if you prefer other kinds of cheese and cold cuts.

I love that this little charcuterie box provides a momentary escape from the realities of the world today. I just wish that everything would still be as wonderful after enjoying this dream of a meal and you are pulled back to the realities of today.

Arte Tita Manila. Order via Instagram @artetitamnl or Facebook ArteTita Mnl or via mobile 0999 519 0229.

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TAGS: outdoor dining, restaurants
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