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Pre-Christmas food fests

/ 05:10 AM November 28, 2021

Lyceum Laguna student Jeriel Encarnado wins the gold at Philippine Culinary Cup 2021—wedding cake category—with his intricate, relevant and unusual design. —CONTRIBUTED PHOTOS

Happy first day of Advent!

Can you believe that in just four weeks, we will once again celebrate Christmas? How fast time flies!

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Aside from Christmas, a semblance of normality is also finally back! Reunions are happening right and left, with everyone cheering on the return of F2F (face-to-face) gatherings, albeit with some wisely keeping their masks on. Malls are beginning to be filled again. And then there is the perpetual yin to the yang, the darkness that must accompany the light of the season: horrendous traffic!

Another evidence of the human race’s return to life as we knew it is the resurgence of food festivals and other food events.

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The Philippine Culinary Cup 2021 pushed through earlier this month, with the competition open to fully vaccinated participants. New culinary talent was discovered, such as Jeriel Encarnado, a student from the Lyceum of the Philippines Laguna, who won the gold for the Best Wedding Cakes category for his intricately designed, indigenous peoples-themed wedding cake.

This weekend, you can head over to the Food Lab at the Podium where you can get a taste of sweet creations by Poison Coffee & Doughnuts, Flourpot, The Daily Knead, plus cheese from La Petite Fromagerie, ham from The Plaza and wines from Terroir Wine, among others. This is the last weekend, though.

Traveling Flavors

Then early next month, from Dec. 9 to 12, the Department of Tourism (DOT) will host Traveling Flavors, an “on-ground” festival that will take place at the Ayala Malls Serin in Tagaytay, which will feature food from different regions of the country.

Of course, virtual events have also become our “new normal.” So the Traveling Flavors event of the DOT will be accompanied by virtual talks which the organizers call “Food Tourism Exchange,” a virtual lifestyle panel conversation highlighting cultural influences in food and gastronomic experiences.

On Dec. 9, as part of this DOT project that seeks to continue to promote the Philippines as a center of food and gastronomy in Asia, there will be talks on food history representing different parts of Luzon. Yours truly will give the first talk for the National Capital Region with a talk entitled “The Circumnavigation of Food: The Historical Journey of Philippine Cuisine from Spain to Manila.” For Region 1, Bernard Joseph Guerrero, a cultural worker and tourism consultant, will give a talk entitled “A Foodie’s Paradise: Examining the North One Flavor at a Time.” For Region 3, Chef Don Quito of the North Central Academy for Culinary Arts will give a talk entitled “Talyasi: Gastronomic Flavors of Central Luzon.” For Region 4A, Maria Cristina Decal, Founder of Kulinarya Tagala will give a talk entitled “Indigenization of Western Flavors in Calabarzon.” For Mimaropa, Myline Reyes, a hotel owner in Puerta Galera, will talk about “Island Gastronomy.” These talks will be live on the Facebook pages of the DOT.

For those who just want to eat out, there are new restaurants! One that stands out is Jones All Day, the former Chelsea in Serendra. This is the ideal place for people who are done with home-cooked food. They have breads, pates, croquetas, various oysters options and a raw bar, among many other cafe all-day delights.

And for those who want to go out of town, Boracay is back in business, thanks to the efforts of the DOT to reach 100 percent vaccination for all tourism industry workers.

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So once again, this season of Advent, which is a season of waiting, we also hope! Let’s hope that this time around, we are gifted with what we have been waiting for: a pandemic-free life where we can breathe the Christmas air like normal people again.

May this Advent season be a real season of joy and hope—and good food—for you, too!

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TAGS: christmas, Philippine Culinary Cup 2021
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