Fine dining at home
I hope you had a wonderful time welcoming 2022 on New Year’s Eve.
I always love the New Year because it signifies a fresh start.
After two years of suffering mentally and gastronomically, it’s time to return to the days of not just being alive but feeling alive. May this new year usher in the return not only of dining out but of fine dining.
If you are brave enough to go out and get reacquainted with our chefs, please do so. Start with Josh Boutwood, who to my mind is still the King of the Tasting Menus. The Test Kitchen at Rockwell will be open starting Jan. 4 and Helm at Arya Plaza in Bonifacio Global City will be open starting Wednesday, Jan. 5, by reservation only. He has a new menu coming out. That’s something to be truly excited about!
The only challenge now is that COVID-19 cases are on the rise again. Thankfully, there is a compromise for the immunocompromised: dine fine at home!
I am sure that by now, your love for adobo, as classic and delicious as it may be, has reached its point of diminishing returns, signifying that it is time to elevate your menu. So find the time to skip your usual market routine and splurge on some excellent produce.
Top of mind for an excellent gastronomic experience even just at home is Kobe steak.
For authentic Kobe beef, you can order from Prime Cuts by Doubleday (dprimecuts.com), which sources this from a producer (Isoudabokujo) assigned by no less than the Kobe Beef Marketing and Promotion Association, Japan’s governing body for Kobe exports.
Where you buy your Kobe beef is important because there are certain requirements that must be met in order for the beef to be considered authentic, and you will only know if these requirements had been met if approved by the Kobe Beef Marketing and Distribution Promotion Association. (The cattle are actually tracked using a 10-digit number throughout every step of their entire life cycle.)
To be considered Kobe, the beef must come from Tajima cattle that were born and farm-fed on grain fodder in the Hyogo Prefecture; and then processed at slaughterhouses in Kobe, Nishinomiya, Sanda, Kakogawa, or Himeji in Hyōgo Prefecture. There is also a specific marbling ratio, meat quality score, yield and carcass weight that must be met.
It is very expensive (P8,000 for 400 grams of Kobe striploin; P9,345 for approximately 450 grams of Kobe ribeye at Prime Cuts by Doubleday online prices) not only because there is so much thought and care that goes into producing Kobe beef and meeting the requirements for it, but also because only 3,000 head of cattle actually qualify as Kobe per year.
Another way to enjoy luxurious living even in the confines of your own home is by ordering really good jamon. If you must splurge, you might as well splurge on Cinco Jotas.
That is because to appreciate great Iberico, it’s not just about the pigs but also the technique employed in salting, drying and curing the jamon. The Cinco Jotas brand distinguishes itself by using “the wisdom of Jabugo locals who, for five generations, have contributed the talents of their ancestral culture.” Aside from using 100-percent acorn-fed Iberico, this brand offers a degree of craftsmanship in jamon-making that is unparalleled.
From the salt manager, who buries the Iberico in Atlantic sea salt by hand, masterfully calculating the perfect ham weight and the right amount of salt needed; to the drying manager, who masterfully calculates the correct temperature and humidity levels while drying the ham in the Cinco Jotas Jabugo caves to achieve a balance in flavors; to the curing cellar masters, who calculate and dictate the degree of curing the jamon, everything is done not only with dedication but with precision.
Enjoying this will feel like a trip to Spain even if you are just at home!
New Year’s resolution
This year, let us leave the world of drudgery and broken dreams behind. I urge you to splurge! Let’s help get the economy by spending, spending, spending! And if you feel guilty about it, you can always compensate by giving, giving, giving! Donate to Caritas at caritasmanila.org.ph or to the Tanging Yaman Foundation at tangingyaman.org.
Let’s live life! After all, it’s a new year. May you have a wonderful, prosperous and very happy 2022! INQ
Prime Cuts by Doubleday. Order at landline 8-5168671 or mobile 0927-8258201 or at online at dprimecuts.com.
More from the author at margauxsalcedo.com.
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