Last March 16, 2018 marked another milestone for the Philippine Food and Produce Industry as we celebrated Philippine Harvest 2018. Now on its 7th series, the Department of Agriculture (DA), Central Square, and SSI Group, Inc. have partnered with the Embassy of Spain to showcase the world-famous flavors of Spain, side by side the finest Filipino produce and ingredients.
Philippine Harvest 2018: A 3-Day Gastronomic Market and Festival
Dubbed Philippine Harvest meets Sabores de España, the recent three-day gastronomic market and festival featured time-honored Spanish staples such as olive oil, sausages, jamón ibérico (ham), and wines from 15 exhibitors assembled by the Embassy of Spain in Manila.
Right before we the official program started, we were already treated to a myriad of colors, smell, and taste. Gathered around Central Square’s foyer were stalls upon stalls of the best Spanish food and Filipino products. Along with the Spanish beats in the background, it felt like we were in some legit Spanish fiesta. It was all too exciting!
Philippine Harvest 2018: Opening Ceremonies
So as soon as the floor was officially opened by Undersecretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat and Spanish Ambassador Luis Calvo, we were enthralled to sample everything at Philippine Harvest 2018! To highlight the richness and diversity of the country’s organic, artisanal, natural, and indigenous agricultural products, theDA has also brought together 25 exhibitors, which include organic heirloom rice, artisanal chocolates, coffee, and fresh fruits and vegetables.
“With Philippine Harvest, we give our customers another opportunity to enrich their appreciation of the culinary traditions of both our country and of Spain, as well as recognize the men and women behind the different varieties of food products,” said Mr. Anthony Huang, President of SSI Group, Inc.
Photos courtesy of SSI Group
The Best of Filipino Produce and Ingredients
Here are some of our favorite local food exhibitors for the day:
Auro Chocolates + Risa Chocolates
Auro Chocolate is a proudly Filipino, bean-to-bar chocolate company that sustainably sources cocoa beans directly from local farming communities in Davao. We loved the smooth quality of the bars and the classy packaging. Definitely export quality!
Another chocolatier company at the Philippine Harvest 2018 that we fancied was Risa Chocolates. What started as an exercise in joy, shared with family and friends, has grown into a chocolate company that imbues the same passion and joy in every single creation. What we loved most about their chocolate bars is that you can really taste that it’s made from quality cocoa beans and just had the right consistency. Even the 70% cocoa bars we tasted were good and were not bitter at all! The packaging was a total beauty too, very well thought of and something that we Filipinos can be proud of.
Oh So Healthy
Now I first tasted the snacks from Oh So Healthy a few months back (got them from Rustan’s Rockwell) but have only tasted the Taro flavor but I vividly remember it was so good, I had to crave more. Oh So Healthy offers a fun and nutritious line of new snacking treats made from 100% real fruits. Each of their products are prepared using high-quality ingredients. We bought 3 variants: Taro, Guava, and Mango. The chips were light, tasty, and totally crave-worthy! Best part is they don’t contain unhealthy fats, artificial sweeteners, or preservatives. Who said healthy can’t be yummy?
Mama Sita Marinades and Condiments
A culinary icon, Mama Sita has been a brand that every Filipino home loves. From barbecue marinades, dish sauces, and delicious condiments, Mama Sita has made Filipino cooking the best. Every drop, every ounce, authentic and Filipino. We loved their well-marinated barbecues, dipped in their sweet-anghang vinegar, and their rich paella.
DowntoEarth Farmshop + Cafe
Going organic? The DowntoEarth Farmshop + Cafe has “Real food, grown by real farmers”. DowntoEarth is a family farm located in Bukidnon that currently grows biodynamic vegetables, and raise and source local cattle, heritage pork, lamb and native poultry. And since we’ve tasted some very savory flavors earlier, we were already in the mood for a good refreshing drink. Amongst DowntoEarth’s wide array of fresh produce and organic meats, sat two big glass jugs of vibrantly-colored drinks. We decided to have a cup of their Hibiscus Tea and it was just fantastic! A little flowery, tasted like a hodgepodge of berries, overall refreshing! Glad we bumped into this awesome store at Philippine Harvest 2018, for sure!
Kitchen Witchery Vinegar
Filipinos love their sawsawan and now we can all taste our favorite suka in a variety of flavors. Tanks to Kitchen Witchery. With their slogan “Taste the Philippines in a Bottle”, Kitchen Witchery has their Basimatsi Vinegar in 9 high-quality, carefully-concocted variations. Our favorites were the classic Suka Toyomansi (soy suace + local Calamansi), the Suka Minatamis (mild sweetness, made from molasses) and the Suka Pinausukan (smoky, roasted aroma).
Made with all natural and fresh spices with no preservatives, Crunchy Garlic is a must-buy condiment! Available in standard Canola Oil and Mild Spicy, the crunch of the garlic and the savory flavor of the garlic-drenched canola oil will definitely elevate any dish or snack. It’s practically good with anything!
El Union Coffee, Disteleria Limtuaco, Negros Honey, Kai Farms, Kalinga Grains, Ormocana
The Best of Spanish Food and Drinks
Here are some of our favorite Spanish food exhibitors for the day:
Spanish Chorizos by Calidad Española
I love tapas and alongside my favorite cheese variants, I’ve always had a penchant for good-quality chorizos! And finally, there’s a local brand that can satisfy that constant craving for authentic Spanish chorizos: Calidad Española. Available in 16 distinct variants, Calidad Española’s chorizos are premium quality and crave-worthy! Priced at only PHp 275.00 per 250g pack, we loved the taste of the Pamplona (intenses, more garlicky) and the Morcilla de Cebolla (a blood sausage filled with onions). Ay, muy saboroso!
Santini Food Enterprises
A household brand since 1987, the family-owned company produces some of the best tasting, high quality cream cheese and olive oil products. Their cream cheese comes in different flavors and is perfect as dips and spreads. I was able to take home a few tubs of their cream cheese and I’m excited to pair them with my favorite breads and dishes.
Celebrating the beauty and diversity of Spanish cuisine, Barcino gives tribute to the Spanish wine culture. We loved how they serve a wide array of wines, tapas, cervezas, and of course our favorite Sangria!
Within the DA, Philippine Harvest 2018 meets Sabores de España was spearheaded by Undersecretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat, the Office of the Undersecretary for Agribusiness and Marketing and Regional Engagement.
Department of Agriculture
Location: 2nd Floor, DA-Annex Bldg., Elliptical Road, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines
Contact: (+632) 927-7416
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