Gastronomic treats at ‘European Culinary Season’

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The month of May in Filipino parlance is often associated with fiestas, fun and celebrations. From the Santa Cruzan, Pahiyas and Sarong Banggi, there are festivities in almost every corner of the Philippines. In all these, food culture is always an essential element.

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Taking its cue from these Filipino traditions, the European Union Cultural Group made up of European Embassies and Cultural Institutes launched the 2014 European Culinary Season on May 13 at Aubergine Fine Dining Restaurant in Bonifacio Global City in Taguig.

For six weeks restaurants and other establishments will celebrate the season with special menus, cooking lessons and culinary demonstrations, wine classes, gastronomic movies, quizzes, as well as flamenco and guitar nights.

The 24 participating establishments were presented in the event, attended by European Ambassadors, including European Union Ambassador Guy Ledoux, Austrian Ambassador Josef Muellner, Belgian Ambassador Roland Van Remoortele, Czech Ambassador Josef Rychtar, French Ambassador Gilles Garachon, Italian Ambassador Massimo Roscigno, senior diplomats from the Embassies Greece, Netherlands, Romania, Spain, and the United Kingdom along with Aubergine Executive Chef Stefan Langenhan.

With this gastronomic feast, Filipinos will get the chance to learn about sample the rich and diverse cuisines of Austria, the Czech Republic, France, Germany Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland from May to June.

Five Italian restaurants joining the culinary splash for the first time include the Anzani New Mediterranean Restaurant in Lahug City, expanding the season to Cebu.

There were 13 special treats sampled, including duck foie gras terrine on brioche crouton, smoked duck breast and cranberry tartlet, lobster medallion with mango and papaya, beetroot marinated salmon with honey and mustard, pan fried oyster with prosciutto and mascarpone and spring chicken and mushroom vol au vent.

Throughout the season, Aubergine will give Filipinos a taste of its elegant international cuisine and world-class service. Another French restaurant, Buddha Bar, will allow guests to take the plunge into the bar’s French set dinner menu at its Picar Place in Kalayaan Avenue in Makati City.

Alliance Francaise de Manille will meanwhile screen European movies with a culinary theme all Wednesdays of the month of June at 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Its in-house restaurant Le Coude Rouge Restaurant and its partner Manila-Wine.com will hold a special wine tasting class for lunch and dinner on June 14 and 26, respectively.

A culinary demonstration by Greek master chef Antonis Kouroutsavoris will for the first time join this year’s European Culinary Season courtesy of the Culinary Institute of Aristocrat in M.H. Del Pilar in Malate, Manila.

Meanwhile, the Dutch Bread Hauz in Barangay Poblacion in Makati City will provide high quality breads from May to June.

Special menus will be served for the month of May for this period at Gusto Italian Restaurant located in BF Homes, Parañaque. Similarly, Galileo Enoteca Deli, located in Mandaluyong, is set to surprise you with its planned special menu. New World Makati Hotel’s Café 1228 offers its extensive buffet and interactive kitchens showcasing the best of Italian local produce, comfort food and decadent desserts. Meanwhile, Va Bene Pasta Deli in Pasay Road, Dasmarinas Village, Makati City will prepare its fresh cannelloni, fresh raviolis, gnocchi and a whole lot more from May 19 to 31.

The Spanish restaurants will give an enchanting array of dishes not to mention special shows with its distinctive Spanish flavor, color and gaiety: If pintxos are the favourites of your taste buds, Donosti Pintxos/Tapas, a new participant, will serve 30 kinds of pintxos on Fridays and Saturdays during the month of May, from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Barcino Wine Resto Bar at SM Aura will come back with its flamenco show featuring Emma Estrada’s Group Nuevo Flamenco every Saturdays of the month of May with shows starting at 9 p.m. Tapella Restaurant in Greenbelt 5 in Ayala Center will offer its uniquely-flavored tapas, paellas and other signature dishes from May 19 to 31. Vask in Bonifacio Global City will return this year with its selection of fresh, innovative and exceptional Spanish cuisine from Chef Luis Gonzalez and Julieta Carusso formerly from Mugaritz Restaurant. A cooking show for a fee of P1,500 for a limited number of 40 people is also up in the offing.

A new British restaurant, The Royal Picadilly, will also participate in this year’s European Culinary Season. Also participating is the Swiss restaurant Chesa Bianca in San Antonio Village in Makati City and Enderun Colleges (fusion of Swiss and Austrian and other European cuisines) will offer special menus from May to June.

Meanwhile, the EU Delegation presented a special Facebook App designed to entice the appetite of the discriminating Filipinos and to challenge their know-how about the distinctive European cuisine as lucky winners get a chance to dine for free in some of the participating restaurants. The app will be uploaded in the Facebook fan page of the EU Delegation to the Philippines.

For more information, log on to the EU Delegation Website: eeas.europa.eu/delegations/philippines or www.facebook.com/EUDelegationToThePhilippines.

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