The beginning of the merry season couldn’t have been merrier with the recent great wine dinner I have attended.
Hosted by Bestworld Beverage Brands, Inc., importer and distributor of world-famous Rioja wines from Bodegas Ramon Bilbao, the merry affair was held at Chef Jay Gamboa’s equally famous Cirkulo Spanish Restaurant.
Marc Tzanavaris, area director for Asia of Ramon Bilbao Wines, and BBB president Edna Diaz greeted arriving guests, all of whom were treated to a welcome feast of Monte Blanco Sangria cocktails paired with fresh fruits; Mar de Frades Albarino served with Hojaldres de Espinacas (phyllo pastries filled with spinach, pine nuts and blue cheese); Pincho de Chorizo (skewered Spanish sausages with caramelized shallots); Montados de Gambas y Champinones (prawns and mushroom on toast); and Lentejas y Anchoas (caviar lentils, haricot vert, anchovies from Santona).
Thereafter, everybody sat down to enjoy the dinner with their Ramon Bilbao pairings.
The first course was Sopa de Ajos with 65-degree Egg, crisp garlic and Pimenton dela Vera paired with Ramon Bilbao Reserva 2010. It was followed by Paella a La Montana (saffron seasoned rice with portabella mushrooms, roasted garlic, asparagus and truffle oil) and Chuleton a la Brasa (Josper charcoal over grilled U.S. T-Bone steak, thyme salt and olive oil) both paired with Ramon Bilbao Gran Reserva 2008.
A Spanish wine dinner can never be complete without Cochinillo Asado, a Spanish-style roast suckling pig with fig compote, that was paired with Ramon Bilbao Mirto 2005.
Bodegas Ramon Bilbao was awarded the best Spanish Winery of 2014 by the International Wine and Spirits Competition. Three years earlier, they got the prize for the Best Tempranillo in the World. More recently, they joined the Grand Wine experience at the Grand Ballroom of the Marriot Hotel.
Meanwhile, as he has done for the past couple of years, famous fashion designer Ito Curata celebrated his birthday once more through a Halloween party at his Alabang home.
Although his loving partner Bob Miller made some of the arrangements for the party, much of the decoration and food preparation had to be done in the four days following his arrival from a month-long vacation in Europe.
Greeting the guests in the foyer was a coffin containing the dressed skeleton of an old lady; two more coffins were lying on the buffet table and floating in the swimming pool. More scary decorations were displayed throughout the house.
About 60 of Ito’s friends—all dressed in scary costumes—attended the party and were present when prizes were handed out for the best costumes. Later in the evening, everyone sang “Happy Birthday” to the host as well as to Chris and photographer Lorna Llanes who were also celebrating their birthdays.
To Ito, more birthdays to come! What will it be next year? We will all look forward to it.