Thinking of what to do, what to eat, and/or what to cook this weekend? You’ll find all of these at Central Square in Bonifacio High Street Central, BGC, which is hosting the 7th edition of the Philippine Harvest at Central Square, a 3-day food fair where you can try, buy, and appreciate organic, artisanal, natural, and indigenous agricultural products.
Created by the Department of Agriculture (DA) together with Central Square and SSI Group, Inc. to celebrate and promote the richness of Philippine agriculture, Philippine Harvest at Central Square once again brings local farm produce straight to your tables on March 16 to 18, 2018.
This time around, DA and SSI, together with the Embassy of Spain in Manila, showcase the extraordinary, world-famous flavors of Spain, side by side with the finest Filipino farm products and ingredients, in a gathering that celebrates good food and pays homage to the people that produce them.
Dubbed Philippine Harvest meets Sabores de España, the three-day gastronomic market and festival features 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. “This particular partnership with the Spanish embassy is an opportunity to showcase the best food products and ingredients from Spain, whose influence on Filipino culture and food has been very profound,” said DA Secretary Emmanuel Piñol.
Huevos Rotos from Oye Tapas
DA also brought together 25 exhibitors that highlight innovations in the Filipino food industry and the richness and diversity of the country’s agricultural products. These include organic heirloom rice, artisanal chocolates, coffee, and fresh fruits and vegetables. Some of the products are also available for tasting and product sampling.
Here are some of the products I was able to sample and bring home from the fair yesterday. You still have the chance to grab these items yourself today and tomorrow, March 17-18!
1. I’m so excited to cook with these products from Hida: Hida Boloñesa de Atun, made from fried tomato and natural tuna trunks, which can be used in spaghetti, cannelloni, empanada, and lasagna, among others; Hida Boloñesa, a typical Italian dish adapted to Mediterranean cuisine to make a fusion with Spanish culinary culture, made with Hida’s Fried Tomato over low heat and fresh beef and pork; and Hida Boloñesa de Chorizo, a chorizo sauce from traditional Spanish cuisine, made from Hida’s Fried Tomato over low heat with extra Chorizo (lean and pork belly) from fresh meat and paprika from La Vera.
2. I definitely got my supply of cream cheese: Quescrem Regular Cream Cheese, a natural cream cheese that’s soft and creamy, perfect for consumption at home for sandwiches, snacks, and desserts; Quescrem Cream Cheese with Garlic and Herbs; and Quescrem 0% Lactose Cream Cheese, a soft cream cheese that conserves all the flavor and texture.
3. I also got some mozzarella from Santini Food Enterprises, a family-owned company established in 1987, which offers various products that include milk, syrups, cream cheese, and olive oil.
4. Auro Chocolate is a proudly Filipino, bean-to-bar chocolate company that sustainably sources cocoa beans directly from local farming communities in Davao. I loved their 70% dark chocolate variants and the Roasted White Chocolate with Cashew. Yum!
5. Valor Chocolates are recognized the world over for high-quality cocoa and chocolate bars, from sugar free chocolate to the classic Valor chocolate bars.
6. My husband loves ginger and turmeric, so I got Ormocana Ginger and Turmeric from Ormoc, which are all organic and produced by local farmers.
7. 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 only high-quality ingredients. Filled with nutrients that your body needs, their fruit chips do not contain unhealthy fats, artificial sweeteners, and preservatives. They’re delicious and perfect for guilt-less snacking!
8. I only use muscovado or coco sugar in my coffee now, so I tried COCO NATURA Coco Sugar, a minimally refined natural sweetener made from the sap of the coconut tree flower blossom. It is low-glycemic food, which means it won’t cause a spike in blood sugar levels when consumed.
9. I try to only use olive oil when I cook now, so I stocked up on these at the fair. One of them is La Española Olive Oil from Sysu International, a leading importer and distributor of premium food brands to the Philippines. Sysu also manufactures under its house brand Clara Olé and McCormick.
10. I also got some Sabroso Extra Virgin Olive Oil, which comes from the hills of Cordoba/Seville. It provides a potent flavor to any meal, and it’s characterized by its soft taste and absence of bitterness from the almond fruit.
11. Rafael Salgado Extra Virgin Olive is also another must-try. This vegetarian product retains the chemical and biological characteristics of the olive, with an acidity level of not more than 1%. A cholesterol-free product, with no additives or preservatives, it’s the most easily-digested type of oil. It has little effect on the stomach and favors digestion, quickly creating a feeling of fullness.
12. I got my fill of refreshing and flavorful white sangria and red sangria from Oye Tapas, too, best paired with their huevos rotos and croquetas. If you want straightforward wine, try those from Granza, known for their elegant taste and aroma due to altitude, location, orientation, and the special care in organic farming. They are created for a new breed of consumers more aware of respecting the environment and sustainability in wines.
13. You can also grab wine from Golden Wines Inc., whose products include Lealtanza, FC Barcelona, Real Madrid wines, and those from the Rioja region.
I love food fairs that support local produce, and in this case promotes the modernization of the Filipino agriculture sector. As someone who now lives in a provincial town, I am always happy when local farmers and food entrepreneurs get to showcase their wonderful products, not just to people in Metro Manila, but all over the world.
In partnership with SSI Group, Inc., Philippine Harvest is part of the DA’s regular marketing activities that promote locally-grown farm and fishery products in the domestic market, effectively assisting small- and medium-scale agri-entrepreneurs nationwide in terms of direct market linkage.
Central Square is located at 5th Avenue corner 30th Street Bonifacio High Street Central, BGC, Taguig. Mall hours are 11AM-10PM, Sunday to Thursday; and 11AM-11PM, Friday to Saturday.