FILIPINOS are known to enjoy food, from the traditional to the exotic to the pedestrian. Eating is our way of welcoming family and friends that no get-together winds up without a trip to the dinner table.
Food is also a celebration in itself.
One breezy summer evening in the historical city of Malolos, Bulacan, students of the La Consolacion University of the Philippines (LCUP) BarCIE International Center feted guests to a six-course molecular “degustacion” dinner.
A molecular dinner focuses on the experience of eating in its purest form. One begins with admiring the presentation of the dish as one would marvel at a painting or a photograph. The next experience would be savoring the flavors as intended by the chefs. Each dish is a pleasant amalgamation of tastes that blend in when it settles in the tongue.
According to Chef Jeremy Malcampo, the dishes were formulated by the students based on classical recipes. They were however instructed to infuse a Filipino twist in both presentation and ingredients. The sorbet was done the traditional way — and with a pinch of salt.
For appetizers, dinner rolls were served with duck liver pate, butter and “itlog na maalat” (salted egg) pate and “hors d’oeuvres” of seared salmon, caviar juxtaposed with street classics like “itlog ng pugo” (quail egg) and calamares.
The main course was a perfectly grilled, medium-rare US ribeye steak a la chateaubriand, with “ube” (purple taro) blended with cheese taking the place of the usual mashed potato. Buttered asparagus completed the dish laid on a long ceramic tile.
Dessert was a delightful combination of sorbet and freshly spun cotton candy done by a local “manong” and served right out of the cart!
Rounding off the fine dining ritual were the complimentary cigars and cognac. Though a practice not meant for the health conscious, the ritual is very much part of tradition.
A degustacion dinner may not be for everyone, given the Filipino’s predilection for “unli-rice” and hastily prepared oily meals but it is an experience one should try, at least once in this lifetime.
— Abs A. Abando/ PNA