And local goods you never knew you needed in your life
When people say love or support local in the food business, we think of time-tested brands that have gifted us with our favorite baked goods, brews and the chichirya (snacks) they can’t be consumed without. Seriously, what would our childhoods have been like without Chippy or Lucky Me Pancit Canton? While they remain pantry staples today, times have changed and people are looking for exciting flavors and healthier options to indulge in.
Enter: Philippine Harvest, a celebration of Philippine food destinations. The four-day fair, which just concluded its 8th edition last June at Bonifacio High Street Central Square, aims to promote the richness of local agriculture, the food itself and the people that make them. Organized with by the Department of Tourism in partnership with SSI and Central Square, the event shined the spotlight on culinary destinations around the country, including Bicol, Negros Occidental, Cebu, Davao, Zamboanga, La Union and Isabela.
At the fair, guests and shoppers alike were delighted with organic, artisanal, natural and indigenous products, from sauces to chocolates, coffee to cheese, and even lifestyle wares. Here are just some of the homegrown labels we encountered:
The label, whose name was inspired by the scientific name of the cacao tree (Theobroma Cacao) and the Greek word for love (Philos), has been making a name for itself for its fearless flavors. Our recent discovery? Adobo-flavored chocolate. As they say, don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it as this particular flavor will surprise you—in a good way! Expect an herby (Bay leaf perhaps?), peppery taste that blends well with the soy sauce toffee and milk chocolate.
The local distillery has been around for decades and is in fact the oldest distillery in the PH. Home to White Castle Whisky, Amadeo Coffee Liqueur and Manille Liqueur De Calamansi, the distillery stands strong as it expertly combines history, heritage and local flavors. Trivia: it’s also currently headed by a woman, Olivia Limpe-Aw.
Standford Shaw is known for one thing and one thing only: their fresh-brewed ginger ale, which is indeed the freshest in the land (or at least in Manila). Chock it up to that hot summer day when we had our first sip or the Sweet Ecstasy burgers it pairs so well with, but Stanford Shaw Ginger Ale is our ginger beer of choice.
An organization borne out of goodwill, Truest Society’s latest endeavor is to light as many homes as possible through Truest Candles for Solar Lantern Project. “We found that in many remote places in Leyte, there is still no system-wide electricity. Through the sales of Truest Candles, supporters can help distribute portable solar lanterns for children.”
Shop for a cause and choose from Truest’s range of high-quality wares, from soaps to utility bags.
Home to Y Nut Roasted Pili Nuts, COP Pili Sweets and Pastries is one our favorite recent discoveries. Snack on pili nuts, uniquely flavored with salt and pepper, honey, sea salt, and garlic with chili. The garlic with chili comes highly recommended by the sellers themselves!
For those looking for a hot and spicy kick outside of the usual, look no further than Bad Boy Tikboy. Hot as hell with tasty variants to choose from, the brand certainly lives up to its promise. Try Signal No.5 for a fiery, garlicky punch, but do note that a little goes a long way with this bad boy.
Who doesn’t love silvanas, especially the OG frozen cookie that hails from Dumaguete? If you haven’t already heard, Dumaguete’s famous delicacy is finally in Manila. You can find them in Glorietta 4 and Shangri-la Plaza Mall. Now you can go sate that silvanas fix anytime.
Calamansi juice is a healthy drink of choice for many Pinoys. Willy Bee, particularly the Kalamansi Extract with Honey, stands out for its use of all-natural ingredients that’s free of preservatives. What’s more, the brand is part of OTOP (One Town, One Philippines), a program initiated by the Department of Trade and Industry that aims to promote local and create more job opportunities in the Philippines.
Love and support local; it’s never tasted this good.
Art Cara Gamo