As part of the “Visit the Philippines Year 2015” festivities, Madrid Fusion, the most important Spanish gastronomy congress and one of the largest gastronomic festivals of 2015, is staged in Manila for the first time this April. This event brings together professional chefs, food lovers, and food-and beverage-related companies and trade to come together, learn new things and share their talent, expertise, as well as products to the market. A joint partnership between the Department of Tourism and Tourism Promotions Board, Madrid Fusion Manila includes three big events namely, International Gastronomy Congress, Trade Exhibition, and Flavors of the Philippines Festival. This cements the Philippines’ reputation of being the center of culinary excellence in Asia.
SM hosted the historic event which took place last April 24 to 26 at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City. Madrid Fusion Manila was able to showcase the encounter between world-renowned Spanish chefs and equally-talented and famous Filipino chefs like Fernando Aracama, Rob Pengson, J Gamboa, Chele Gonzalez, Margarita Forés, and Claude Tayag, just to name a few.
The finest Spanish and Filipino products from Spanish wines and cheeses, to the Philippines’ world-class exports like rice, cacao, coffee, mango, coconut, and liquors were presented in a trade exhibition. Foodies will also be happy to know that select SM Mall of Asia restaurants will feature special dishes with Spanish influence.
The Flavors of the Philippines Festival, one of Madrid Fusion Manila’s events, is a month-long festival that features gastronomy-related cultural events, food tours and tastings, roving food trucks, bar crawls, and more. Restaurants, hotels, bars, malls and weekend markets feature their own line of succulent offerings as part of the festival.
I consider myself really lucky to have experienced Madrid Fusion Manila through the Flavors of the Philippines: The Paella Cook Off which took place last April 19 at SM City Bacolod. The city’s foodies, cooking enthusiasts, media personalities, and bloggers enjoyed a fun event highlighted by the Spanish dish paella. The cook off featured Chef Natalio David Lopez, the owner of tapas bars Txacho and Kome Kome at the Art District, Mandalagan, and Chef Uwe Markowsky, master chief instructor at the Bacolod Academy for Culinary Arts (BACA).
Chef David did the Paella Negra while chef Uwe cooked the Paella Valenciana which consists of white rice, green vegetables, chicken and rabbit meat, white beans with saffron, rose and occasionally lemon. Both paella dishes looked and tasted delicious. Not a single person was not satisfied since aside from the paella dishes, there were delectable sidings of tapas, pintxos, queso, and a drink of sangria. It was truly an event to remember!