Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Sneak Peek: Best Food Forward Turns Five

For the past five years, this annual food fair has been known to be the launch pad for some of the country's successful food entrepreneurs, and this year's edition is no different.    

Best Food Forward marks its fifth year milestone with this year's edition set for October 10-11, 2015, at the Rockwell Tent in Makati City. And just like the previous editions, you can always expect to find something new and innovative, and maybe, even the next big thing on the emerging local food scene...

The team behind the long-running benefit food fair, led by (L-R) Timmie Hilado, Gwen Carino, and Claire Chanco,  presented some of this year's newest participants, with products ranging from hot beverages, indulgent desserts, snacks and dishes guaranteed to satisfy your craving for something new and different... the innovative Go Brewed Instant Drip Coffee so you can enjoy the distinct taste of freshly brewed coffee anytime, anywhere, all you need is hot water (for more Go Brewed Instant Drip Coffee, check out their FB Page here). It's one of those concepts that deserve a second look, combining premium and perfectly roasted coffee with a unique packaging concept for that perfect cup of coffee. Go Brewed Instant Drip Coffee is available in three variants, the Go Brewed Allegro, a strong, robust and full-bodied blend for that pick-me-up caffeine boost to start your day; the Go Brewed Mezzo, a moderate yet balanced and earthy blend to revitalize you anytime of day; and the Go Brewed Legato, a mild and fruity blend for a calming yet flavorful cup of freshly drip-brewed coffee. Each box is packed with seven sachets, one for every day of the week. 

And enjoying a perfect cup of drip-style coffee is fast, easy and convenient, simply pull the bag from the sachet and open, and securely set it on your cup with the convenient pull-out handles. Then, slowly pour hot water. Let it brew for a few minutes, and there you go, a perfectly drip-brewed cup of coffee in minutes. 

Booya Balls and Lola's Bolas, just what you need for a comforting weekend snack or meal. Frozen Weekends gives you a taste of the weekend in your fridge with their line of frozen treats, including the rustic and homey Lola's Bolas, the classic steamed Italian meatball with garlic draped in a rich marinara sauce sprinkled with parsley. Ready to eat, with no added MSG and extenders, all you get are real, fresh and clean meaty flavors (for more on Frozen Weekends, check out their FB Page here). One bite brings back so many fond memories of carefree childhood summers, and you can easily recreate the good times with a pack of Lola's Bolas from Frozen Weekends. I can have this everyday...

Frozen Weekends also offers their signature Booya Balls, deep-fried and crisp golden balls in Cheesy Chiki-Curry and Creamy Crab & Corn variants. The rich flavors of the savory filling blend seamlessly with the contrasting crunchy texture of the outer layer for another winning snack. A few of these and a cold beer, now that sounds like another perfect weekend with Frozen Weekends. You can also try their cool Ris-Oat-O, a savory organic oatmeal for a light yet filling and healthy snack. The guys at Frozen Weekends really have weekends all figured out with their line of frozen treats. Grab a few bags of Lola's Bolas, the Cheesy Chiki-Curry Balls and Creamy Crab & Corn Booya Balls from Frozen Weekends, and jumpstart the weekend.

Rich, home-style Mediterranean flavors come through with Natalia's Rustic Kitchen's savory Beef Tagine on soft couscous topped with preserved lemons (for more on Natalia's Rustic Kitchen, visit their FB Page here). Natalia's Rustic Kitchen specializes in food delivery, meals to share, party trays, packed meals, and catering with their extensive line of gourmet and Filipino dishes. And the Beef Tagine is one of those must-try dishes by Natalia's Rustic Kitchen. The richness of the tender beef are tempered by the sharp notes of the preserved lemons, rounded out by the soft couscous.

Can there be anything more comforting than meatloaf? Add some bacon. Natalia's Rustic Kitchen's Homemade Meatloaf is a version upgrade of the meatloaf, with double-smoked bacon in a rich tomato and chickpea sauce. Meatloaf and bacon combine for rich flavors, and you'll probably go for extra rice or even couscous with this dish. Natalia's Rustic Kitchen offers even more savory dishes, including Roast Pork Loin, Traditional Roast Chicken, Italian Lasagne, Corn Crusted Fish, Baked Seasonal Fresh Catch, All-Beef Kare-Kare, Chicken Galantina, Asian-Style Pork Spare Ribs, Chicken Inasal, and Special Sotanghon. 

Chef Arnold Bernardo of Lick the Spoon Gourmet Foods shared his creative take on the classic paella with distinct local flavors, the Tinapa Paella, a flavorful rice dish topped with the chef's own bottled Deep Dips Spicy Tinapa, Deep Dips Marinated Kesong Puti, tender grilled inasal chicken  lemon and eggs. It's always fun to see how different chefs reinvent the traditional paella, and this is one those variations that really works. From the bold, spicy and smoky notes of the tinapa, the creamy marinated kesong puti, the richly flavored chicken inasal, and the soft eggs, each weaving its own distinct notes for a festive burst of local flavors. Paella with a unique local twist, and it works.      

Chef Arnold Bernardo also shared his signature line of bottled gourmet products using local ingredients, like the Deep Dips Gourmet Tuyo Antipasto and Deep Dips Octopus Pulpo, just some of the wide range of products in his expanding line of gourmet specialties (for more on Lick The Spoon Gourmet Foods, click on the link here).

Looking for a different of crunch? Three Hungry Tummies definitely has something for you with their line of inventive snacks. And it's about time someone transformed the milkfish skin into something perfectly crunchy, like their Bangus Skin Fritters (R), with the delicate notes of the milkfish punctuated by the rich seasoning and crunchy texture.

But the guys at Three Hungry Tummies weren't done yet. The Chori Crisps (L) delivers the distinct salty notes of chorizo with that perfect crunch, while the sharp and smoky notes of bacon bursts with every bite with their Bacon Cracklets (R). 

And don't miss out on the Tapa Chips by Three Hungy Tummies, and rediscover comfortingly familiar flavors. I remember frying my usual beef tapa a little longer for extra crispness, but Three Hungry Tummies recreates that and does an even better job for that delectable crunch with a bold beefy punch (for more on Three Hungry Tummies and their line of crunchy treats, visit their FB Page here).

What does a young champion figure ice skater do on her downtime? She bakes. Sabine's Macaronerie  offers an extensive line of indulgent baked treats, each one crafted and baked by Best Food Forward's youngest and newest participant, Sabine Katigbak.  S'mores Cookies, Matcha White Chocolate Chunk Cookies, and yes, macaroons too.

Not to be missed is her Super Chewy Milo Cookie (L), releasing the familiar malty notes in your mouth with every chewy bite, as well as a wide variety gluten-free treats, like the Gluten-Free Carrot Cake and the Gluten-Free Banana Walnut Chocolate Chip Bread (R). Expect to hear more form this young skater and her sweet treats.  

Executive Pastry Chef Carmela Villegas of Casa San Luis Pastries whips up a sweet storm with her elegant cakes at the sneak preview of Best Food Forward. The vibrant and festive colors match the equally festive and sweet notes of her elaborate desserts.

You get a small slice of this delicately layered cake and after one bite, you wished you asked for a bigger slice. But you have your chance to go for a much bigger slice at this year's Best Food Forward, and better yet, bring home the whole cake (more on Executive Pastry Chef Carmela Villegas and Casa San Luis Pastries on their FB Page here).

Next, brownies with booze. Now, this is my kind of brownies, and the Brownie Bar allows me to indulge in all my favorites, dark beer, Scotch whisky, and rum, with rich, dark, and moist chocolate. And the Cerveza Negra Brownie is the perfect introduction to Brownie Bar's alcohol-infused creations.

Aptly named, Brownie Bar takes the usual soft and chewy brownie to a whole new level with some bar favorites, like the Black Label, infused with the smoky and malty notes of Scotch whisky...

...and the Don Papa Tablea, blended with the deep notes of premium local rum. Great as is, but ask for just few drops of bitters for a stronger and more pronounced note of alcohol to complete the flavors (for more on Brownie Bar, visit their FB Page here).  Brownie Bar's sinfully rich and spiked dessert bars deliver potent shots of dark chocolate and alcohol, and chocolate with booze works for me. One more round? Absolutely.

Capping the sneak peek at Best Food Forward's preview is Gelato Lab and their line of freshly-made gelato. Using only the finest and freshest all-natural premium ingredients, each small batch of gelato is handcrafted for that velvety smooth and flavorful finish. The Dark Chocolate and Bailey's Irish Cream are personal favorites. Other flavors include Mango Pudding, Coffee Stracciatella, Cookie Dough, Sea Salt Caramel, Thai Milk Tea, Maltesers, Mochaccino, Matcha Chocolate Chip and more...

...including Gelato Cakes. And they have a Whiskey Float too, now that's interesting (for more on Gelato Lab, check out their FB Page here). Hungry? Head on over to the Rockwell Tent on October 10-11, and enjoy these and more at Best Food Forward, now on its fifth year...

Visit the 5th Edition of Best Food Forward at the Rockwell Tent on October 10-11, 2015. For more information on Best Food Forward, call 0920-914-8175 or email Visit their FB here for more updates. 

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