Monday, August 12, 2019

MaArte oPen House returns with more Foodie Finds!

Remember how Paul and I went to check out the MaArte Fair at The Peninsula Manila last year and while it's an annual fundraising event showcasing a perfected curated line up of local vendors and artists selling their home and fashion masterpieces, I stumbled upon two food finds namely Tsaa Laya and Buen Provencho by O&M as I was making my rounds then.



This year, MaArte oPen House will open on August 16 to 18, 2019, once again, at The Peninsula Manila and they got not 1, not 2 but 6 exciting food vendors joining in the mix! We were so lucky to be invited to an intimate afternoon tea party where we got to sample some of the products that will be up on sale this coming weekend.

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There's Green Babes which was established in 2011 and is the brainchild of good friends Bopeep Arroyo and Zerla Mayuga. They have been sourcing various delicious products all over the country and for MaArte oPen House, be ready to try their Organic Eggs which, I promise you, will blow your mind. The salted egg has this perfect oily consistency and it wasn't overly salty too. In fact, they served it with a slice of fresh tomatoes and it was just so good that I went back for a second round. The balut is about 11 days old so expect that the embryo inside is really tiny and is free of all those terror-causing feathers or bones. No "Fear Factor"-like moment for this balut, I can assure you. I also loved their bottled products such as the Boneless Bangus in Olive Oil as well as the Bicol Express Tinapa which is perfect for people like me and Paul who love getting a bit of that spicy kick in our food.



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We also got to try the yummiest Felicia's ensaymadas and cheese rolls from the House of Negros. They will be selling products from 3 of Bacolod's renowned food brands namely -- Felicia's, Casa Carmela and Virgie's. Admittedly, I'm most familiar with the latter as this is what Manang would bring home for us every time she goes home to Bacolod for a visit. The delicious piaya, the sweet tarts and more. During the preview, I got to also tr 4 of Casa Carmela's dips and spreads which are definitely worth checking out. There's the Pitaw (quail), Pompano (fish), Chorizo Pudpud (pork) and Smoked Bangus (smoked milkfish). My personal favorite was the Chorizo Pudpud as I enjoyed the meaty, sweet taste of the meat and I can imagine how delicious this will be on al dente pasta noodles.

You also have to try Felicia's ensaymada and cheese rolls which are so soft and fluffy! Even my little picky eater happily enjoyed her generous piece. It has just the right amount of butter, cheese and sugar giving you that much needed comfort in every bite.

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Moving on, we were reunited with Tsaa Laya which has more flavors for everyone to enjoy. Remember how I went crazy over their Tropical Summer tea last year which was a refreshing blend of pineapple, lemongrass, mango and lime. This time, I loved the new flavor called Bughaw which means blue in Tagalog. It's made of butterfly pea flower thus giving off that beautiful blue color as you steep the tea bag in hot water and it has pandan, mint and lemongrass which I find to be to light and refreshing. I love the combination of these three flavors and I think it makes for a great after meal drink. The creation of this blend, for me, is pure genius. Apart from the Bughaw, they also have two more new flavors called the Pure Cacao and the Cacao Mint.

Apart from Tsaa Laya, ¡Buen Provecho by O&M Home is back at the MaArte oPen House as well. In addition to their delicious spreads and dips which they have presented last year, they have the Mantequilla Picante which is spiced butter mixed with chorizo and chili. Oh my, this was so good! I can't wait for grab a bottle and serve this with bread, pasta, rice...everything! Of course, they still have my all time faves the Pili Laing Pesto as well as the Atun y Quezos which is a cheezy tuna spread that goes well with almost everything too. Believe me, I had mine with pasta one day and with some pita chips the next day and I couldn't decide which one is better.

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Now, I really hate to play favorites but based on the number of returns that I did during that afternoon, I got to say that Felicisimo Gourmet Homecooking instantly won my heart. It was perhaps the story of mompreneur Jamie and how she started her little business selling bottled homemade spreads, fish and dips or her interesting line-up of products from the smooth and addicting Whisky Chicken Liver Pate, the Flower Crab Fat which I know is so bad for you but it's so undeniably good too, the savory Laing, her signature Kaffir Lime Tuyo and the Bourbon Bacon Jam for all bacon lovers out there. I love everything that I've tried from Jamie's table and I think so does everyone in the room too.

Now, remember the good ol' saying to always leave room for dessert. Well, I'd say, at the MaArte oPen House, never ever leave without having some chocolates and this is not any ordinary chocolates, mind you. This is Auro Chocolates -- the one that has been making the Philippines proud since 2015. This is the real, unadulterated kind of chocolates that will just make you close your eyes with happiness. They're proud to be called a bean-to-bar chocolate company where they make use of cocoa beans directly from local farming communities in Davao. In fact, they're expanded their source, getting beans in more parts of the Mindanao region.

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Just like the chocolates that I got to try that afternoon, it's interesting to note that Paquibato and Saloy both comes from the same province but originated from opposite sides of the valley thus one gives off a more citrus flavor while the other one has a more nutty notes. It reminds me of my Coffee Master days where I would sample various coffee beans with a wide array for flavor notes.

These are 6 of the food vendors that you shouldn't miss as you shop at the MaArte oPen House this coming weekend. See you at the Peninsula Manila on August 16 to 18, 2019! 

For more details, visit their official Instagram page.
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