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November 11, 2009

Grape Expectations!

Good as a fruit snack, better as a wine, and—as this lunch proved—best as an ingredient in main dishes.

By: Dudi Aureus



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Grapes is one of my favorite fruits. Aside from its sweet and juicy taste, I just love all the health benefits it has to offer. I thought to myself that it would really be a good thing if it could be part of our daily diet. How? By including grapes as a one of the main ingredients in our daily dishes (and not just as another toss-in in salads)

True enough, the California Grapes Table Commission invited us to a series of events wherein they challenged chosen chefs from different restaurants to come up with dishes that make use of grapes as an ingredient in all their dishes. The participating restaurants were Bistro Filipino, Aubergine Restaurant, Le Souffle, Tagaytay Highlands, and Sugarhouse.

The one I attended was hosted by Bistro Filipino and the person who prepared the dishes was none other than Chef Rolando Laudico. Of course, my feeling was just sheer excitement to be able to meet him in person, nonetheless, be able to savor what he had prepared for us that day. I was sure that everything would just taste heavenly. I wasn’t disappointed because he only treated us like kings and queens and served us a feast from the drink down to the dessert.

 

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Being one of the promoters of Filipino cuisine, he took the traditional cuisine and added a modern twist to it with the use of grapes. It started with our drink, the traditional salabat which most Filipinos have grown accustomed to drinking when they have throat problems or something. I know that it’s got all these medicinal properties, but for me, it’s a bit hard to include it in my daily diet for the taste was just too strong. Sometimes, it feels like it burns my throat after just one sip so needless to say, I didn’t enjoy it. Adding grapes to the mixture balanced the strong flavor of the ginger ale while adding another healthy component to the drink, reservatrol. This is used to lessen the risk of having cancer. I partnered it up with the appetizer for the day, the Lambanog Filled Red Grapes coated with Crispy Herb with Labahita Flakes. How Chef Laudico prepared it was really amazing—he injected a small amount of lambanog inside the grapes using a syringe!





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