If there’s one day we allow ourselves to completely indulge on good food, it’s at the Ultimate Taste Test. This time is no different. Upon seeing the lineup of food purveyors that will be presenting their new products for the coming holidays, we couldn’t wait to be there.
Sadly, Ken couldn’t come because he had to work, so I invited a long-time friend of mine to join me. He’s a food lover too and we both genuinely enjoyed the experience together. Thanks, Alex! 🙂
Since I came from work, I wanted to take a few winks before I went to Rockwell. We finally started our UTT food trip at around 3pm and we finished past 6pm. Take note that we didn’t get to taste everything. Some of the purveyors there are already familiar, so we chose to head on over to the new ones that piqued our interest the most. Plus, the fact that we were already too full at 30+ food items tasted, we just had to skip some.
Just like before, it was hard to pick our (mine and my friend’s) top favorites since there were many standouts, but the decision on who makes it here was all on me. 😉 In no particular order, here are our top favorites from the 2nd Ultimate Taste Test in Rockwell:
Bayani Brew Iced Teas
Since there’s only one beverage at the event that we absolutely loved (except for the beer, of course), I’m putting Bayani Brew on top of our list. Dubbed as Filipino iced tea, their line of products are made of nutritious, local ingredients from Gawad Kalinga Enchanted Farm in Bulacan. Their section at the UTT was mostly crowded because they were very enthusiastic in telling people about their products. And it’s good to see that many were genuinely interested, including us. 🙂
We were given a taste of 2 of their iced tea flavors. The original variant was a combination of calamansi, lemongrass and pandan. It has this refreshing aroma, and as soon as I took a sip, the exciting combination wanted me to drink some more.
The other flavor was Purple Leaf, brewed from sweet potato, purple leaf tops and lemongrass. What made this iced tea pink was the talbos ng kamote extract. It changes color after brewing, as we were told, thus, staying true to Bayani Brew’s promise of no artificial colors or flavors. If you like your iced tea with an extra dash of sweetness, you’d definitely love this one.
Ron Dizon, the Social Enterprise Head of Bayani Brew, said that they haven’t officially launched Bayani Brew yet, but the price is Php 35 per bottle when they become more readily available here in Metro Manila.
There’s one thing that Ron said that resonated in me – the fact that foreigners are more aware about the hard work of our very own Filipino farmers and the abundance of quality local ingredients that we have available. The beautiful lady pictured above is French, and she was very eager to tell us about the product and what they do, which is just amazing. That’s why we appreciate events like the Ultimate Taste Test where those businesses who can’t go on full-blast marketing are given a chance to let us know that they exist or what they have to offer.
Mac’s Deli Vigan Empanada
There were two (2) purveyors who were serving empanadas that day, but we were taken by Mac’s Deli Vigan Empanada. It made me deeply miss Vigan (we were there last 2010 and we can’t wait to go back) and our lunch at Vigan Empanadaan where we got to try their famous empanada.
Mac’s Deli’s empanada was oh-so flavorful. I was slightly overwhelmed by the amount of onions I got in my empanada (which I later learned, I could’ve asked for less), but it was still very authentic Ilocos Empanada. I especially love the ‘individual togetherness’ of the egg and Vigan longganisa, if you get my drift. 😉
This made me remember that I forgot to write about our Vigan / Ilocos Sur food trip here. *sigh* Now, that’s an excuse to really go back. 😉
There were too many savory food items that were served that day, so we’ll just go through them quickly. It was total food mayhem for me that night – and I meant that in a good way. There were just too many delicious food everywhere! Seriously! I wished Ken was there with me. 🙁
The Plaza Premium Roast Angus Corned Beef
Who said you can’t enjoy fine dining food at the comforts of your own home? Well, The Plaza, through their Go Gourmet enterprise, allows us to do just that. At the UTT, they gave us a taste of one of their high quality products, Premium Roast Angus Corned Beef.
It was savory and juicy, almost to a point of melting in my mouth. I love, love, love it! Even the pandesal they used to serve were soft and fluffy, which complemented the Angus corned beef very well.
- The Plaza Catering (www.theplazacatering.com) Go Gourmet:
gogourmet (at) theplazacatering.com / 890-8446
SkewU – USDA Angus Beef Tapa
The pieces of beef tapa were real juicy and flavorful. I could’ve used a big serving of rice and a sunny-side up egg to partner this with. 😀
I’m not sure if theirs was the same Angus beef tapa we had when we were last at Mercato, but theirs definitely makes it to my top favorites. 🙂
Hillside Ranch – Corned Beef Brisket and Slow-roasted Beef Belly
A fellow foodie highly recommended Hillside Ranch‘s products, so I made sure I still had a big appetite when we came to their section. The meat display alone made my mouth water.
I can’t honestly pick a favorite between the two because they’re equally good. They were both succulent and packed with flavors. I wished they were warm though when we got to them, but considering the quality of the meat even after hours of being out there for us to consume, I’m looking forward to serving this for dinner or next time I have friends over.
Each pack of their corned beef brisket or beef belly is sold at Php 500. The meats are fully cooked and microwaveable, which will make it a breeze to serve them. I hope they’ll soon be available at supermarkets or groceries in Metro Manila. Right now, I only know they’re available at Essel Supermarket in Pampanga and Trellis restaurants here in Metro Manila.
Baked by Anita – Wild Mushroom Pie with Gruyere and Truffle Oil
I expected Baked by Anita to serve a new cupcake flavor, but I was surprised to see they decided to go for something savory. I enjoyed the deep, earthy flavors of the bite-sized pie I got. Not a big fan of truffle oil, but combining it with the mushrooms worked pretty well.
Carlo’s Kitchen – Crunchy Belly
After devouring meat upon meat, we had to cap the night with something sweet. Thankfully, we had many to choose from, and here are our top favorites:
Masatami Shave Ice
If there’s one dessert item that day that I would love to have seconds or thirds of, it’ll be Masatami Shave Ice. As soon as we saw what they were offering and the flavors available, we got excited.
Since we wanted to try different flavors, I went for the Swiss Cheese, while Alex, who initially wanted to try the Langka variant, chose Peanut and Black Sesame Duo because of the sample displayed at the counter.
The texture of the shave ice (yes, not shaved; this originated from Hawaii) is very fine, which is why it absorbs flavors or syrups way better than crushed ice (snow cones). Both flavors we chose were very yummy that, I think, we spent the most time eating them than the other desserts we had because we just couldn’t let go of the generous servings we got. Oh, and Michelle, the woman behind Masatami Shave Ice, was also very personable. Well, all the Michelles I know are like that. 😉
- Masatami Shave Ice branches: Glorietta 4, SM Mall of Asia, Robinsons Galleria and Robinsons Magnolia (I hope they open a branch in SM North Edsa too)
- Masatami Shave Ice on Facebook
New Zealand Natural Premium Ice Cream
One of the very last desserts we had at the Ultimate Taste Test was New Zealand Natural premium ice cream. I remember enjoying every spoonful, like a kid. We got to try the Hokey Pokey and Chocolate Ecstasy flavors, and they were both yummy and creamy.
I particularly loved the crunchy butterscotch balls in the Hokey Pokey. I can eat this ice cream all day! The Chocolate Ecstasy was true to its name – a sinful mix of chocolate fudge and NZN’s chocolate ice cream will leave you in bliss. Pure chocolate bliss. 🙂
Moshi Moshi – Green Tea Cheesecake
I am a self-confessed cheesecake addict and I’ve grown to love green tea, so I was certainly pleased by Moshi Moshi‘s Green Tea cheesecake.
I would’ve preferred they take the green tea flavor up a notch. However, considering it’s an acquired taste, it might not appeal to most people.
Anyway, as soon as we ate the bite-sized serving of their green tea cheesecake, we instantly agreed it goes straight to our top favorites. 😉
Frisch Liquor Ice Cream
Before we decided to end our tasting, I dragged my friend to Frisch to try their liquor ice cream. If you don’t know yet, I revel in desserts infused with wine and spirits, so I just can’t miss them. 😀
We tried their Carami de Cerveza, their newest creation, and Choco Rumboozle. Since my male friend doesn’t drink and I do (I also find it amusing that women are behind Frisch – I LOVE IT! Women who know how to handle their alcohol 😉 ), I had most of his serving. But, he first pointed out that he enjoyed both flavors because the alcohol wasn’t as overwhelming as he thought it’ll be.
For some reason, I wasn’t able to take a photo of our liquor ice cream. I think I was enjoying too much that it slipped my mind, so the photo above is the only thing I have. 😀
Frisch Liquor Ice Cream will be perfect to serve at a party. I mean at an adult party. The luscious goodness of the ice cream, mixed in with the subtle intoxicating effect of the alcohol, makes for an unforgettable experience. 😉
The Fruit Garden Jams
Their Berry Dream and Tropical Paradise jams are the best I’ve ever had! I also adore their packaging. Great to give as gifts this holiday season.
Villa del Conte Pralines
Between the milk chocolate with hazelnut chips and dark chocolate with coffee cream filling pralines, I almost fell in love with the second. Almost. 😉 I guess I was hoping for more bitterness, but both were very delightful.
Panchados – Mechado on Pandesal
My nanay cooks a mean mechado, so I have high standards when it comes to this dish. With that said, I still liked the flavors of Panchados‘, especially with that Queso de Bola topping.
San Miguel Beer
Oh, I had 3 bottles of beer that night. Thank goodness for non-drinkers. 😀 I had one Cerveza Negra and 2 Premium All-Malt. I completely forgot my friend doesn’t drink, otherwise, I could’ve taken a bottle of San Miguel Super Dry to pair with the corned beef, Angus Beef Tapa and the other meats we had that night. Anyway, it was all good. A perfect ending to my Saturday night. 🙂
I’d have to say that the food purveyors at the 2nd Ultimate Taste Test in Rockwell were very generous with their servings, not to mention that there were also many who invited us to come back if we wanted more. We didn’t get to do that though ’cause we were already full from all the ones we’ve already tasted. 😀
All in all, it was a very fun afternoon of food discoveries and a perfect time to bond with a long-time friend who I haven’t seen for ages! Alex, you’re the perfect food trip buddy alternate. Hahaha 😀 Just kidding. Thanks for joining me! 🙂
So glad to see fellow food bloggers and foodies there too. And, lastly, thank you to Anton and Rache Diaz of Our Awesome Planet, and Spanky of Juice.ph for the invite. 🙂
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