Saturday, February 2, 2013

Of Feasts, Farms and Feeling 12 (Part II)

This post is the second of two about Moveable Feast's debut event in Malipayon Farms.  Click here to read the first post.

After a walk through the farm, punctuated by lots of delightful little surprises like unexpectedly tasty edible flowers and the cutest baby carrots I ever did see, it was finally time for lunch. And not a moment too soon, either, because we were starving.

Itty-bitty baby carrot!
Tatsoi (Bless you).

Radish sprouts--my favorite!

Tarragon flowers. Just pluck and eat!
Herbs. They're not just for salads anymore.
We walked back to the main grounds and were treated to the sight of a long table amidst a stunning backdrop of fields and sky and the promise of a delicious meal to come. Prepared by guest chef Eugene Raymundo, the menu would showcase the best local and organic produce available.

This being Moveable Feast's debut event, I would be lying if I said there wasn't a kink here and there. For instance, in anticipation of an overcast day, they had decided to forego the use of a tent for the lunch area so as not to hamper the view.

However, the sun came out in full force, and the heat was unrelenting.  Undeterred, we whipped out the white umbrellas MF had thoughtfully supplied us with and like the rest of the guests, I quickly mastered the art of eating with one hand and holding a parasol in the other, all the while feeling like a character in Downton Abbey (from upstairs, not downstairs).

The first course was fried kesong puti (local white cheese made from carabao milk) and blue cheese cakes drizzed with organic truffle honey and herbed grissini. The honey really made this dish. Unfolding on your tongue with layer upon layer of fresh and truffl-y sweetness, it was a far cry from the kind sold in plastic teddy bears.

The second course was my particular favorite: salad greens, baby cucumbers, delicate sprouts and tarragon flowers harvested from the grounds just hours before serving, strewn with pili nut brittle and drizzled with a lemon vinaigrette.

The pasta course was probably the most interesting, a trio of kamote (sweet potato) gnocchi and baby prawns in a decadent aligue (crab fat) sauce. Personally, I've never been a fan of gnocchi. Pasta is pasta, potatoes are for mashing w/ cream and butter, never the twain shall meet, yadda yadda. But these gnocchi were definitely more interesting than usual. As for the sauce, I just wanted to spoon it all over everything else on my plate. And then drink the rest out of a coffee cup afterwards.

The pasta was accompanied by a Gunderloch Riesling 2011, offered by 5 1/2 Twists' highly knowledgeable and utterly charming sommelier, Chie Gatchalian.

I'm not big on fruity white wines, which is why I loved this Riesling. It was crisp and refreshing without being too tart or acidic and was a perfect foil for the rich aligue. I thought this sustainably grown wine was a real find, and if I ever come across it again, I'm definitely snagging a few bottles for myself.
Chie Gatchalian of 5 1/2 Twists talks about wine, while Jenny photobombs from the back.
The main course was slow roasted grass-fed rib eye from The Farm Organics, the country's first and only source of certified organic beef. Juicy and fork-tender, the beef had been marinated in bagoong (shrimp paste) and garlic and was served with an Ifugao rice mushroom risotto, cherry tomatoes, baby carrots and radishes. There was also a delicious mustard aioli on the side for slathering.

In between courses, Nonoy and Philip kept disappearing, having discovered they could escape my judgmental eye-rolling to enjoy nicotine breaks and the shade offered by the chef's tent. I promptly followed suit.

"What's so funny?" I asked, seeing them snickering like Beavis and Butthead.

"Hey, I like nature as much as the next guy, but I think we're out of our league here," Philip said.

"How so?"I asked.

"Well, I tried to tell one of the other guests that there was a dead fly on his plate."


"And he said to me, 'Yes, I know. I found it in my water."

At which point, the three of us started giggling like 12-year old fools.

"And it's still there!" he said, right before we collapsed into another fit of giggles.

Nonoy and Philip, aka Beavis and Butthead--my fellow 12-year olds.
Finally, it was time to head back to the welcome area for dessert, coffee and shopping. Greeted by a luscious-looking pan de sal chocolate bread pudding and mounds of Choc-Nut whipped cream, my determination to avoid carbs began to waver. One taste of that cream and it disappeared completely.

"Try it at home," chef Eugene Raymundo said encouragingly. "Choc-Nut and whipped cream. It's easy."

"And now it's gone," I replied after polishing off the last of the jar.
Photo by Philip Agana...
Because MY photo looked like this.  I don't care. Choc-Nut whipped cream. Myyyy preciousssssss.
After filling my lovely Moveable Feast tote bag with fresh lettuce, arugula, micro-greens, herbs and a couple of HUGE rib-eye steaks, it was time to go. Our inner 12-year olds were stuffed, sunburnt and exhausted but happy. Now it was time to put us down for our naps.

Kudos to Jenny Pascual and the rest of the people behind Moveable Feast. I had a great time with old friends, made some new ones and (bonus!) found great suppliers of high-quality organic produce.

I don't intend to miss the next one, and neither should you. This may have been six years in the making, Jenny, but it sure was worth the wait.

For more information, check out:
Moveable Feast for details on their upcoming events and suppliers
Malipayon Farms' Facebook page to get in touch with Gejo Jimenez and/or order organic vegetables and herbs
The Farm Organics to order organic grass-fed beef and pork products


  1. I love baby carrots! Everything looks so nice and healthy.

    Chie was my blockmate in Ateneo. :D

  2. The vegetables were out of this world. I loved her! She was so knowledgeable and so nice, too!

  3. Everything looks great, Johanna,but I will be honest--my eyes are on the Choc-Nut whipped cream.

  4. Dinna, that was my favorite, too. I could have eaten a bowl with a spoon. Oh, wait. I think I did! Thanks for reminding me, I think I'll try making it this weekend. :)