While a surge of traffic persist on the freeways of USA some 7000 miles away, an intimate dinner akin to a thanksgiving celebration was whipped up by Pepita’s Kitchen and the Bluewater Panglao Beach Resort team on the paradise island of Bohol. It was aptly named Lechon Degustacion.
Friends from media, travel industry, and differing fields
The degustation consisted of 10 courses and surprises in between.
Gayuma ni Pepitas: Calamansi juice with local liqueur. It starts off as a cotton candy in which you personally pour over the calamansi juice and liqueur. A pretty nifty way to enjoy a welcome drink!
Pica Pica ng Pepitas is composed of Lucban Kiping with Squid Ink Aioli and Tarlac Dilis, Balut Salpicao on Cracker, and Lechon Scone with Mr. Thomas Butter
Surprise! While roaming around Bohol, Chef Dedet stumbles upon this exotic local treat called Chichaworms. It is actually cultured worms, processed, and fried to perfection. Curious tourists buy packs of this as a pasalubong to friends and family. She thought of including it for the night’s degustation.
Nata de Atchara Salad is composed of mixed greens with Nata de Coco ng Pampanga. It is a mesh of textures (chewy Nata de Coco, crisp greens, crunchy Kornik and cashews) and bursting with light flavors of the Philippines.
Hiplog is a combo name for hipon (shrimp) and itlog na maalat. (salted egg) One of the most notable dishes. I bet this would be a great topping for pasta.
Puso ng Cebu with Tuslob Buwa. What’s Tuslob Buwa, might you ask? It is a popularized exotic Cebuano dish made of spices and pig’s brain. Easier to take it in when you think it’s only fat swimming in sauce.
Halang-halang ng Bol-anon. Halang when translated means hot and spicy. Halang-halang is a local soup made of spicy coconut milk and native chicken. Chef Dedet’s version however, had noodles, which surprisingly, was a marvelous treat!
Sipit sa Sarap: Crab claw in gulong-gulong sauce. This is THE BOMB. Totally yummers! While the mystery ingredients will forever ramble my mind, I can still imagine the sauce in my mouth.
Palate Cleanser: Ginger and salabat sorbet a.k.a. the calm before the (Stuffed Lechon) storm. Growing up in the Philippines, ice candy was a way of coping up with the intense summer heat. For the Lechon Degustaction night, it was a tool for paving way for the dinner’s star.
A little bit of shimmer. Here, chef dabs edible gold dust on the crunchy lechon skin.
All set for service! Pepitas Lechon de Leche has been awarded in London as the tastiest dish in Asia. The tasty and tender meat marries a serving of truffle rice. First bite in and I died for a while and went to lechon heaven.
How is it possible to have lechon again as the Cholesterol Sweeper? The team paired it off with greens, veggies, and spices! A doctor seated in front of me attested to the nutritional value of this set so who am I to question more?
Dessert time! It came in three: Super Suman, Ginataang Brulee, and Buko Pandan Macaroon. A cookie shaped as Tarsier was too cute to eat too! Side note: Pepita’s Kitchen’s Super Suman has been named one of the best desserts in the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
Mini version of a Lechon (suckling pig) as a souvenir. Cute, right?
Chef Dedet could not be commended more for the greatness of her craft. She has crossed borders, brought stuffed lechons, reaped awards, and yet she continues to infuse local food discoveries with her ideas. What makes her degustation one of the best is the warmth the diners feel. The dinner setup could be in a restaurant of a five-star resort or somewhere else, but the homey vibe her guests feel is crystal clear. One could see it in their grins and the huge sigh of joy after digging in a great meal.
Bohol Bloggers Collective Team ( @paolorigotti, @gypsyesprit, @iboholana) with @thehungrychef and the hospitable Chef Dedet.
Bumped into Tina, a classmate from elementary school!
Thumbs up for a hayop sa sarap dinner!
Chef Dedet, Bluewater Panglao Beach Resort, and Pepita’s Kitchen team, thank you for the delight that was last night. See you again on this weekend’s tree-lighting event!