Good friends and serious foodies (and wine specialists, literally) were coming to dinner in Cebu. They had flown in from Manila, had guests from Hong Kong in tow, plus another visiting American couple (she a food, wine and travel writer and he a photographer) were joining us as well. All in all, we were twelve at the massive mahogany picnic table I had built specially for such occasions. The friends own and manage the wine merchant Bacchus, and the food store Bacchus Epicerie, and we have known them for decades. So while it was to be a special dinner, it was also going to be a fairly relaxed one. We were putting on the meal (a lechon feast, what else?) and they were bringing the wine. The setting was in the yard under a huge kapok tree, the table simply set with white plates and country style tumblers (no wine glasses at the office) and lots of votive candles, and the shrubs and foliage nearby lit with spotlights and kerosene sulu lamps…
Just before dusk, we placed three tall glass vases on the table; each holding 2-3 dozen yellow roses arranged at sharp angles. The flowers would later disappear into the evening darkness, as the votive candles weren’t enough to illuminate their small blooms. But at least the light in the vases reflected nicely, and guests could still see and converse with everyone around and in front of them.
The menu was anchored by a classic Zubuchon lechon, the largest we make for retail sale. It was, as you can clearly see here, served and consumed while steam was still coming out of its butt, the best way I know how to enjoy a lechon. We had a second experimental lechon de leche that was cooked butterflied and spread out, basted simply with herbs and butter, that the guests all thought was a hit. Fresh kinilaw, a five pork fried rice, salads, and desserts rounded off the typical lechon feast a la Marketman. And the surprise of the evening? The wine that guests brought to pair up with the lechon. It was a nice revelation, a perfect match for the richness of the lechon skin and meat. I have always wondered what wine might go nicely with lechons, and now I have the answer. You may wish to guess what that wine was in the comments below, the answer up in the next post… :)