Eating is obviously the main event at a gathering of ladies from the International Wine and food Societyâ€¦so it is no surprise that the hybrid tea/merienda last weekend was some major eating extravaganza. On arrival at the Legarda home, we were greeted with a bar filled with three choices of cold drinks: Iced Lemon Grass, Iced Basil Tea and Iced Gumamela Tea. Hmmm, interesting, but not my cup of tea, as I like tea that comes from tea leaves. But kudos for the choices and I am sure with some time I would get to like most of the choices on offer. Continuing on the beverage selection, along with the merienda proper, they served Hot Tarragon Tea, Hot Mint Tea, and thank goodness for me, some nice Hot Chocolate. While walking around the home on a brief tour, waiters followed us around with platters of Tita Moningâ€™s Warm Queso de Bola Toasts that are really quite good. I think Mrs. MM ate half a plate, frankly, while I remained steadfast in my goal to eat at least one of every food item presented that afternoonâ€¦so I had just one QdeB toastâ€¦ah, such self control I gloatedâ€¦
Next up, the merienda proper and I decided to the start with the savory buffet which included a SUPERB pancit guisado that was light, clean on the palate, delicious with kalamansi and clearly a well-honed/perfected recipe that they should be proud of. The pancit was delicious; and I like pancit so I am curious how they managed to get this just â€œsoâ€ right. I passed on the homemade Dinuguan with Puto Manapla (still have those dinuguan fears), but Mrs. MM reports the dinuguan was also very good. Finally, the savory buffet had small Lumpia Ubod that were good, albeit a tad on the sweetish side and with the easier to make egg based wrapper rather than the elusive drier wrapper I have given up on learning how to make for myself. I only managed to get a photograph of the buffet with the dishes still covered so I apologize that you have to imagine the three dishes I write about aboveâ€¦
Kakanins were a major group of offerings on the afternoonâ€™s menu and besides the budbud kabog that I brought along (in two versions, using white and muscovado brown sugar), there was an utterly superb Sapin Sapin by Jessie Sicongco which was unusually white through and through and not the colorful version I grew up with. It was light, flavorful, layered and delightful. Yum. We also had kutchinta from Antipolo, White puto Kalasiao and Bibingka Pinipig (the first time I had ever tried this delicacy). Needless to say, I skipped the budbud and had a serving of everything else, not to mention taking home some of the extra Sapin Sapin for The Kid.
As if that wasnâ€™t enough caloric intake for an afternoon, there was still one more buffet to â€œtackle.â€ The â€œDessertâ€ sideboard or buffet included a selection of Spanish inspired desserts from a bakery in Quezon City (I will add the name when i remember it, MILA HELP!?) that included Tarta de Madrid, Assorted Madrilenos, St Jorge, Canarios, Moritos and Naranja. Hot Ensaimada from Chef Gene Gonzalezâ€™s mother was also served off of silver trays and La Cocina de Tita Moningâ€™s famous Bread Pudding and some Masa Podrida were also on offer. Egads! Yes, I did actually try every single one of theose desserts! The ensaimada was very good, though again on the fluffier, more cake-y side than bready, and the masa podrida brought bake childhood memories for Mrs. MM whose major doma/cook used to make as well but with brilliant homemade mango jam sandwiched in-between. The Spanish desserts were good and reminiscent of several decades ago sweets but they all started tasting like one anotherâ€¦I think the sponge cake base was the same for several of the treats. Never mind, they were good as well and would satisfy anyone with a serious sweet tooth! Wow! Now thatâ€™s what you call a serious merienda/tea!!! Thank you so much to the IWFS Ladies Chapter for inviting me and Mrs. MM and to La Cocina de Tita Moning for such a wonderful afternoon with excellent food/sweets!