When I noticed the small advertisement in the newspaper for another food show, I have to admit, I was a bit skeptical. I am genetically drawn to these shows like flies to sugared water, but in recent years, they have been incredibly disappointing. It didn’t help that in the summer heat, traffic and general hassle of getting there, one was already in a bothered mood. The cost of entry for the public, at PHP100 was extremely reasonable, and if you owned a food business, you could have gotten in for free but they ask for your details which I don’t like giving. The entire first floor of the convention center was filled with stalls, many with repetitive local items, and horrific packaging (my pet peeve for local products) but as I went up and down every single stall I started to realize this wasn’t just any food show, this had more “meat” to it than usual.
With exhibitors mainly from the Philippines but also from 21 other APEC countries, there were booths from North and South America (mostly brochures) and other parts of the Pacific. You had to scan through the mundane to find little gems of discovery here and there.
I slowly started to buy samples of this and that, ranging from sanity (hahaha, autospellcheck, that is “sinamay”) bags to lechon trays to roselle tea and drinks, to chili sauces, sugar, etc. But an old friend from the Legaspi market told me to head up to the second floor to take a look at their “display of products in the middle of the exhibit area”. Thank goodness she did, or I might have been tempted to head home after the first floor’s shopping.
The second floor had mostly serious booths of local producers looking to export their goods. And deals were definitely being made. But the food display in the center of the hall was utterly stunning. Stunning. Far better than any food display at the recently concluded Madrid Fusion that was so hyped in the media.
This display not only included a dizzying array of the best of local manufactured food products, but they were displayed in an impressive array of new, old, wood, steel, woven vessels that was a joy to explore…
I took lots of photos with my phone camera, so the quality isn’t the best. But just look at the way they displayed the goods… I wonder who was responsible for this set-up, a huge BRAVO! to them. Up top, various forms of locally produced sugar and sweeteners. Next photo, a grouping of old candlesticks and some black baskets. Next, some jams, honeys and preserves. Otap and other baked goodies. Spices displayed on wooden spoons of all sizes, new and somewhat old. Different varieties of rice displayed in old or made to look old ifugao bowls an vessels.
Local nuts and snacks.
Green mangoes and bananas displayed on stark flat white matte porcelain leaves. A really nice juxtaposition.
Chilies, herbs and produce, with some bottles of vinegar in the background.
More spices and vinegar.
The overall feel of the display was nicely dramatic. I am always so enthusiastic when folks go out of their way to present things in a new light.
A bowl of sineguelas in season never looked so good.
Local liquor companies are definitely ramping up the varieties they offer… this one a coffee liqueur called “Intramuros”…
Several artisanal chocolate producers are also coming into their own and having the ripe cacao pods just made so much obvious sense.
And finally, a table with carved wood and fresh pineapples, and associated products. If only to see this section of the show, I would make time to head over to SMX to see it. Show is on until the 24th.