A couple of months ago, I got an urgent message from folks at the Philippine Department of Agriculture inquiring about our jams/preserves. One thing led to another, and the DoA ordered 50 bottles of marmalade for a “special event” coming up in Paris, France in early April. The marmalades were to be part of some “goody baskets” featuring Philippine produce to be handed out to guests, VIPs, etc., including the French Prime Minister. I cooked up the batch of 50 bottles of kalamansi marmalade myself, to ensure they were worthy to be “exported” and they just made the shipment deadline by a day or two.
Actually, the discussions started earlier, when Margarita Fores was trying to convince me to join the team that would put together both a cocktail reception and snazzy lunch at the Musee de Quai Branley, after the opening of an exhibit of Philippine art and artifacts. It was a major event, and frankly, I had visions of lechons gone bad, being roasted in a makeshift pit in some nearby park area… :) Actually, I had previous family commitments so I graciously declined the wonderful opportunity. And with Mrs. MM very much at home in Paris, it would have been a terrific trip.
A few weeks later, with just a week or two before Philippine officials boarded their flights for France, another frantic message from the DoA arrived and they needed another 60 bottles of marmalade, as the guest list had expanded and the loot bags needed to be increased. Again, I arranged to cook the marmalade myself, and the second shipment was airfreighted to Paris.
I didn’t think about it much in the days that followed, until friends who were at the event started tweeting and instagram-ing photos from the spectacular spreads that Gaita and other chefs put out at the reception and cocktail! It was a surprise to find out that not only were the marmalades given out in the loot bags, but Gaita used some as well. The photo up top, a triple cream cheese topped with kalamansi marmalade, blackberries and blueberries. And in some other photos, other jams, dried fruits, and other ingredients from the Philippines.
If you are curious about the rather important museum exhibit entitled “Philippines, archipel de échanges“, check out this youtube video on the exhibit, and check out these blog/posts here and here on the actual reception/food…
Note: Top photo courtesy of ACS who was at the reception. Thanks!