If you haven’t been to Bacchus Epicerie lately, it’s definitely time for a visit. The store has lots of new arrivals and they always have such a wonderful selection of gourmet food and kitchen items. I am disclosing up front that the owners of Bacchus have been family friends for decades, and I went to high school with one of them, and Mrs. MM went to college with one of them… But friends or not, they have a stunning selection of wine and food so I am more than happy to give the public a head’s up every now and again. I first featured Bacchus (at the Shangrila) in February of 2005, and have done several posts on the company since… First up at Bacchus Epicerie, Rockwell? Some wonderful smoked salmon from New Zealand. Price range? PHP2,500 per kilo and slightly more for smaller packages. Some toasted bagels, a shmear of cream cheese and some of this smoked salmon…heaven. :)
Their glass-fronted freezers were jampacked with premium New Zealand lamb. Meaty foreshanks looked perfect for a slow braised dish. The also had racks of lamb, boneless shoulders and boneless legs of lamb. Price range from PHP730-1,380 a kilo, depending on the cut.
Every single week I get one or two email inquiries about extra-virgin olive oil, and where I get mine. If I don’t still have a stash of cloudy, first pressed oils from Italy courtesy of sister, our travels or other sources, my go-to source is definitely Bacchus Epicerie in Manila for top quality extra-virgin olive oils. I am just finishing off a bottle I got a few weeks ago and it is just world’s apart from grocery labels. If you want to accentuate the freshness of a few spectacular ingredients in a salad, use the finest olive oil and good vinegar… Bacchus Epicerie sells both. I noticed several shelves of De Cecco Extra-Virgin olive oil in the store (a brand I have yet to try) but the owners assure me it is very, very good. And their recommendations have always been good ones…
They also carry a large selection of De Cecco dried pastas, one of my favorites, and I am particularly thankful that they carry Bucatini, a thick noodle with a hole in the middle that is somewhat infuriating to eat, but the only perfect match for a sauce a la matriciana.
I purchased a couple of cans of De Ceddo pomodori as well, as I am eternally on the lookout for good canned tomatoes. I know many of you might think a canned tomato is a canned tomato… but I would disagree, there are some really good canned tomatoes, and almost inevitably, I find they are typically Italian brands that have the highest marks…
I was thrilled to see the shelves well stocked with canned goodies from the Spanish purveyor “Cuca” — and these canned mussels are delicious. I know it sounds a bit bizarre to be eating canned mussels, but with a crusty piece of toast, these extremely flavorful morsels are delicious. On our last trip to Spain, several dozen cans of Cuca made it home in our luggage… Now I can just get them at the mall…
For the several dozen readers who have emailed me about paprika and squid ink for paella, here they are. On the left, colorful tins of spectacular paprika (sweet and hot in stock) for PHP220 each or so. And to the right of the photo, packets or sachets of black squid ink for your black paellas.
I was very intrigued by the canned pasteurized Italian butter, in 500gram tins. I wonder how this compares with the “Bruun” or canned New Zealand butters in terms of flavor and fat content. I promised myself that I would try this soon, but resisted the temptation to get it right then and there.
Some soft spreads flavored with truffle and cheese and mushrooms look like the ultimate no-brainer appetizer for the busy workaholics amongst you. Just spread them on a some bread or crackers and voila! They seemed quite reasonably priced at PHP290 as well.
Tins and tins of Compagnie Coloniale black teas were on one shelf of the store… this French tea has been around for more than a century and a half! I love how some of the gourmet french brands withstand the test of time, and are passed down from generation to generation. We have an antique poster of a Compagnie Colonial advertisement from the early 20th century and it features a Chinese eunuch holding a cup of tea… VERY politically incorrect visual these days, I suspect. :)
Boxes of Compagnie Coloniale green teas have recently joined the line up at Bacchus Epicerie. A brief detour for a Marketman pet peeve… Can’t stores put their (fairly unattractive) price stickers UNDER the box or product? I can’t stand it when they stick it in a prominent part of the box, ruining the aesthetics, and making it hard if you plan to give the item as a gift. It’s so much better if they hide the sticker in a uniform location, like under the item. C&A, that’s constructive criticism for you guys… and your displays would look much better as a result. :)
Bacchus continues to carry that wonderful line of knives by MAC, a Japanese brand…
…and in the past year or less, have brought in Global knives as well. I love my Global knife and am thrilled that you can buy them here now… though you have to save for months to get one. But for a cook, a great knife, properly sharpened, is their finest tool.
You may wish to get a Global “starter set”, with Chef’s knife and two other smaller knives. At PHP9,400, it’s a major investment but they are fantastic knives.