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Cooking and pairing with booze

With restrictions on gatherings slowly lifting, it seems that holidays with our friends and family during this pandemic might be forthcoming. A pairing menu by San Miguel Foods Culinary Center (SMFCC), coupled with drinks from San Miguel Brewery (SMB), Wine Brothers’ Philippines, and Ginebra San Miguel, Inc. (GSMI), just might hit the spot.

The menu was shown off via a Zoom dinner last week by San Miguel. Crostini with a cheese and pimiento spread (made with Magnolia Milky White Cheezee Spread), topped with cubes of Magnolia Milky White Cheese and sliced green olives marinated in olive oil and Ginebra San Miguel Premium Gin served as the first course; this was followed by crostini with Roasted Garlic Butter (Magnolia Gold), and Purefoods Chorizo Bilbao style and onions, stewed in San Miguel Premium All-Malt Beer. Both of these were paired with San Miguel Super Dry, which gave gravitas to their flavors with the crisp notes of the beer.

Pintxos with San Miguel Super Dry

Ring-shaped dumplings ala tortellini came next, filled with cream cheese and spinach on top of an emulsified butter sauce. The sauce was made with Magnolia Gold Butter, Magnolia Full Cream Milk, red onion, beetroot and Ginebra San Miguel Premium Gin. During the webinar, it was suggested to pair this with a Sweet Lemony Martini made with Ginebra San Miguel Premium Gin (demonstrated by GSMI’s mixologist Tabitha Rice) but we found that the gin alone does the job, its sharp, citrusy notes cutting through the rich cream cheese.

The third course was a Magnolia Free Range Chicken marinated for 24 hours in Ginebra’s 1834 Premium Distilled Gin and a blend of herbs and spices, slow-cooked in olive oil, and seared until crispy and golden brown. This was served on top of mashed squash-potato and a pea puree and drizzled with a balsamic reduction. This was paired with Woomera’s Sauvignon Blanc, which gave a liveliness to the dish.

The heaviest course was the Mini Beef Wellington, made with baked Monterey Beef Tenderloin covered in a layer of Purefoods Honeycured Bacon and mushroom duxelles wrapped in a golden puff pastry. This was served with a rich beer gravy made of San Miguel Super Dry. This was paired with 1834 Premium Distilled Gin, with notes of calamansi and sampaguita flowers. The clean-tasting gin, with some palate-cleansing properties and a smooth mouthfeel, cut through the strong and quite salty flavors of this dish, preventing it from being too overpowering.

Finally, a Moist Chocolate Cake in Sweet Red Dark Ganache made with Magnolia’s Devil’s Food Cake Mix (and infused with Woomera’s Sweet Red Wine) was paired with Cerveza Negra — a match made in chocolate heaven. The Cerveza Negra’s coffee and cocoa notes made the pairing seamless.

PAIRED WITH PALE PILSEN

As San Miguel Pale Pilsen is already a fixture of Filipino life, we asked SMB Brewmaster Alan Sienes what could go with it. It’s simple fare: peanuts, cheese found in the fridge, and barbecue.

Meanwhile, SMFCC Corporate Chef Victor “Viboy” Miranda said it goes with “Anything na pang-pulutan na plain na food natin (Anything you can eat while drinking that’s plain).” From their stable of products, he chose their corned beef and bacon.

“Entertaining this holiday season at home does not need to be difficult,” said Leena Tan Arcenas, Culinary Services Manager for SMFCC. “All you need are great quality beverages matched with ‘Madalicious’ recipes,” she said, pointing to the YouTube channel of SMFCC, Home Foodie, which shows recipes made with San Miguel products with a “Madalicious” (a combination of the word “madali” or “easy” in Filipino, and “delicious”) tag.

Those interested in trying out the dishes, most of the recipes can be found here: https://homefoodie.com.ph/recipes. Joseph L. Garcia

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