HAVE you ever had a cup of warm red wine drink – not warm as in it came from a warm storage place, but warm as in warmed and served in a coffee/tea cup instead of a wine glass? Have you ever wondered what Turkish Delight (which is repeatedly mentioned in The Chronicles of Narnia) looks and tastes like? Do you know that our childhood favorites, marshmallows and meringues, can actually be elevated to gourmet status?
Well, a few weeks ago, I got the chance to savor a cup of Scandinavian Drink, which is a combination of brandy, red wine, cinnamon and orange peel, at Mandarin Deli during the Open House that showcased Mandarin Oriental Manila’s Christmas offerings for 2013 to its corporate accounts, friends and colleagues. The different types of Christmas hampers, designed to fit different budgets, were displayed right outside the Mandarin Deli, by the Captain’s Bar, while the Christmas goodies, cakes, savories, chocolates and sweets lined a buffet table inside Mandarin Deli so that guests got to not just look at them but also taste them.
Imagine having Dresdener Stollen (Php790), Traditional English Fruit Cake (Php780), Traditional Mince Pies (Php320 for a Box of 6), Caramelized Macadamia Nuts and Caramelized Pistachio Nuts (Php640 for a 100-gram can), Christmas Cookies (Php370 for Triple Chocolate, Melting Moments, Chocolate Macadamia or Assorted Cookies in small can, and Php680 for Assorted Cookies in large can), Gingerbread Shield (Php320 for a small one, and Php510 for a large one), Traditional English Fruit Pudding (Php790 in a ceramic container), Yule Log (Php1,580), Assorted Macarons (Php320 for a Box of 6 and Php590 for a Box of 12), Assorted Meringues and Cinnamon Meringues (Php210 for three large pieces), Chocolate Breadsticks (Php290 per can), Turkish Delight (Php200 for a Box of 6 and Php520 for a Box of 12) and Assorted Marshmallows (Php310) on a buffet table that you can try to your heart’s delight.
On another buffet spread, there were Homemade Jams (Php430 for a 150-gram bottle and Php1,100 for a 600-gram bottle), MO Pâté de Canard Noilly Prat (Php995 for a 200-gram decorative container), MO Pâté de Campagne (Php880 for a 200-gram container) with Knacker Bread (Php180 per pack), also for tasting.
Also on display were Chocolate Santas (Php450 to Php780, depending on design), Chocolate Candles (Php1,280 per piece) and Gingerbread House (Php1,180 for a small one and Php1,980 for a large one).
For tasting, I picked small pieces of Traditional English Fruit Cake, Caramelized Pistachio Nuts, Traditional English Fruit Pudding, Turkish Delight and Knacker Bread. I’ve always loved Mandarin’s Knacker Bread, which is a very thin sheet of bread or biscuit studded with sesame seeds. I love it for its crunch, especially when freshly baked, and you can just break off mouthfuls whenever you feel like popping a piece in your mouth. I also bit into half a piece of Turkish Delight, which is like a pink-colored gelatin-like confection with a powdery surface. I had them with a cup of Scandinavian Drink, which isn’t really among the Christmas offerings of Mandarin, and found it to be an incredibly comforting warm drink fit for the cold weather during the holidays.
Mandarin Oriental’s director for communications Charisse Chuidian convinced me to try the Marshmallows, which came in Calamansi, Passionfruit and Raspberry flavors, and they were the big surprise of the night for me. They were little clouds of colorful and flavorful confections that I surprisingly enjoyed. My favorite was the Calamansi Marshmallow, which had this sour-ish citrusy flavor that you don’t usually find in regular marshmallows.
As for the Christmas Hampers, Mandarin Oriental Manila has five types to choose from: Gourmet Collection (Php9,98, Christmas Collection (Php7,78, Yuletide Treasures (Php5,78, Season’s Delight (Php3,48 and Season’s Treats (Php2,38. The hampers combine wines with the hotel’s freshly baked Christmas goodies, Deli signatures, culinary classics and chocolates.
The kitchen is likewise making carvings, such as Whole Roasted Turkey (with chestnut stuffing, assorted vegetables, gravy and cranberry sauce), for Php1,120 per kilogram; Honey Glazed Ham (off the bone or baked in bread crust) at Php1,800 per kilogram; Ham (on the bone or baked in bread crust with assorted vegetables and pineapple gravy) at P1,560 per kilogram; Whole Roast U.S. Beef Rib Eye (with assorted vegetables, mashed potato and a choice of red wine or black pepper sauce) for Php3,370 per kilogram; Baked Leg of Lamb (on the bone or baked in cread crust, with assorted vegetables and pineapple gravy) at P2,130 per kilogram); and Norwegian Salmon Fillet (baked with spinach in puff pastry or in a salt crust, with assorted vegetables, parsley potatoes, and a choice of lemon butter or dill sauce) for Php3,250 per kilogram.
These Christmas treats are available at the Mandarin Oriental’s Mandarin Deli and at Rockwell Center’s Power Plant Mall until the end of December, 2013. The number to call is 750-8888.
(Mandarin Oriental Manila is located at Makati Ave. cor. Paseo de Roxas, Makati City; with telephone number 750-8888.)