A taste of Australia at The Peninsula Manila, January 25-February 3

Mark your calendars as The Peninsula Manila showcases Australia’s glorious cuisine starting Friday this week (January 25) until February 3, 2013. The hotel will be flying in talented master chefs Greg Doyle, Steven Kelly, Nic Waring and Adam Mathis who will present a special menu at The Pen’s Old Manila and the buffet outlet Escolta. Likewise, there will be barbecue by the pool and kitchen party with Chef Doyle. All dining guests who sample “Tasting Australia 2013″ will also have the opportunity to win a round-trip ticket for two to Sydney courtesy of Qantas Airways.

Having been fortunate to visit Australia in 2011, I only have good things to say about their food: the freshest produce, really sinful desserts and a melting pot of culinary flavors that can only be traced to the diverse peoples who have inhabited this continent Down Under.

Just to give you an idea: “Australian cuisine is a relatively recent phenomenon. The foodstuffs of Australia carry a strong influence from people around the world. It all started with Europeans migrating to Australia and taking with them the cooking styles of their homeland, which helped create a rich diversity of Australian flavors. Migrants from North Africa and the Mediterranean brought with them their love for couscous, pickled lemons and tahini, while the rush of settlers from India, China, Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia and a myriad other nations brought their own distinct styles. As a final flourish, there was the ‘discovery’ of bush ingredients that Australian aborigines had foraged and used for thousands of years.”

We had the chance to relish a sampling of what’s to come for The Pen’s Tasting Australia 2013 … this was the best meal I had last week! The main course was this paper bark smoked Tajima Wagyu beef which wasn’t like anything I’ve ever tasted. There’s really nothing like a darn good cut of tender, exquisite beef!

smoked wagyu

This was how the whole plate looked like. The smoked wagyu was paired with a savory braised lamb shank pie and accompanied by what the menu called “minted mushy peas, bush tomato fondue, macadamia dust honey-truffle glazed beets, and sweet potato.” Needless to say, the whole thing made me feel I was eating only the best of what’s out there in the Oz outback – Australia being the biggest beef producer in the world.

duo of Australian lamb & wagyu

Prior to our Wagyu interlude, I was already sent to Cloud Nine by the appetizer: Tasmanian Ocean Trout Confit topped with goat’s cheese, spinach rocket salad and lemon myrtle snow (fancy-sounding, I know!) I love fish and seafood and I was too naive to think this “trout” was salmon, LOL. I learned that this is one dish made famous by a Sydney chef, Tetsuya Wakuda.The trout is marinated in olive oil and then baked at the lowest temperature, with oven door open, so that it retains its fresh orange color.An absolute must-try!

oceantrout

The mignardises (read: bite-sized desserts) made me feel like a child being treated to her own candy jar. I recognized the lamington, nougat, macaron and of course, Tim Tams!

Aussie dessert selection

By the time the actual dessert arrived, I’ve reached my sugar quota for the day. But this Oz Pavlova with wattle seed cream and sugar bark was still worth tasting. How can you resist?

Oz Pavlova

For inquiries and reservations on the Tasting Australia 2013 promotion, call The Peninsula Manila at telephone number 887-2888 extension 6694 (restaurant reservations), email diningpmn@peninsula.com or visit the official website peninsula com

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Most of us miss out on life's big prizes. The Pulitzer. The Nobel. Oscars. Tonys. Emmys. But we're all eligible for life's small pleasures. A pat on the back. A kiss behind the ear. A full moon. An empty parking space.A crackling fire. A great meal. A glorious sunset. Hot soup. Cold beer. Don't fret about copping life's grand awards. Enjoy its tiny delights. There are plenty for all of us.

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