Noche buena without the hassle? Gifts for your foodie friends who have tried them all? Don’t fret—here’s a list to make your taste buds merry and bright throughout the holidays.
Christmas in the Philippines has begun, and a big part of the celebration revolves around food. With so many delicious things on offer, we thought we’d help you narrow down your choices. Here are some of our favorite eats for the season—and beyond.
Instant, but make it gourmet: Berry’s Deli
For entertaining in a rush or preparing gourmet meals but skipping the hard part, Berry Tenchavez Stehmeier’s zero-nitrates sausages, frozen sauces, and ready-to-reheat dishes are timeless favorites the whole family will love. Just mix her four cheese or truffle cream sauce into pasta, or defrost a vacuum-packed tortilla de patatas that is ready to eat at room temperature, and build your menu from there. They also have gift sets that they have already curated and wrapped in nice packaging for you. To order, go to https://berrysdeli.com and on Instagram @berrysdeliph.
Bavarian holiday: Weinachten Platter at Brotzeit
While Filipinos might be the world champions at celebrating Christmas, the Germans are surely not that far behind. Brotzeit has put together a holiday platter with an assortment of meats (there’s boiled AND fried pork knuckles), delicious roast duck, sausages, fried potatoes, and the usual accoutrements. Best with their Schneider Weisse Love Beer (that Brotzeit PH brings in exclusively), gluwein, and kaiserschmarnn that is embellished with fresh berries and generous pours of apple and cranberry sauces. Visit them at their BGC and Alabang branches.
Love, Batangas: The Pork Project Artisan Bottles
A huge pandemic success, Chef Redd Agustin’s Manila drops are sorely missed now that he has decided to refocus his home-based business on solely servicing his hometown of Lipa, Batangas. Luckily, he decided to indulge his city clientele by bottling some of his southern tagalog-leaning cuisine such as his baby hipon sa gata, beef belly and tendon salpicao, Spanish-style sinaing na tulingan, and many more interesting eats. For those who grew up in the provinces of Southern Luzon, these are definitely bottled nostalgia. And for everyone else, they’re a welcome alternative to cheese pimiento spreads. For orders, contact 09174382133 or find them on instagram @theporkproject.
For your fancy friends: Insanely Good chocolate barks and truffles
Its always such a happy surprise when something tastes as good as it looks. In the case of Ria Muñoz’s Belgian chocolate barks and truffles, she made sure that their beautiful packaging matches the delicious things they hold within them. Insanely Good chocolates will surely make great holiday gifts because they’re one of those things that are minimum effort, maximum satisfaction. Oh, and they offer grazing boxes, too, during the holiday gift-giving season! Find them on instagram at @insanely_good.
Start a new tradition: China Mommy’s Christmas Ham
We all have our nostalgic favorites, but when someone comes along that does it better, it’s best to keep an open mind (and tummy). China Mommy’s Christmas ham is juicy, less salty, and has the perfect ratio of meat to fat that, when rendered and glazed with their pineapple sauce, is sure to be the star of your noche buena. One whole ham is approximately a kilo, so it is also the ideal size for smaller gatherings which seem to be the trend these days. Ham drops are scheduled for all Saturdays leading up to Christmas, and you can order your ham through the link on their instagram bio at @chinamommyph.
Noche Buena for two (or three): Filipino classics from MamaRins
Speaking of smaller gatherings, not everyone is going home for the holidays. If you’re staying in the city and want to celebrate with a select few, let Ilongga cook Reena San Diego hook you up with the Filipino classics. Her classic kare-kare has its own cult following which is accompanied by their equally famous guinamos. Complete the filipino feast with their Bakareta, twice-cooked adobo, binagoongan baboy, leche flan, and many more of their family favorites that come from heirloom recipes. To order for delivery, slide into their DMs on instagram at @mamarins2020.
The gift of a stress-free Christmas: Tindeli by Chef Tatung
When you give the gift of food, what you’re really giving is the gift of more time spent with loved ones. Award-winning celebrity chef Myke Tatung’s Filipino deli concept not only has juicy and flavorful sausages, cured meats, and ready-to-eat Filipino Christmas classics like hamon and chicken galantina, but they will box it up for you so it makes a pretty and festive gift. Visit them at their Gateway 2 location or send them a message on instagram at @tindeli.ph for orders.
X-tra special: Salsas Para Casa’s Iberico XO and Romescu
Friends and family know that everything talented chef and entrepreneur Miguel Vecin prepares in his Alabang kitchen is bound to be muy delicioso. Bring some of his Spanish flavors home with you with bottles of his Iberico XO which is pretty much a condiment you put on everything to make them taste even better. He also has a plant-based romescu sauce that is traditionally from Catalunya and used to season all things grilled— from leeks to seafood to steaks. As the name suggests, these are great sauces to have at home, but also special enough to give to your favorite foodie. Contact them through @ibericoxo on instagram.
Sugar-free option that won’t make you sad: Silvanas from Cipriano Sans Rival
The metabolically-challenged and insulin-impaired deserve to have a good time during the holidays, too! What’s great about the sugar-free silvanas of home baker Kris Alcantara Mendoza is that there is no difference in flavor and texture when compared to the regular version. Perhaps less sweet, but no artificial aftertaste— just the exact same high quality product we have come to expect from Cipriano. You can have them in classic butter, triple nut, or both, just place your orders at www.ciprianosansrival.com.
Fuss-free family feast: Guevarra’s by Chef Laudico
Is the holiday stress getting to you? Maybe you can hang up your apron this year and just head on over to the popular San Juan City buffet that is groaning under the weight of their expansive selection of Filipino, Asian, and Western dishes. For the holidays, they have added ever more choices that will transport you back to Christmases past, such as their spaghetti and meatballs, lengua in mushroom sauce, and a chicken galantina that will remind you of lola’s. Some dishes will also be available for party tray pick-ups, but of course nothing beats the celebratory vibe (plus no clean-up) of feasting in their lovely venue. For reservations, contact 09988813200 or go to www.guevarras.com.
Tried and tested party trays: Asian favorites from Ley’s Kitchen
Switch things up in your noche buena spread with the invigorating flavors of Southeast Asia by popular home cook Angel See-Ley. Metro Manila’s well-loved hostesses swear by her crabs that come in many different flavors, as well as an array of noodles, stews, and filipino comfort food. Or, you can spread some holiday cheer by gifting loved ones with unique food choices, like their aromatic beef rendang, Singaporean chili crab with mantou, or a hefty tub of bak kut teh (pork rib soup) that acts as a revitalizing elixir after some epic partying. Message 09178486889 to order.
Cookies for Santa: Ginger cookies from AA Cake Design
One of our favorite scents that signal the holidays is gingerbread, and prolific cake designer Aisa Atilano makes some delicious ones during Christmas season. The little ginger cookie men have that snap one looks for in every bite, lightly dusted and sweetened with sugar.They are beautifully packed in resealable jars and decorated in the prettiest ribbons, stickers, and gift tag. Definitely a lovely gift to give and receive, and if you leave some under your tree for Santa, it just might automatically put you on the nice list for next year. To pre-order, message them on instagram at @aacakedesign.