Monday, August 8, 2011

Impromptu Italian dinner with Margarita Fores

Today was spent mostly planning for our wonderful TRAVELIFE Italy Night with Margarita Fores, which is scheduled for September 8 at Whitespace along Pasong Tamo Extension. We had a big general meeting at 11 am today with all the key parties involved in the actual planning of the event, and I was so happy that we've been able to get some of the best people in the fields of sounds, lights and videos to work with us on an amazing multimedia entertainment.

Madame Silvana Fornari, wife of the Italian Ambassador, and the Embassy of Italy were there in full force to provide support and great ideas on how to make Travelife Italy Night a simply wonderful celebration of Italian life. And I've also just had a peek at the degustation menu that Gaita is planning for this event, and it looks mouth-wateringly delicious. It really made me hungry for good pasta, all of a sudden.

Fortunately, I didn't have to wait too long for that heavenly bowl of pasta. For in the early evening, I was back at a meeting with Gaita Fores to shoot our television commercials for Travelife Italy Night. We had lots of fun doing it and were laughing half the time, especially after a bottle of Italian red wine was opened -- which incidentally was from Alex Lichaytoo of Bacchus Epicerie, which is also a valued partner of Travelife Italy Night and the Travelife Gastronomic Tour of Italy -- and we started taking sips in between takes.

with Margarita Fores
on September 8
is co-sponsored by
the Embassy of Italy
together with
HSBC, Bacchus Epicerie,
Etihad, and Asian Food Channel (AFC)
and with
Ferrari, Maserati, Vespa,
Business Mirror and Digital Daze.

Then, as part of our shoot and just because she got inspired to do so, Gaita went back into her kitchen and whipped out two great big bowls of pasta in something like ten minutes. Talk about Italian made easy. We'd already been nibbling all night on potato chips and sandwiches, which I personally thought was dinner. I was full but when I saw Gaita making pasta -- how could I resist? This was pasta from the master chef herself.

"Italian food in Italy isn't fussy," she said. "Pasta is made with simple ingredients so that Italians can really taste the noodles."

Well, she made two pastas for us tonight. One was an incredibly tasty pasta with a sauce made out of cut-up zucchini and onions, and some garlic. The other was a creamy pasta made with butter, cream, a handful of asparagus, a dash of salt, and a quick grating of Parmesan cheese. Absolutely delicious.

I watched Gaita deftly whip up the two sauces and observed how the garlic didn't go in first. "The garlic didn't go in first?" I asked. She nodded to indicate no. "Lots of dishes don't require garlic to go in first," she replied. "We learned how to put garlic in first from the Spaniards, but the Italians and other nationalities don't necessarily do this unless they're specifically sauteing something in garlic. "

I had to smile. I remembered how sometime back, my friend J had watched me cook something one weekend night and I'd put the garlic in third, and he'd gone on and on about how garlic should have gone into the pan first. I'd improvised on some well-known chef's recipe, you see, and this chef had told me specifically to put the garlic in third, among a line of ingredients. Well, J as usual thought he knew best (even if he doesn't cook), and I had to put up with this garlic issue for a couple of days until it died a natural death. Well, tonight I made a mental note to (humorously) bring up the garlic thing with him again sometime, now that even Gaita was not necessarily putting garlic in first.

We ate these in the kitchen, standing around with plates in our hands and the large bowls of freshly made pasta in the middle. There was a large 36-month wheel of Parmesan cheese nearby and a plate of jamon slices which afterwards we used as a topping for one of the pasta. It was a perfect and perfectly simple Italian meal, and it reminded me of just how enjoyable traveling around Northern Italy with Gaita will be, when we go on the Travelife Gastronomic Tour of Italy in September (October 11-19). Gaita has a real passion for food and a love for Italy, so it will be such a treat to travel around foodie places with her. If you are thinking of joining this tour, book now as we're closing soon. And you'll still make it for Travelife's Schengen visa appointment in two weeks' time.

Join our Italy events this year.

with Margarita Fores
and the Embassy of Italy & Bacchus Epicerie
September 8 at Whitespace

TRAVELIFE Gastronomic Tour of Italy
October 11-19

For reservations and information, please contact:
Bernice at TRAVELIFE
813-8400/ 892-2620


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