Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Italy's King of Pasta is coming to Manila

Last Friday night was a work dinner but also not quite, with our good friends at the Makati Shangri-la: Holger Glaser, director of food & beverage, and Erica Sotto, director of communications. We had dinner to discuss all the exciting foodie projects of the Makati Shangri-la over the next few months. However, at the same time, it was a Friday night so we were also able to just wind down and chill out just a little bit.

"We should always have Friday dinner meetings instead," Erica said. "It's just so much nicer to meet like this. There's just something so relaxing about the thought that tomorrow is a weekend."

"Yes," I agreed, "although we at Travelife have to work tomorrow." We had our fully booked Travelife Magazine travel writing workshop called The Joys (and Art) of Travel Writing the following afternoon, and we were all really excited to be able to meet many of our readers and share with them one of our biggest passions in the world.

"Well, come to think of it, so do I," Erica said. She too had to be at the hotel the following day. But we both agreed that a SaturdaBoldy at work is somehow different than a crazy weekday at work.


We had lots of fun discussing all sorts of things related to travel, especially as Holger has stayed in some of the best places in the world. We were comparing notes on Langkawi, which is a favorite island for both of us, and I'd just been to stay at the world-famous Datai last week.

Meanwhile, Holger had stayed at the equally well-known and beautiful Andaman Resort, which is literally next door to the Datai -- as in down the same road -- and it once even used to be managed by the same company as that of the Datai.

"Those really are the two best places in Langkawi," Holger said, and I agreed. "And the Datai has the best beach on the island." The Four Seasons is nice as well, but the problem is that when you're relaxing by the beach over there, you look up and you see the smoke stacks of the cement factory nearby.


But that's another story. Back to Makati Shangri-la and their wonderful line-up of food activities which are truly pretty amazing events for discerning gourmands and gourmets -- many of whom are also loyal readers of Travelife Magazine. Travel and food go hand in hand, after all -- the joys of travel are intertwined with the joys of discovering wonderful food.

And Makati Shangri-la has a pretty amazing line-up of foodie events in the near future, which I'll be writing about more in this blog as I'm sure many people will want to participate. The Makati Shangri-la and a couple of other deluxe hotels in this city bring some really world-class chefs to Manila for food events, and these are great opportunities to sample some of the best restaurants and foods of the world without leaving home. What a luxury and what an opportunity. Don't miss out on events like this that expand your horizons. I never do.


From November 19 - 26, Vincenzo Spinosi, Italy's King of Pasta, will be at the Makati Shangri-la's Red to share a very exclusive menu with local foodies. Spinosi is only one of three Italians who have been awarded the highly-coveted Five-Star Diamond Award by the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences, in recognition of his pasta innovation.

He was also made a "Grand Official of Italy," which I understand is a very prestigious award.

Now this is pasta you simply must taste because the other option is to actually travel all the way to the tiny medieval town of Campofilone in Italy, to have a taste of his amazing pasta. The Spinosi family has been making pasta since 1933, and even today, it's still made in the very same way as many generations ago.


This pasta is truly a labor of love for Spinosi. He only has 14 employees and together they produce the Spinosi handmade pasta at the rate of 70 kgs an hour. So you can imagine just how rare this pasta is, whether in Italy or elsewhere, and what a treat it is to be able to taste this pasta in Manila.

The most famous pasta product is the Spinosini 2000, which is infused with Omega 3. This is a premium pasta made to a formula of 65% selected hard wheat flour and 35% eggs. The eggs alone are very special as the chickens that lay them are fed a special diet that includes vegetable oil and sunflower oil -- both of which are natural sources of Omega 3 and Vitamin E. These ingredients and the method that Spinosi uses to create his pasta give it a very distinct flavor unlike no other.


And as a special treat, the Makati Shangri-la is also flying over Chef Daniele Turco, who is now chef of one of my favorite hotels in Venice, the Gritti Palace, which is right on the Grand Canal. There will be special lunch and dinner menus at Red from November 19-26.

Sample of dishes to be created by Chef Turco

Beef tartare with black truffle
Leek and chestnut soup with black truffle
White truffle gratinated veal fillet

There will also be a cooking class at Red on November 26, conducted by Spinosi, where participants will be taught how to prepare a variety of pasta dishes including:

Spinosini Omega-3 with Parma Ham and Lemon
Spinobelli Omega 3 with Clams, Citrus and Black Pepper
Spinobelli Gratin with Marsala Cream and Lychee


On November 19, too, truffles take center stage at Red. There will be a special truffle demonstration class by Emidio Angellozzi, owner of the famous Angelozzi Tartuficoltura, a farm in Italy's Piceno region which has been producing truffles for five generations. This class will be followed by a set lunch by Chef Turzo.

I'm sure that seats for the lunches, dinners and classes will go very quickly, so do reserve in advance if you wish to sample any of these amazing dishes. I'm away this weekend, unfortunately, so I'll be missing the truffle demonstration class; but I'll certainly be eating at Red at every possible opportunity next week. See you there.

To reserve for any of the above:
Call Makati Shangri-la's Restaurant Reservations
Tel 813-8888 extension 7588/ 7599


Travelife Magazine's
Oct-Nov 2011 Issue


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