(New) In the Chiller: Beer and Cheese!

Good morning everyone. I know you all are getting pretty antsy about Christmas and we are working triple time to get goods out as early as possible. Some patience as we are experiencing high volumes of pre-orders already!

Meantime, pop in for some Katipunan Craft's (unpasteurized) Indio Pale Ale, something that we are really happy about lately. It's a very "easy" beer to like and integrate into your life (I had not a few within an hour yesterday while working). The young Turks behind it have tweaked the pale ale to suit Pinoy tastes, so if you're used to San Miguel (aren't we all), a sip of this will easily lure you into the dark, bubbly side of the emerging beercraft movement that is thankfully giving males a creative outlet in the metropolis. We have special interest in this growth and will keep you posted on workshops, events that are beer-related.

We are also now stocking Blackbird Farms' cheese! Blackbird Farms is a family-run estate in Bulacan that raises goats and makes fresh feta cheese and spreads. Feta is a great lazy-and-independent person food. It livens up any salad, or a procrastinator's cracker late at night. So are the spreads, which chunky and savory.


(Music) Tame Impala's Lonerism

If you miss non-wimpy pop-rock, listen to Tame Impala's new album. Pretty much the whole thing is great, and we especially recommend to those who were ripping their jeans and wearing round sunglasses during the 90s. Here's a link to "Elephant".


(New) Pinkerton & Ritual's Oregano and Arabica Ice Creams!

Pinkerton uses our ingredients to churn out yummy flavors: oregano and arabica ice creams, both with water buffalo milk, organic honey, and coconut sugar. They taste heavenly.

Stop by for some pints, or scarf down a scoop topped with roasted cacao nibs or native chocolate sauce (made with water buffalo cream!).


(New) Beyond Wheat Flour and Corn Starch: How to Cook Sago Flour

Wheat doesn't really grow in the Philippines. We've heard about it growing in very small quantities, but we've never actually seen it. It's just one of those things that you find in every part of the world, in the standard form of "all-purpose flour".

The standard flour is usually bleached with benzoyl peroxide, chlorine gas, or other bleaching agents. The latter makes flour white and shortcuts the aging process. There is a lot of debate about the safety involving byproducts of bleaching (alloxan, in particular, which has been linked to diabetes). This technology has allowed the massive scaling up of the flour milling industry, allowing for millions of tons to be processed each day. Which is quite an abnormal thing, in the greater scheme of the earth, I suppose.

More people have been requesting for gluten-free flours and starches, too. So, though a bit difficult to come across, we've started to search for alternative flours. All the folks that have been asking, these are for you!

Sago starch (sometimes called a flour) is used in Southeast Asia and South Asia. In the Philippines, it used as a staple food predominantly by lumads (indigenous people), but historically was widespread in some parts of Mindanao-- we were even importing them from Makassar. Today, Butuan is a place that is particularly notable in its continuing use of sago. The non-kakanin kakanin palagsing inspires spontaneous emotional poetry among locals. Tumpi and inisab do the same.

Forest starches are growing increasingly uncommon in the Philippines. In our observation, the Visayas region uses its buri starch in the same way as sago starch is used in Mindanao. The starch is extracted from the wild sago palm (Metroxylon sagu) in a very labor-intensive process (which the fantastic EatingAsia has documented so well here). 

Our partner producers here are the indigenous Manobo of Agusan del Sur (where the starch is called natek), who are making the starch as a sustainable forest product exploration. It is grown without pesticides or fertilizers. We use it as sauce thickeners (in place of the horrifyingly ubiquitous corn starch) and to make our version of puto seko with coconut sugar. It is very easily digestible and can be used in porridge for convalescents or babies. It may also be substituted for the starch component of gluten-free flour mixes. Some use it to make ice cream cones. We would love to hear how you guys can find uses for it.

Here are some other recipes we've compiled and will try out through the weeks. We'll also be posting our kitchen experiments in the coming days.

South Indian Sago Papadoms
Indonesian Es Cendol, a super yummy shaved ice snack
Indonesian Pempek Palembang, sort of like fish balls
Indonesian Sagu Keju (Cheese Biscuits), just substitute butter for the margarine
Indonesian Steamed Kue Pepe (Layer Sago Cake)
Malaysian Fried Sago Pancakes
Papuan Saksak (Sweet Sago-Banana Dumplings)
Singaporean Sago Cookies, like uraro or puto seko

We'll be bringing some this weekend to the Legazpi Market, so bring your containers!


(Press) Town & Country, January/February 2012

Check out the current (well, for one more day) issue of Town & Country with Crickette Tantoco on the cover. We're in a great list by Marketman of his favorite merchants in town! Thanks, MM, we're honored.


(Events) Collective Art Fair, and Sale!

We'll be going on sale this Saturday. Various odds and ends, some pineapple fiber and cotton garments, and seedlings. Some hot cacao. So, come.

Furthermore, and more importantly, our hood has an Art Fair on that day! Here is the Facebook page, for more info and a map. There will be arts, crafts, film, food, and other vendors. A good chance to meet new people and see out-of-the-ordinary things!


(Food) Remembering Nochebuena

Nochebuena was a night of good food (both real and ceramic). It was put together by the Office of Culture and Design and us to show visiting ceramicist from Barcelona, Xavi Manosa (Apparatu), a good time, and to have a bit of friendly competition between cool projects. A few presented, and the table voted, and the winner took the kitty home (it was JJ of Pinoy Eats World-- pitching for an oven for a Dumaguete community kitchen).

The dinner featured local ingredients from our great producers, and was prepared by Tom Bascon and Erwin Lizarondo. It was great. Here are some photos (it's never too late). Read more about it here. We plan to do more dinners like this. Maybe we'll tell you all before (not after) we do it. ;)


(Inspiration) Bao Possibilties

A kitschy little thing that shows the possibilities of coconut shells, Saramsam, Laoag, Ilocos Norte.


Looking Forward, 2012

The silence is because of increase busy-ness, but also from a relaxing after the holidays, and technological goodbyes. So, let us take one last break before we launch into the year.

We are not going to be at the Legazpi Market this weekend, as the whole crew is heading out up north for some R&R and looking forward (isn't that a much better way to say "planning"?).

This shop is not just a business, it is our heart and our selves poured out into a physical space. As we change, become more experienced, meet new people and lay our feet on different soils, the shop changes shape. Needless to say, it hasn't really had a shiny new face after Christmas, but trust that after this weekend, we will know what rearrangements and additions, if any, to make. In the meantime, here are our resolutions.

Share more
An incredible amount of work and documentation goes into our product sourcing. We admit that we haven't been the best at sharing these. Our adventures will hopefully interest you and inspire you to explore your country or neighborhood a little bit more. Although we definitely aren't making our own travel show or podcast, we would like to keep you posted in a basic way about what we are doing. Yes-- this includes finally making a website.

Connect systematically with entrepreneurs
We meet some pretty amazing people. But we know there are much, much more. We want to meet more people from all walks of life that are passionate about what they are doing. People who are doing something good and original. People who aren't just copying the latest food and fashion blogs, or trends, but dialogue with their materials and can manifest truth and beauty through it. We like to meet you all! Have regular coffee chats together!

Travel less
Our other sustainable company, to do with cacao, is really taking off, so more focus is required of us. We shan't be shuttling off every other day anymore. We will be around to nurture all our projects!

Get more people to refill
That means you. This means design solutions and more dialogue and interaction.

Happy first quarter of the year, all!