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Spanish Nights at Montebello

Bacalao 1


SPAIN has a huge influence on our Filipino culture.

Since the Philippines was colonized by Spain and remained its colony for almost 400 years, it is, therefore, not surprising that Spain has greatly influenced our culture, traditions and our predominantly Roman Catholic population. Although Filipino cuisine has numerous indigenous and foreign influences, food historians claim that 80% of Philippine dishes are of Spanish origin. Our rich Filipino cuisine is Spanish-inspired. Most of us enjoy our grandmothers’ festive cooking like Relleno, Caldereta, Morcon, Callos, Embotido, Cocido and more.

One of the pioneer hotels in the Cebu tourism industry, Montebello Villa Hotel is keeping the Spanish tradition in the midst of the ever-changing hospitality trends for the last 43 years. This sprawling four-hectare garden hotel is a luxurious respite that offers the charm and richness of our Hispanic heritage embodied in their 150 well appointed rooms and suites as well as in its dining outlet, La Terraza serving time-honored Spanish-inspired dishes, as well as Filipino and western selections.

The Saturday Spanish Nights featuring Tapas and Wines pay tribute to our Spanish
heritage. The genteel Gen. Manager Luis ”Louie” Martin Alvarez has taken over the helmship of the family property founded by the late Don Luis Alvarez and his wife, Merceditas Borromeo. Louie together with his wife Hazel were our gracious hosts on a Saturday night of tapas and wines. The quiet Louie whom I have known since he was a boy during my Montebello career days, has come out full circle in managing the hotel.

We checked out the “Tapas” offerings at the La Terraza. “ Tapas” are small savory dishes usually served in a bar. And the small portions, to the delight of patrons, are served buffet style so the “Tapas” have become a full dinner. The classic choices are also my favorites.

Pulpo ala Gallega is a Galician style octopus cooked with pimento or paprika. The “pulpeiras” in Galicia cook the octopus in cooper cauldrons that imparts an impeccable taste. The Bacalao or salted and dried fish cod is a very popular dish traditionally served during Holy Week. The Portuguese import has become very pricey so a local salted and dried catfish is used for the Bacalao dish instead, cooked in tomato sauce, olive oil, olives, capers and spices.

I enjoyed the Pimientos Rellenos de Cerdo or red bell pepper roasted and stuffed with ground pork and Croquetas con Chorizo. Something very unique was the Pollo al Chocolate, roasted chicken that is dipped in chocolate sauce. I had a spoonful each of the Paellas – Negra with squid ink and classic Valenciana. The Vino de Table or house wine is Premium Gran Tierra Tempranillo Garnache from Spain. Garnache is a most widely planted grape variety, which ripens late so it needs hot dry conditions such as those found in Spain where it must have originated. I had a glass of both the blanco (white) and the tinto (red).

Piping hot Churros drizzled with chocolate sauce and Crema Catalana sealed our palates with sweetness. Churros are a popular fried dough pastry while Crema Catalana is the Spanish version of the French Crème Brulee and Filipino Leche Flan.

TAGS: Cebu events, Cebu hotels, Filipino Culture, Montebello, Spain, Spanish cuisine, Spanish dishes, Spanish Nights, Tapas
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