Concert director Freddie Santos, The Manila Hotel executive chef Walter Konrad and Christian Bautista.
Photo by Pinky Icamen
Savor the ‘Taste of Love’
Pinky S. Icamen (The Philippine Star) - February 10, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Love, especially when celebrated, is truly a wonderful thing.

On Valentine’s Day, let your heart soar and revel in all things love at Manila’s Grand Dame by the bay — The Manila Hotel.

The hotel has crafted a perfect evening to celebrate love and romance with “Taste of Love,” a Valentine’s dinner with “Asia’s Romantic Balladeer” Christian Bautista at the Fiesta Pavilion serenading guests.

The dinner will feature a menu by executive chef Walter Konrad that pays homage to the great romances of history. Every dish is a story told through ingredients, technique and artistry.

Heart of velvet ricotta mousse with strawberry jelly.

First on the menu is the intricately crafted roses of beetroot-cured gravlax, a dish inspired by Ingrid Bergmann and Roberto Rossellini whose romance rocked Hollywood in the 1940s. The Swedish-born Bergmann is represented by the gravlax with its simplicity and luxury. It lies on a bed of peppery arugula, drizzled with balsamic vinegar, Italian ingredients chosen in reference to Rossellini.

The soup is a delectable concoction of mirliton squash with savory jamon tortilla crostini, inspired by the fiery romance of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. Chef Walter explains that the vegetable’s uneven skin, with its tiny ravines and occasional spikes, represents the couple’s tempestuous marriage.

Chestnut and pineapple macarons.

Italy inspired the duetto di ravioli filled with wild boar and mushroom in light truffle cream. The handmade raviolis created by Italian chef Marco Ghini represent Romeo and Juliet. The pink ravioli mimics the shape of the traditional hat worn by Italian men in the 16th century. While the pointed ravioli resembles the statue of Juliet that stands in the plaza of Verona.

Ferdinand and Isabella, the Spanish rulers who sent Christopher Columbus on his fateful voyage to America, inspired the frozen chocolate chili intermezzo. It was said that Columbus was expected to bring back gold, silver and spices but instead, he came home with chocolate, chili and many other gastronomic treasures.

John and Jackie Kennedy gave the White House glamour and romance. When Mrs. Kennedy reorganized the White House staff, she reportedly hired the White House’s first executive chef, the French-born and -trained René Verdon, and her state dinners became hallmarks of elegance. The Carré d’Agneau Vert Pre was inspired by a lamb dish served at the White House during a luncheon in honor of Prince Rainier and Princess Grace of Monaco.

Roses of beetroot-cured gravlax.

Two desserts will tickle your saccharine cravings. First, the delightful heart of velvet ricotta mousse with strawberry jelly, which is a sweet ode to Antony and Cleopatra, two of the most legendary lovers in history; and the Napoleon-and-Josephine inspired chestnut and pineapple macarons.

As Chef Konrad romances palates, Christian Bautista will mesmerize guests with his repertoir, which includes Beautiful Girl, Ligaya, La Vie en Rose, That’s Amore, Because of You and My Cherie Amour.

Christian, who recently got married to the lovely Kat Ramnani, said, “The love that I feel for my wife translates to the songs that I sing for my fans. So the emotions actually multiply. It’s now a different kind of love; it has commitment.”

Mirliton squash soup.

To make the evening even more memorable, the hotel is offering a Valentine promotion that gives a special rate for a Superior Deluxe Room on Feb. 14 only, inclusive of breakfast buffet for two, a complimentary bottle of wine and a box of pralines. Guests who avail themselves of the Valentine staycation package are entitled to a 20-percent discount for two tickets to “Taste of Love.”

Everyone deserves to love and be loved. So, embrace the feeling, ride on the emotions and spread the love on the most romantic night of the year at The Manila Hotel.

(Taste of Love will be held on Feb. 14, 7 p.m., at the hotel’s Fiesta Pavilion. For more information, call Manila Hotel

at 527-0011 or e-mail concierge@themanilahotel.com.)

THE MANILA HOTEL. VALENTINE’S DAY
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