Last Saturday, hubby and I went to Mercato Centrale at the Bonifacio Global City to check out the latest weekend market in Manila. During the time when the market was still being organized and slots were opened for rent to sellers, I actually inquired on how to rent a stall so that I can showcase some of my food products. For a couple of reasons, this didn’t push through. At any rate, I’m still interested to join the market in the future and I’m always excited to discover all the other great stuff being sold there.
Let me take you there through my humble photos.
Mercato Centrale @ BGC is actually inspired by the outdoor markets of Mercato Centrale in Florence and the Boroughs Market in London. It’s located at the corner of 9th Avenue and 30th Street in Bonifacio Global City.
Mercato Centrale @ BGC has an extensive selection of healthy and organic fruits, vegetables and livestock. During our visit, we saw a couple of organic products like coffee, brown sugar, vinegar, and sea salt.
As always, bakers showcase their baked products from muffins, to breads, to brownies and bars, to cupcakes.
A market wouldn’t also be complete without the fresh produce. I love that they have fresh sweet basil and arugula. I should have gone here first to buy arugula before making my Spaghetti con Gamberetti e Rucola. For that dish, I just used what I found at the cold section of SM Hypermart. The arugula I got there wasn’t as fresh as the ones in Mercato Centrale.
Here are our favorites :)
There’s a stall by Leyende, an emerging Filipino brand of handmade, natural and organic bath and body products. I have always been a fan of business es that take social responsibility to life. Leyende offers training and employment opportunities for disadvantaged women from International Justice Mission Manila and the Visayan Forum. I love their massage oils that sell for P350 per bottle. They’re great as Christmas gifts.
Another favorite is My Personal Farmer. They advocate and practice village-supported agriculture. They support this particular farm in Bukidnon and then they harvest the produce and deliver them to you via their drop-off points. By buying vegetables from them, you actually support their agriculture. In return, they give you guaranteed fresh and organic vegetables weekly. You get to choose the veggies you want from their website, and then they will deliver them to you in boxes at the nearest drop-off point to your place. For only P3,400, you’ll get a half-box filled with veggies of your choice every week for four weeks. That’s so neat! Hubby and I are on our way to joining My Personal Farmer :)
Here’s the brochure of My Personal Farmer. Click on it to view what they harvest:
Another personal favorite is Misispi :) If you ask me what’s so special with it, I probably would not convince you that their cookies are special. Their oatmeal cookies though are a best-seller and their packaging is so elegant.
And then there’s this stall that sells longganiza from different parts of the Philippines and calamansi-flavored nata de coco! It’s my bad that I wasn’t able to get the name of this stall but I’ll definitely go back there to get it and then share it with you :)
There are many food stations outside the tent but hubby and I decided to try Tambokikoy’s Inasal inside. They only have one store in Manila and it’s at the Globe Telecom Plaza along Pioneer St. in Mandaluyong.
We each got a quarter-chicken meal for P85 each. We were hungry so we’re able to finish the entire meal but to be honest, we didn’t like it. The chicken doesn’t taste like inasal at all. Their soy-vinegar sauce was nothing compared to Enting’s special inasal sauce. My homemade whole chicken dishes would beat their chicken inasal anytime. I think they need to start improving their chicken especially that it’s the end-all-be-all of their business.
We next stopped by the stall of Bote Central Inc. They sell Coffee Alamid, the most expensive coffee in the world and our country’s pride. It is one of the most coveted among coffee connoisseurs with its price going up until about US$1,000 per kilo.
What is so special with Coffee Alamid? Here’s a little story about it. It starts off with the alamids (Civet cats) picking the best coffee beans using their sense of smell. They would stuff themselves with the beans and then excrete them the morning after because their system could not digest the beans. In their digestive system, certain acids and enzymes are secreted and these affect the chemical structure of beans. It is this process of fermenting the beans in the alamids digestive tract that separates Coffee Alamid from the rest.
Another good thing is that Bote Central Inc. is into promoting agro-forest products for livelihood. They are focused on the joint production and consumption program of Philippine coffee, rationalizing the supply chain and embedding Fair Trade principles to promote the Philippine coffee industry’s sustainability. It is focused on deploying community roasting business units (CRBU) all over the country, most especially in the countryside, propelling local economies by having different business models of retailing Philippine brewed coffee. Convinced that we should get something from Bote Central Inc., we grabbed Ininstant Coffee and 18 Days Liberica from Bote Central Inc.
Our next product discovery at Mecato Centrale @ BGC was a stall that sells tsokolate tablea from Batangas, Bohol, Ilocos and Davao called Lagwerta. I’m from Batangas and because I’m very much familiar with the goodness of our own tableas, I became more interested with the tableas from Davao. If you read my posts, I blogged about Askinosie Chocolates, a small batch bean-to-bar chocolate maker based in Springfield, Missouri founded by Shawn Askinosie, a criminal defense lawyer. Their chocolates are sourced from three places: Mexico, Ecuador, and yes, Davao. I was very excited to buy tableas from Davao!
Tablea is the Spanish word for tablet and tsokolate is the Filipino translation of chocolate. Tsokolate Tablea is a thick and rich hot chocolate drink made from cacao balls. Some of our history books would say the the Spaniards introduced the growing of cacao trees and developing the beans into cacao tablets in mid 17th century. During this era, hot chocolate made from the tableas was served during breakfast only on very special occasions.
The traditional way of making hot chocolate was through the use of batirol. It is actually a stirrer or whisk made of wood with a long solid handle and a spiky head. It’s the spiky head that does the extensive whisking action. We got a tsokolate tablea and batirol gift set for only P850 (US$20).
Our last discovery, and definitely one of the best , was a cheese-flavored chili sauce from Chile Vitas. I checked the label and found that this chili-cheese sauce is for vegetarians and has no fat content. The good thing about it is that it’s made from real chilies which contain antioxidants that help in cellular repair. Chilies are also believed to speed up metabolism and revitalize the heart.
We asked the saleslady for suggestions on what to pair with the Chili-Cheese variant. She said “everything.” Actually, it is a great substitute for ketchup or the usual sweet and sour sauce. It’s perfect with fried chicken, sandwiches, French fries, meatballs, spring rolls, calamares, nachos, fried dumplings, etc. However, it’s not true that it’s good on “everything” because it basically is just good with fried foods. Regardless though, it really is very good and for only P164 a bottle, I’d say that it’s definitely a good buy!
Our Mercato Centrale experience would have been perfect were it not for this…
Just as we were about the depart from the place, we saw people running outside of the tent and towards the corner of 9th Avenue and 30th Street. On a lazy, cloudy, and otherwise quiet and slow Saturday morning, an accident happened. I didn’t know how to react. All I know is that there’s no freeway in BGC so I couldn’t see the point of speeding. I haven’t heard about the accident since then. I just hope that the people involved are safe now.
That was not much of a happy ending but it doesn’t happen everyday.
Still, Mercato Centrale @ BGC is a nice place to go to unwind during the weekend, and I’m sure you’d be glad to discover lots of new things from the newest addition to the weekend markets in Metro Manila.
Have fun at the market! :)