Sunday, December 4, 2011

A Purefoods Lunch featuring Fiesta Ham Classic + New Variants

I can't imagine Noche Buena (Christmas Eve) or Media Noche (New Year's Eve) without ham. It's really a staple of our family dinner.

At a recent event with the Purefoods Fiesta Ham people at Via Mare Cafe and Oyster Bar, I was introduced to the familiar, classic fiesta ham as well as its new variants. One trivia: I didn't know Purefoods has been around since 1956??? No wonder we all practically grew up with its products!

This year you will find more than just the traditional 1kg Fiesta Ham in supermarkets. The new variants of the Fiesta ham are the 1.5kg thinly-sliced version of the Fiesta Ham for bigger gatherings; the 200g Fiesta Ham slices that are more affordable and conveniently packed; and the 3.5kg Smoked Bone-in Fiesta Ham.

Celebrity Moms showed us table settings that they themselves did to introduce the different Fiesta Ham variants.

Barbie Almalbis-Honasan

Classic Fiesta Ham

Singer-songwriter Barbie Almalbis-Honasan (popularly known as Barbie) and a Mom of two prepared a European table setting, complete with wine and cheese, to go with the Classic Fiesta Ham. Teapots on top of the vases were used to hold flowers, a nice touch, I thought. Barbie told us their family celebrates 3 Christmas dinners - one with the grandparents, another with titos/titas, then finally dinner at their own home.

Suzi Entrata-Abrera

Smoked Bone-in Ham (3.5kg)

TV host Suzi Entrata-Abrera designed a table setting to hold one of the new variants - the Smoked Bone-in Ham. She chose red because that was also the color theme for their own Christmas decor at home done by a friend. She lets her kids help in the decorating because oftentimes they come up with fresh ideas. For their fiesta ham, her family loves putting lots of sugar on top of the ham, frying it, and just putting it in pandesal.

Danica Sotto-Pingris

Classic Fiesta Ham

Danica Sotto-Pingris chose the Filipiniana theme for her table setting. She celebrates Christmas first with her dad, Vic Sotto, then with her mom, Dina Bonnevie. This year she plans to hang tree ornaments that reminds them of the year that passed. As a Mom of two and a culinary expert, she plans to make a Christmas Day breakfast - Fiesta ham on Eggs Benedict.

Chef Glenda Barretto

Our lunch was specially prepared by Chef Glenda Barretto, owner of Via Mare, and of course each food item served had Fiesta Ham incorporated into it in some form. 

Ham Canapes
The appetizers were Ham Canapes with celery, dressed with sour cream and a little mayo on crostini bread. Chef Barretto said you can add other veggies, mix with pineapple, pear.

Fruits and Vegetables Ham Salad

You'd think that a salad should be just either all fruits or all vegetables but the Fruits and Vegetables Ham Salad nicely combines both into one salad. Made of romaine lettuce, carrot strips, honeydew melon balls, beet slices, and sliced ham wrapped around stalks of asparagus make up this salad paired up with a citrus dressing. This was my first time to bite into asparagus stalks wrapped in ham and it actually tasted good!

Green Peas and Ham Broth served
with Knacker Bread

I love pea soup (maybe next to pumpkin soup and cream of mushroom) and this one was served really piping hot. That's how I like to take my soup. The bits of ham mixed in with the pea soup added texture to the soup's creaminess and the Knacker bread with sesame seeds went quite well with it too.

The main dish was Glazed Bone-in Leg of Ham with Candied Sweet Potato Gravy. For some reason, I have no photos of this dish. Maybe in my excitement I forgot to take aim and shoot. *sigh* But suffice it to say I loved the glazed ham. It was soft and tender and the sweetness of the potato gravy was a good complement.

To one side of the room, the Via Mare chef was also demonstrating to us the proper way of cutting the smoked bone-in ham.

Here's a tip from Chef Glenda Barretto for your smoked bone-in ham. You can still simmer it in in beer, pineapple juice, cloves and brown sugar. Beer enhances the flavor of smoked ham. Simmer only for 45mins to 1 hr. Reduce the sauce.

Finally, we were served dessert. I had been wondering from the beginning what dessert would taste like with ham in it. Normally, ham is not a dessert ingredient.

As I was a bit full already, and knowing I was going to another meet-up with friends where there would be food, I did not touch the bibingka, thinking I'd forego it. But after thinking it over I just thought, oh why not just go ahead and take a small bite so at least you can say you tasted it. I ended up finishing the whole bibingka! The Petit Bibingka Galapong with Ham and Queso de Bola was a winner! Via Mare has always been known for its bibingka - buttery and soft - but this time the ham toppings actually added that extra ooomph flavoring to it. No regrets about all those extra calories!

At another event, I was able to get a special sauce recipe for Purefoods Fiesta Ham from Chef Ed Quimson so it's another opportunity for me to try something different this year.

Because it is so reasonably priced, Purefoods Fiesta Ham is always the most popular item in gift packs, corporate baskets and giveaways to employees during Christmas. And in my own home, there can be no Noche Buena without ham. It's no wonder then that the Purefoods Fiesta Ham is called The Star of the Noche Buena Table.

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