Where 2 of Cebu’s pre-eminent food writers head to, there you follow. In last night’s Sabores de España opening at the lobby lounge of Marco Polo Plaza Cebu, it was the station that held Manchego cheese.

I’d return with Manchego cheese in my luggage, culinary writer Aissa dela Cruz told our group of bloggers and writers. She said she buys it during trips outside the country because it’s “so much more expensive here.” It’s hard cheese so it keeps well, she pointed out.

Dr. Nestor Alonzo, food columnist for The Freeman, quickly headed to the platter shortly after hamming it up with Marco Polo Plaza Cebu General Manager Brian Connelly as he took photos of the tapas spread. “Take photos of him taking photos,” Connelly said as he playfully posed with Alonzo.

Marco Polo Sabores de España

Manchego cheese

 

Culinary journey

And it was to the Manchego cheese – traditional Spanish cheese, Alonso explained to me – that I returned to again and again last night.

Sabores de España, now on its 12th year, is part of the Marco Polo Plaza Cebu’s widely anticipated and annual Culinary Journeys. The series highlights the culinary prowess of the Marco Polo team – from Bisdak favorites in January to Swiss, Indian, Spanish, and French throughout the year.

Sabores de Espana Marco Polo Plaza Cebu

Chorizo in puff pastry

 

“I also want to remind everybody that this is the 12th year that we’re holding this event,” Connelly said in a short speech to open the event. “It is our commitment to continually develop the different cuisines in the different parts of the world, in different countries, so that we could share the rich tapestry of food around the world with our guests, our friends, and our customers,” he said.

Connelly said he grew up in a part of the United States that was colonized by Spain and thus was heavily influenced by Spanish cuisine.

Dr. Nestor Alonzo and Marco Polo Plaza Cebu General Manager Brian Connelly.

Dr. Nestor Alonzo and Marco Polo Plaza Cebu General Manager Brian Connelly.

 

Cutting of jamon serrano

He ended his speech with a recommendation for the guests to try Marco Polo’s sangria saying their culinary team did a great job in preparing them. He particularly recommended the white sangria.

To officially mark the opening of Sabores de España, Marco Polo held a ceremonial cutting of the jamon serrano. Connelly led the cutting along with longtime Spanish food consultant Gema Pido, Amigos de España en Cebu President Myra Gonzalez, and Honorary Consul to Spain Anton Perdices.

Cutting of jamon serrano Sabores de España

CUTTING OF THE JAMON SERRANO. Cutting the jamon serrano to mark the opening of Sabores de España are (from left) Marco Polo Plaza Cebu General Manager Brian Connelly, Amigos de España en Cebu President Myra Gonzalez, Honorary Consul to Spain Anton Perdices, and longtime Spanish food consultant Gema Pido.

 

After the ceremony, Gonzalez gave a short speech wishing the festivities success.

Sabores de España will run until Sunday, September 16. On these dates, Spanish dishes such as the mainstay paella, jamon serrano, fabadas, lengua estofado, and assorted tapa will be made available along with the international lunch and dinner buffet spread in Cafe Marco.

 

Facebook Live broadcast of the opening

 

 

 

More photos of the Sabores de España opening

 

Chef Juanito Abangan Sabores de España

Chef Juanito Abangan oversees preparations of the Spanish spread.

 

Marco Polo Cebu Sabores de España

Sangria

 

Sabores de España

Olives and manchego cheese

 

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu Sabores de España

 

Sabores de España Marco Polo Plaza Cebu

Bonquerones

 

Marco Polo Plaza Cebu Sabores de España

 

Sabores de España

 

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