The 2016 Soiree Beaujolais

The 2016 Soiree Beaujolais

Cesar Cruz Jr.

Business Mirror | December 19, 2016

In the Philippines, it’s the time when the French Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the Philippines gathers the French and Filipino communities to clink wine glasses alongside local and international business groups.

A year after celebrating its Silver Anniversary, Soiree Beaujolais turned its focus on the French history with “Versailles” as its theme. The Palace of Versailles, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was once the seat of French Royalty, such as Marie Antoinette, Louis XVI’s spouse.

Recently held at the Marriott Grand Ballroom, guests were treated as if they were invited to a royal party thrown by the last Queen of France. As the well-dressed crowd waited to the giant doors to swing open, fine wine of the Beaujolais and Burgundy regions were passed around (Cote du Rhone AOP Rouge 2015, Fleurie AOP 2014, Brouilly AOP 2014, Vin de Bourgogne, Coteaux Bourguignons Blanc, La Fontaine a Vin Rose). Some were dressed with a hint of French royalty, but a select few went all out in their costumes to the delight of everyone present.

At the appointed time, the French Chamber Board of Directors and employees performed a royal parade; all dressed like it’s the 1780’s, before the opening of the doors. Then, the exciting drama was revealed to the public: a huge dolled-up ballroom entirely decorated in a way that gives the illusion one is really in a palace! The hungry crowd made a bee line for the sumptuous French food prepared by the Marriott Hotel Manila Executive Chef Meik Brammer and his team of Chefs. Fresh oysters, traditional chicken stew with beans, and baked beef tenderloin in crust were the crowd favorite.

After the feast for the tummy, the lights slowly turned off and the people gathered at the center stage for a spectacular opening act performance ala Cirque du Soleil. Aftewards, Issa Litton as the stunning event host, introduced Stanislas Camart and Vanesssa Hans, respectively President and Director of the French Chamber of Commerce. They both gave us an overview of the Soiree Beaujolais, its tradition and its impact on the cultural and business relations between France and the Philippines.

As Soiree Beaujolais 2016 came with a heart, The French Chamber also highlighted its foundation France-Philippines United Action (FPUA) which initiated a Silent Auction of four paintings displayed inside the gallery at the Ballroom. Philippe Gauthier, President of FPUA and Founding President of the French Chamber explained to us that the artworks displayed were donated by celebrity Solenn Heussaff and three local artists – Alfonso Recto, Piaget Martelino, and Chris Verayo. The raised fund through the auction will be used to complete the third rehabilitation site in Bogo City, north of Cebu. This will enable two families, former victims of Typhoon Haiyan, to have resilient houses.

Following the French tradition whereby cheese comes after the main course and before the dessert, twenty kinds of cheeses entered Marriott Grand Ballroom after the uncorking ceremony of the Beaujolais Nouveau wine. Then the colorful dessert table was finally up for grabs.

Then, more entertainment ensued as the talented Silver Streaks band played upbeat tunes from different decades. Finally, DJ Mars Miranda spun some billboard music until the party ended at 2 AM.

In the end, Soiree Beaujolais was more than just impressive feast for the senses. The almost 1500 guests gathered undoubtedly enjoyed their journey through the 1780’s in Versailles. We are looking forward to Beaujolais next year with the French Chamber of Commerce as they might pleasantly surprise us again with an original concept party.

Cesar Cruz Jr.

Author Profile

Cesar studied communication arts at the University of Santo Tomas. He writes articles in the Lifestyle Section of Business Mirror as a lifestyle writer. He manages Pancit Malabon, his own restaurant at Banawe St.

Sabor the Moment

Sabor the Moment

Gabrielle R. Borromeo

The Daily Tribune |November 26, 2018

“As for the atmosphere, Sabor is casual but classy with warm lights to create a relaxing vibe…”

How can one unwind if booking a flight away or even just a staycation is too costly? Novotel Manila Araneta Center’s newest wine bar, Sabor (Spanish for “flavor”) Bar de Vinos is a good place for a much-needed me-time and to enjoy life’s simple pleasures, even just for a while.

Located at the Araneta Center in Cubao, Quezon City, Sabor is conveniently found in what used to be a nook under one of the hotel’s escalators. The space was transformed into an intimate wine bar that extends all the way to the hotel’s smoking area. It allows one to loosen up in a corner or sway to modern Spanish music or to the beats of live samba entertainers.

Originally, the Novotel management decided to have a private wine cellar for their stock, but why hide away when their distinct collection of wines can be displayed? This was how the dream began with wine and signature tapas to offer.

Now, at Sabor, one can choose by the bottle or by the glass, or the sangria concoctions by Sabor’s expert mixologists. Sabor has a wide selection of wines.

The menu includes mushroom croquettes (P350), an earthy combination of porcini, button and portobello mushrooms, coupled with bleu cheese dip topped with caramelized onions; beetroot arancini with goat cheese (P350), which is a creamy beetroot risotto balls stuffed with marinated beet/root from El Dorado Farm, with goat cheese fondue;patatas bravas (P250), which are homemade deep fried organic potatoes from El Dorado Farm, tossed in smoked paprika and parsley, served with roasted spicy tomato and garlic aioli;berenjenas fritas, also known as deep fried eggplant (P250), breaded organic eggplant sticks paired with garlic, homegrown basil and molasses dip;and tomato bruschetta (P250), homemade ciabatta bread topped with tomato brunoise, chopped basil, garlic from El Dorado Farm, olive oil and parmesan cheese.

One can try the Greek salad skewers (P250) of marinated cucumber, cherry tomato from El Dorado Farm, olives, oregano and feta cheese; selection of cheeses (P650) with assorted crackers, sangria jelly, nuts, taggiasca olive and radish; and smoked kesong puti (P350), young goat’s cheese with dried fruits, crackers and grapes.

During the launch, Sabor served their version of the Filipino classic dinakdakan.
For the sweet tooth, creme brûlée and tiramisu offered and an ice cream store is just right at the corner.

As for the atmosphere, Sabor is casual but classy with warm lights to create a relaxing vibe. The beautiful murals are pleasant to the eyes. Sabor is not at all intimidating as one would expect from a hotel bar. Here, one can feel he is far from the heavy burden of work or daily cares.

Sabor is definitely one of the places in the metro that lets you unwind, pull yourself together and prepare for another big day.

Sabor Bar de Vinos, open Tuesday to Saturday, 5 p.m. to 3 a.m., is located at the ground floor of Novotel Manila Araneta, General Aguinaldo Avenue, Araneta Center, Quezon City.For inquiries, call 990-7888.

Gabrielle Borromeo

Author Profile

Gabe organizes what she sees around her and loves to put it into words. She has been contributing her articles for the Daily Tribune newspaper, Tinig ng Marino (maritime) newspaper, Cook magazine, Appetite magazine and F&B World magazine.

You can contact Gabrielle at:

France Wine Producers and Exporters Upbeat on Growing Local Market

France Wine Producers and Exporters Upbeat on Growing Local Market

Cesar Cruz Jr.

Business Mirror | July 17, 2017

“The growing market for wines and spirits in the Philippines… served as impetus for the arrival of the French representatives in our shores.”

With the increasing demand for fine wines and spirits in the country, a business delegation of French wine producers and exporters visited Manila late in October to interact with local importers and expand the reach of their products.

The growing market for wines and spirits in the Philippines, which recorded a 7-percent current growth value and reached P1.1 billion in 2017, served as impetus for the arrival of the French representatives in our shores.

In terms of value (€3 million) and sixth in terms of volume (1.2 million liters), France has already been enjoying good business in the country from the sales of its alcoholic products. The European country is already the fourth-largest wine exporter here after the United States, Australia and Spain.

The business expedition was a vital part of “Tastin’ France,” a series of professional wine-tasting events held worldwide in 65 cities set up by Business France, a national agency supporting the development and exports, and international investment.

It is interesting to note that the wine world would not be what it is today if not for the immense contribution of France, as it has been a source of winemaking practices and styles for wine-producing countries, as well as its many grape varieties that have been planted throughout the world.

The growing market in the Philippines is a result of the popularity of wine and spirits to the younger set, which represents a potential growth segment. Factors such as giving a premium on education, being exposed to worldwide trends via traveling and the phenomenon of evolving palates, all helped pave the way for this emerging segment of alcoholic-beverage consumers.

As such, increasing numbers from the younger generation have been turning to champagne, wine and other spirits as important elements in celebrating milestones in their lives.

Though the demand for wines and spirits may be bigger in other countries in the Asean region, France has kept a keen eye of the constantly growing market of local wine drinkers.

During the official launch of Tastin’ France-Manila, Ambassador Nicolas Galey said, “While the Philippine market is relatively small compared to its other Asian neighbors, with growing interest for fine wines and the Filipino drinker’s evolving and more discerning palate, I am positive that the steadily growing market is ready for even more French players.”

Galey added, “It is our hope that these wine, champagne and cognac makers [could] introduce more French products to the Philippine market through strong partnerships, and with the invaluable guidance [from] potential Filipino importers.”

Manila was the first leg for the French wine producers, as they were also scheduled to visit Kuala Lumpur and Singapore afterward.

Cesar Cruz Jr.

Author Profile

Cesar studied communication arts at the University of Santo Tomas. He writes articles in the Lifestyle Section of Business Mirror as a lifestyle writer. He manages Pancit Malabon, his own restaurant at Banawe St.