Savoring Memories from “For the Love of Chocolate” at the 2010 Asian Culinary Forum’s Symposium

On a windy and chilly May afternoon, when Bay to Breakers turned the streets of San Francisco into a cirque de la jeunesse, the Asian Culinary Forum hosted their 2010 Symposium “Filipino Foods: Flavor + Innovation” at the International Culinary School in the Art Institute of San Francisco-California’s UN Plaza building. Their previous symposium focused on Pan-Asian cuisine and was held at the Ferry Building. We arrived just in time for the Merienda Reception, which featured the special ingredient, tsokolate.

Mangos, sugar snap peas, and strawberries

The bar served VuQ0’s coconut vodka, a refined version of the poison my grandpa spun tall tales about involving heavy doses of tuba, also known as lambanug or bahal. We also sipped sweet mango wine from Haliya, reviewed at Winecentric, but our favorite was the dalandan juice, a tasty sweet citrus fruit that leaves your mouth hankering for more.

Marti Chocolatt

The spread was both elegant and rich, offering tightly wrapped rolls of lumpia, thick turons plump with jackfruit, and platters filled with sweet, sticky bibingka. Marti Chocolatt based in Los Angeles presented a beautiful table of dark and fruity sweets. The highlight of course was champarado (chocolate rice pudding), prepared by chocolatier Toney Tibay and paired with tuyo (salted herring), which was nothing but savory. Samples of chocolate covered langka (jackfruit), kalamansi, buko pandan, and ube tempted every guest who couldn’t just have one.

Champurado with salted fish

Tables for attendees provided individually wrapped uraro, arrow root, candies made of cassava. While we feasted on Filipino favorites, we met Lauren del Rosario, Director of Sales and Business Development for Azukar Organics, which makes coconut sugar and flour. Low glycemic and gluten-free, the sugar is both sweet with a wonderful nutty essence. Delish. We can’t wait to cook and bake with it. If only it was distributed in the Bay Area, but So Cal people can easily get their hands on this product at LA health stores.

The reception eased us into the reading that followed, “Eating Our Words: Writings about Food & Family,” featuring Barbara Jane Reyes, Aileen Suzara, Aimee Suzara, Lizelle Festejo, Yael Villafranca, Lisa Sugitan Melnick, and your Salonniere.  For more on the literary event, check out the post “Writing + Food” on Ruelle Electrique.

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