These perfect pairings will take your holiday meals to the next level
With the Christmas season fast approaching, some home entertaining might be on the calendar. After all, there’s nothing that brings us closer to families and friends than indulging in our favorite food and drinks. But what pairs best with what?
San Miguel Foods Culinary Center (SMFCC), together with food and drinks experts from San Miguel Brewery Inc. (SMB), Ginebra San Miguel Inc. (GSMI), and Wine Brothers’ Philippines (WBP) shared a curated five-course meal perfect for the upcoming festivities.
Apart from serving as recipe inspiration, each course highlights different ways one can play around with flavors to enhance the qualities of each dish or drink.
There are no hard-and-fast rules. It’s all about playing around with different flavors and getting creative to take your festive menu to the next level.
Pintxos, paired with San Miguel Super Dry
For the first course, SMFCC prepared some Pintxos—toasted baguette slices (crostinis) with two kinds of spreads: Cheese and Pimiento made from Magnolia Milky White Cheezee Spread, and Roasted Garlic Butter made from Magnolia Gold Butter.
The Cheese and Pimiento spread, topped with cubes of Magnolia Milky White Cheese and sliced green olives marinated in olive oil and Ginebra San Miguel Premium Gin serves as a good companion for the spread’s neutral flavor.
The Roasted Garlic Butter was finished off with Purefoods Chorizo Bilbao style and onions stewed in San Miguel Premium All-Malt Beer. Using the beer as a stewing ingredient strengthened the bold flavors of the two and added a distinct malt flavor that matches well with the garlic butter spread.
SMFCC ChefViboy Miranda recommends preparing the spreads two to three days before you need them and allowing the flavors to blend even more.
Drinks with a clean, crisp flavor profile like San Miguel Super Dry tend to complement bold and complex flavors well. For SMB’s brewmaster Alan Sienes, beer is a match for most dishes but knowing the character of the beer can help one identify subtle details in its brew. Temperature also plays a big factor in a great beer and food pair. He recommends serving it at the ideal temperature: between 6 to 9 degrees Celsius to be able to appreciate the brew’s full taste.
Cream Cheese and Spinach Tortellini Style in Beetroot Beurre Blanc Sauce with Crisp Basil, paired with Ginebra San Miguel Premium Gin
The second course: ring-shaped dumplings ala tortellini—filled with cream cheese and spinach on top of a delicate, emulsified butter sauce. It was made with Magnolia Gold Butter, Magnolia Full Cream Milk, red onion, beetroot, and Ginebra San Miguel Premium Gin. Its crisp basil leaf topping adds some texture.
The dish is paired with a Sweet Lemony Martini—one of Ginebra San Miguel Premium Gin’s classic cocktail recipes. This drink highlights the tang of citrus present in Ginebra San Miguel Premium Gin. The gin’s flavor profile, meanwhile, elevates the butter sauce’s aroma and taste.
GSMI’s mixologist Tabitha Rice says that the great thing about gin is that each one has its own distinct blend. Knowing what types of flavors are present in a particular kind of gin can help in deciding what flavorings or garnishes to add to either contrast or highlight its taste.
While sounding fairly complicated, the tortellini can actually be simplified by using store-bought frozen spinach packs mixed with softened Magnolia Cream Cheese for the filling. Dumpling wrappers can also take the place of making the pasta dough from scratch.
Gin Chicken Confit on Squash-Potato Mash and Balsamic Drizzled Green Pea Puree paired with Woomera Sauvignon Blanc
The third course is Magnolia Free Range Chicken marinated for 24 hours in Ginebra’s 1834 Premium Distilled Gin and a blend of herbs and spices, slow-cooked in olive oil, and seared until crispy and golden brown. Served on top of mashed squash-potato and a vibrant green puree and drizzled with a balsamic reduction, the dish is a combination of different textures.
Confit Chicken is a great dish to make ahead of time as it can keep in the freezer for up to a month. Marinating the dish days, or even weeks ahead, also lets the flavors seep in more. The key to a perfect sear is to temper chicken at room temperature for a few hours so the fat softens enough to fry evenly.
The light herbal notes from the chicken marinate are paired with Woomera’s Sauvignon Blanc—a dry wine with a similar light and delicate flavor profile.
Wine Brothers Philippines’ winemaker Mike Davies believes that Sauvignon Blanc, while often overlooked, is actually a good fit for the Philippines. Not too heavy and with a vibrant, tropical taste, it is a perfect accompaniment to our hot, humid weather. The wine also has enough acid and weight that it can play well with similar flavors—such as the herby chicken—but also cut through the strong, salty, and spicy flavors common in our homegrown dishes. A surprising match he loves is Sauvignon Blanc with sisig.
Mini Beef Wellington paired with The 1834 G&T Cocktail
The Mini Beef Wellington is a testament to how different flavors can result in a balanced, delightful dish. The dish consists of baked Monterey Beef Tenderloin covered in a layer of Purefoods Honeycured Bacon and mushroom duxelles wrapped in a golden puff pastry. It is served on a bed of greens and beer gravy, made with San Miguel Super Dry and Magnolia All-Purpose Flour.
The 1834 Premium Distilled Gin is a uniquely Filipino gin infused with calamansi and Sampaguita. Its smooth, neat taste cuts through the intense mushroom flavor and salt from the bacon.
The rich flavors of a Beef Wellington can easily become the centerpiece of a festive spread. For those who have never tried making one, Chef Viboy Miranda shares that the mushroom duxelles must be sautéed until completely dry so the pastry doesn’t become soggy.
Moist Chocolate Cake in Sweet Red Dark Ganache paired with Cerveza Negra
To cap off the meal, SMFCC prepared a decadent moist cake using Magnolia’s Devil’s Food Cake Mix infused with Woomera’s Sweet Red Wine and covered in a smooth ganache made with the same wine and dark chocolate, and Magnolia All-Purpose Cream. On its own, Sweet Red is a vibrant and fruity drink, sweet enough to fit well into the Filipino palette. It adds another layer to the richness of chocolate.
The cake was topped with pistachio nuts for an added crunch. While it may be a surprise to some, certain beer brews can actually be a companion to dessert. Among SMB’s line of Premium Beers, SMB’s Alan Sienes chooses Cerveza Negra for the pairing. He says that decadent dessert brings out the unique caramel flavor of the dark lager.