The Best Of Negros Is Back At The 33rd Negros Trade Fair This September 26-30
Established in 1985 by 14 inspiring housewives, the Negros Trade Fair (NTF) is now proudly the country’s longest-running, annual provincial trade fair held in Metro Manila. It continues to provide a venue for the small and medium enterprises of Negros Occidental to showcase and promote its best products.
Now on its 33rd year, the organizers of the 2018 Negros Trade Fair in collaboration with the Association of Negros Producers (ANP) are set to present Negros’ best at this year’s fair which will run from 26 to 30 September 2018 at the Glorietta Activity Center in Makati City with the theme “Sweet Talk: Sugar Spice and Everything Nice.”
This year’s NTF aims to pay tribute to the sugar industry by encouraging the exhibitors to make use of sugar, its components and by-products, while also highlighting other industries based in Negros. It also aims to give us a glimpse of the Negrenses’ refined lifestyle that the sugar industry created, as shown through its culture, products, food, and art.
To launch the 33rd NTF to the media, a special lunch was recently hosted by top Negrense chef Tonyboy Escalante at his very popular Antonio’s Fine Dining Restaurant in Tagaytay, the first restaurant from the Philippines to be included in the prestigious S. Pellegrino and Acqua Panna- sponsored, Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list in 2014.
At the lunch, Chef Tonyboy Escalante surprised us by not serving typical Negrense fare. Instead he treated us to a taste of what hacienda fare was like in his Negros home, starting with a delightful appetizer spread of Akaroa Salmon Tartare with lump fish caviar, Salted Cod al Pilpil, Pork Ear Salpicao, and Fresh Burrata Salad, supplemented by an all-you-can-eat Housemade Potato Chip bar with assorted dips, and a Raclette station.
For mains, we were treated to a delish plate of Bottarga Pasta with cured Italian mullet roe grated tableside, and a bowl of to-die-for hearty Portuguese Style Seafood Stew that is sadly not on the Antonio’s regular menu.
Dessert was an ice cream cart fully loaded with some of Antonio’s most popular homemade ice cream flavors like Pistachio, Panna, and Taho. The latter was served with a side of arnibal (caramelized sugar syrup) and sago (tapioca pearls), and was my hands-down favorite.
Taho ice cream
The lavish lunch spread was complemented by a selection of bespoke cocktails specially concocted for the launch, and featuring local spirits. Among the cocktails were a burnt rice-infused, rum-based cocktail and a refreshing gin and tonic made with gin infused with batwan, a fruit from Negros usually used as a souring agent in popular Negrense dishes like kansi.
Burnt rice infused rum cocktail at NTF
To give us a better idea of what to expect at this year’s fair, the Antonio’s reception area was converted into a mini-showroom showcasing some of the products to be sold at the fair, and curated by longtime Negros Trade Fair patron and supporter, Nena Vargas-Tantoco. Booths from various sectors such as natural and organic food, garments, fashion accessories, furniture, décor, houseware, agriculture, and tourism are expected this year.
Don’t miss your chance to catch the best of Negros under one roof at the 33rd Negros Trade Fair which will run from September 26 to 30, 2018 at the Glorietta Activity Center, Makati City. This is one trade fair that I make the extra effort to check out every year, not just for its delicious food, but also for its non-food products.
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Photos by Cyrene de la Rosa
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