A Feast for the Tummy and Soul at Gourmet Farms

Rows of greens abound at Gourmet Farms 
Two weeks ago, I was privileged to be a part of a familiarization tour of Gourmet Farms in Silang, Cavite. Owned by the award-winning Ernest Escaler, the farm is one of the first organic farms in the country. It boasts of 12 hectares of farmland that produces a variety of vegetables and herbs harvested in sustainable, world-class standards.

After an almost two-hour drive from Manila, we arrived at Gourmet Farms and were welcomed with a glass of their signature lemonade--a refreshing concoction of lemon, calamansi, honey, and basil. I was actually not feeling well that time as I have been battling with flu for several days already, and this drink helped relieve my sore throat! It's soothing!

Signature lemonade
While waiting for the Gourmet Farms' team who would give us an orientation and tour of the farm, I took the chance to roam around the Gourmet Cafe and Country Store to see what's on offer. I've been an avid consumer of Gourmet Farms (I usually get my supply at Shopwise or Rustan's Supermarket) so when I saw the rows of dips, sauces, coffee, dressings, and chips on the racks at reasonably cheaper prices than in supermarkets, the impulsive shopper in me almost got tempted to hoard bottles of their kitchen exclusives! As if the visual feast wasn't enough, the air smelled like freshly brewed coffee! I wanted to grab each and every kind of beans in there!

Sauces galore
Coffee beans, anyone?
Oh, and they have civet coffee, too!
My current addiction--lettuce chips
After awhile, the team, led by Dr. J, gathered everyone and started the briefing. We then geared up with our fancy straw hats and fans, and off we started to experience the farm life. Our first stop though was not the farm; rather, we visited the St. Joseph Sanctuary, a sacred space meant for meditation and reflection.

The entrance to St. Joseph Sanctuary
Tucked in a lush landscape, the sanctuary features a function room, a dining hall, a chapel, and 10 cozy guestrooms. It is where Gourmet Farms conducts Solitudo, a three-day holistic, silent retreat perfect for those who want peace and quiet away from the bustling city. A reminder though, the place is not a bed and breakfast, and it cannot accommodate activities like team buildings and parties as the place is merely created for meditation and is expected to be quiet and tranquil at all times. No walk-ins are also allowed.

The path that leads to the function room
The quiet pods

Plush beds and crisp clean linens
Dual purpose: a chair and a kneeler
A spacious bathroom
Beautifully landscaped gardens
The pond
The dining hall
The twin tree is a favorite photo op spot for pre-nuptial shoots
The Chapel exudes an \East meets West" design
The chapel's interiors
After roaming around the sanctuary, we continued our tour and explored the many plots, which were lined with greens and herbs. Gourmet Farms promotes traditional and sustainable farming so it is guaranteed that every vegetable or herb harvested here are organic and free of harmful chemicals.






Since they don't use harmful fertilizers. they use compost instead. Irrigation is also propelled by a windmill so as to conserve energy.

Gourmet Farms' lone windmill
The compost pits
Potted herb
Goats freely roaming around
After the tour of the farm, we headed back to The Dining Room, where a sumptuous farm-to-table lunch was waiting for us. While waiting for their cue, we couldn't help but notice the unique centerpiece--a lettuce arrangement.

The centerpiece
We then checked out the salad buffet, which showcases their collection of dressings, of which, the honey mustard was my instant favorite. I like it on my potato salad combined with black olives, croutons, and hard-boiled egg. There was also a light pumpkin soup, which was just a delectable.

A variety of dressings
The Greek nachos was served next, and I was surprised to learn that instead of the usual tortilla chips, the chef used their very own lettuce chips. Again, I don't eat veggies, especially leafy ones, but this one is an exemption. There's no weird leafy taste at all, and even better, it was combined with tangy meat sauce, black olives, and feta cheese. It was so amazing that I even brought home packs of lettuce chips, hoping that I could replicate this dish at home.

Greek Nachos
The thin crust Gourmet Pizza was loaded with Parma ham, zucchini, shrimps, and bechamel sauce--a nice twist to the traditional tomato-based pizza. Be careful though as each slice was filling and you might end up leaving no space for the main course. The pizza was served alongside another bestseller, the fettucine al funghi, which has an assortment of mushrooms, fresh sage, and truffle oil in a rich cream sauce.

Gourmet Pizza
Al Funghi
The Mediterranean lamb stew was tender and well-seasoned complemented by whole pitted black olives and couscous.
Mediterranean Lamb Stew
Beef  Pot Roast
Baked Salmon
One of my favorites was the baked salmon--a slice of salmon fillet cooked just right (not overly done) and drizzled with a light, tomato-based sauce poured over creamy mashed potatoes. It's a perfect balance of healthy and hearty!

Grilled Tuna
The grilled tuna was bursting with layers of flavors, too--fresh tuna in harmony with fresh herbs. The fish wasn't dry considering it was grilled, and the flavors were apparent inside out.

Capping the familiarization tour was an informative coffee appreciation talk by Gourmet Farms' Master Roaster, Len Reyes. He explained the entire process--from planting the different kinds of beans to roasting to grinding and brewing. Afterwhich, we were served a luscious coffee panna cotta.

Gourmet Farms Master Roaster Len Reyes
Different kinds of coffee beans
Roasting!

The grind
Coffee Panna Cotta
If you happen to be in Silang, Cavite, and you are looking for a place to have a good cup of freshly brewed coffee, consider Gourmet Farms. You will not only get addicted to their assortment of coffee blends, but you will also enjoy the simple and quiet farm life. Fresh organic herbs and vegetables, aromatic brews, delightful concoctions, a serene retreat hub, and everything else in between will surely impress your tummy and soul.

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Gourmet Farms
Km. 52, Aguinaldo Highway, 
Buho, Silang, Cavite
The Dining Room: +6346.8651064 / +63917.5854674
The Country Store: +6346.4140209 / +63920.9497728
http://gourmetfarms.com.ph/

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