Believe it or not, I’ve been trying to train myself in food writing by learning about food and food-related events around me. Experience is the best teacher, after all, and going to these events (and eating there) helps me enrich my knowledge.
Unfortunately, I only get to know about this stuff by chance, and by the time I do, it’s already old news, or the event highlighting such is over. Worst of all is when I find out there’s an event featuring certain food like desserts or wines, and that I never get to visit them because I’ve not known about them in the first place. (Being at work while one is happening is another story.)
Take, for example, the day when the chefs of Magsaysay Center for Hospitality and Culinary Arts (MIHCA) bagged a Guinness world record. With the help of major sponsor Kraft Food Philippines, they defeated India’s record of 4,668 unique cheese-infused dishes… by doing 5,845 of them in one day and one venue.
Now I’m not exactly a fan of cheese, though I enjoy eating stuff with lots of them like cheeseburgers and lasagna. Still, to watch a world record-breaking event would be a wonderful experience, being part of history and all. And having to sample all of them… Mmm.
That date was December 14, 2009. Where was I on that day?
It was through an accidental tip that I learned about MIHCA’s latest venture: a cheese-themed cafe that features all 5,845 of these dishes. They opened the cafe just this Saturday (July 24) at the SM Mall of Asia. The venue’s name? The aptly-named “Cafe 5845”.
The café is located near the IMAX Theater, with a great view of Manila Bay close by, a respite from MOA’s bustling surroundings. At first glance it looks like a makeshift cafe despite its European-style design, but the moment you see the lighted candles and couches and feel the quiet ambience, you’d be enticed to sit down, have a cup of coffee while relaxing, and cuddle with your lover while feeding each other cheesecakes or cheese-laced pasta. Cheesy, but that’s how it is. Where was I? Cafe 5845’s ambience alone wins you over, but the thought of those intriguing cheese-based food on your table is something worth experiencing.
As I mentioned, Cafe 5845 is the result of MIHCA’s Guinness record-breaking feat to create 5,845 cheese-infused delicacies. True to their word, they’re serving all of the dishes they made on that day. (For this, I heard they’re going to change the menus often so that everyone would have a taste of each of these dishes.)
First I tried on their menu was the Spaghetti Bolognese, which looks like your normal spaghetti. Believe it or not, looks can be deceiving. The taste of cheese stands out, and it enhances the flavor of the spaghetti sauce and the ground meat.
The spaghetti came with a dessert sampler: cheese cupcake, cream fondant, mango cream cheese tart, and a few cream puffs. Sugar rush, sugar rush! Who’d believe there’s cheese in any of these stuff?
I also tried out one of their main courses, the apple and ham stuffed chicken with Mornay sauce. This came with a side dish of potato croquettes with bacon and cheese sauce, and a Krafty cotta (panna cotta flavored with cheese) for dessert.
The stuffed chicken was delicious; the creamy filling complements the taste of the lightly grilled chicken. The croquettes were filled with air inside, but it was soft and went well with the somewhat spicy bacon and cheese sauce. The Krafty cotta was not too sweet, and it had a nice, gelatinous texture to it. And yes, you can still taste a hint of cheese in the Krafty cotta.
Of course, what’s a cheese-themed restaurant without cheesecakes? The Cheesylicious Cheesecake was surprisingly rich and flavorful, and soft to the palate. Too bad it’s the only cheesecake in the menu so far. Someone probably had it better (cough*Teenwatch*cough).
The sad thing about Cafe 5845 is that the cafe’s not going to stay there for long. I’ve heard that Cafe 5845 will be open until around September. Probably by that time, they would have served all 5,845 of those dishes… and I won’t have much of a chance to try out all of them. Too bad.
Here’s something good I just read: “The health benefits of cheese include relief from hypertension, and osteoporosis. It also helps in maintaining bone health, gaining weight gain and dental care.” Apparently, cheese is rich in calcium, protein, and Vitamin B, as well as “Conjugated Linoleic Acid and Sphingolipids which help prevent cancer”.
There is also a study in Canada that showed milk and milk products like yogurt and cheese seems to be able to help lower blood pressure. Also, “whether cheese’s highly saturated fat actually leads to an increased risk of heart disease is called into question when considering France and Greece, which lead the world in cheese eating (more than 14 oz/400 g a week per person, or over 45 lb/20 kg a year) yet have relatively low rates of heart disease.” * Woo-hoo, safe! More reasons for me to be cheesy, I mean, fall in love with cheese!
As for me, well… I hope I could be part of more events and experiences such as this. For the moment, I’ll just have my cheese dish, sit back, eat up, and savor the thought that I’m eating something that’s worth a Guinness world record.
*Taken from Canada.com and Wikipedia