Enchanted Farm: Food For More than Just Eating

It is a courtesy when dining out to give one’s ‘compliments to the chef’ after an excellent meal. Sadly, it is not a common practice to pay respects to those who grow the food! In recent years, some farm-to-table restaurants have raised some awareness about where they source their organic vegetables and free-range meats, but for most diners the distance still remains between their tables and the farms, ranches, and fisheries where the food is actually produced. However, there is at least one place wherein customers can come up close and personal with a community that is behind some up and coming food brands in the Philippines: Gawad Kalinga Enchanted Farm.

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At the entrance to the farm

Gawad Kalinga Enchanted Farm is located at Barangay Encanto, Angat, Bulacan. This venture by the non-profit organization Gawad Kalinga has partnered with a village to help set up social enterprises wherein much of the profit goes to the community that started up the business. Since 2010, the Enchanted Farm has served as a start-up point and ‘incubator’ for a variety of social enterprises such as Bayani Brew, the Human Nature beauty and personal care line, as well as other start-up businesses begun by students who have trained at the farm village university. Not surprisingly many of these enterprises would be featured at the farm’s seventh anniversary fair, which Team Glasses was all too eager to pay a visit to this month.

One product that immediately caught our attention was the Luscious Choco Gelato courtesy of Kayumanggi Organic. We discovered that this was actually a vegan gelato, making use of coconut milk in lieu of cow’s milk. Admittedly I was skeptical at first, but then again, chocolate has always been more than enough to overcome our doubts.  And indeed, our faith in chocolate was proven right, for the first spoonfuls of this gelato had the distinctive flavor of tablea melting in our mouths. The gelato itself was light and smooth on our tongues, yet remaining rich in flavor down to the last drop. Most interestingly, the gelato did not trigger another of Lee’s acid reflux attacks, a problem we’ve encountered on most other occasions with dairy desserts.

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Alas, this gelato was so good that we finished it before getting a picture. This is all that’s left!

Another treat during our visit to Enchanted Farm was the duck burger from Golden Duck, a social enterprise centered around a duck farm started within the community. At first glance these burgers appeared to be on the plain side: bread, patty, onion, and tomato. No lettuce or cheese. One bite though was enough to explain exactly why this was the most Spartan burger we’d encountered yet; all the goodness was in the patty itself. The duck meat was rich and fatty, but seasoned with pepper to offset the otherwise heavy taste. This was one case wherein no fixings were necessary.

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“How is this NOT a thing?!”

Yet another homegrown delight was the chocolate cake from the Make Peace Bakery, a French-inspired bakery run by the community youth. This particular dessert was not too sweet, with a light chocolate flavor that sank through every bit of the chocolate sponge cake. Only a little icing was necessary to spruce the cake up. The result was a dessert to rival those of Manila patisseries—and at a fair price to boot.

Thankfully we, and other travelers, do not have to venture as far as Bulacan to sample these treats. Kayumanggi Organic sells its chocolate gelato as well as coconut oil, coconut sugar, and wild ginger over at RealFood in Alabang. The duck burger as well as other products from Enchanted Farm are also available at Enchanted Farm Café on Commonwealth Avenue, Quezon City.
Hopefully as these products and other social enterprises become more available and prosper, more communities will make their way out of poverty and continue to develop. And having healthier and sustainable food options in the market is a great boon to gourmets and gourmands who would like to be sure of their health—as well as the welfare of those around them.

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Green Pastures

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It was an easy weekend wherein we decided to go off from our usual Makati foodie haunts and tried a place called Green Pastures at Shangrila Mall for a late lunch with one of Kat’s longtime friends.

After placing our orders, I took a moment to glance around the place and to me at least, Green Pastures has a homey feel to it, giving the sense that one is in a ranch somewhere in the Midwest. I was actually curious about the pickled items on top of their shelves, but it’s perhaps a question best answered for another time.

This time around I ordered the ‘Vegetable burger that doesn’t suck’, and Kat had the Green Pasture’s carbonara. Our friend ordered the grilled cheese, which came with a side dish of tomato soup and camote chips. The grilled cheese sandwich and the soup were sumptuous, though the camote chips we deemed as being a bit on the bland side.

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Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Tomato Sauce and Camote Chips

Their actual vegetable burger patty was great because it does have a near meat-like texture and taste to it, which I loved. It brings out a complex layer of flavors to the taste buds. However, my gripe with it is the portion-size. The burger’s too large for me to fully consider it a burger because the moment I picked it up and tried to take a bite, part of the patty fell to the plate below due to gravity and width concerns. Arguably, I could have used utensils instead of eating it by hand, but that’s a matter of traditionalist preferences, eating burgers and pizza slices by hand. And then once one glances at the accompanying fries with hummus dip and it becomes a meal good for two.

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‘Veggie Burger that doesn’t suck’

The Carbonara on the other hand is something I’d like to try and share with Kat again next time because it didn’t come out as soggy after mixing, meaning it’s a well balanced dish. The carbonara was served with an interesting twist: a poached egg to mix and mash into the pasta. The flavors of the cheese and panchetta were not particularly sharp in this dish, thus making it light on the palate.

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Green Pastures’ Carbonara

All in all, we ended the meal by sharing my fries and while it may be on the pricier range as far as our past reviews are concerned, this place is really good as a treat for special occasions.

Food Score: 4/5. Taste-wise their food have a balanced feel to the palette and something one would look forward to finishing. The fresh organic ingredients make the flavors speak out for themselves and complement the different items on their menu.

Ambiance / Service Score: 4/5. For our stay there, their staff are attentive and the restaurant itself have a casual dining feel that we appreciate.

GERD Score: 2.5/5. Some of their single portions are too big for people dealing with heartburn, like in the case of the veggie burger. And I’ve noticed that most of the meals are dairy heavy on the ingredients too, so I do highly suggest bringing a friend or two and share meals here to lessen the acidity problems after eating. When all else fails, there are salads.

Epilepsy Score: 5/5. The menu here is very detailed, to the point of stating whether particular ingredients may have some preservatives or additives. It is easy for one to avoid any triggers here. This place prides itself on having gluten free and vegetarian options as well.

Team Glasses Score: 4/5. Overall, Green Pastures does a good job in bringing a farm-to-plate concept and making it their own. We think the place is still worth another visit from us and from people who enjoy great food.

Green Pastures Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato