Canadian Ambassador John T. Holmes. Handout
Chef Sandy Daza and Canadian chef Mathieu Pare during the cooking demo. Handout
Chef Sandy Daza’s bistek Tagalog made using Canadian beef. Angelo G. Garcia
Grilled beef tataki with soy vinaigrette. Angelo G. Garcia
Peppered rib eye steak with caramelized onions and mango salsa. Angelo G. Garcia
Pillitteri Estate Winery’s ice wines, a uniquely Canadian product. Angelo G. Garcia
MANILA – When sourcing premium beef, the following places come to mind — the US, Japan, and Australia.
All three countries are known by Filipino consumers and local food businesses for their high-quality meat. But the competition might get stiffer because Canada is hoping to get a slice of that pie.
Canada is not just all about maple syrup because the North American country also has a long tradition in cattle farming.
“Our beef compares with anybody else’s product from anywhere else in the world, but we are not as well-known. People know American beef, Argentinian beef, Brazilian beef, even. Our beef is as good, if not better. We at the embassy with our partners in Canada are making sure that you are aware that we’ve got this great product,” said Canadian ambassador John T. Holmes during the first Canadian Beef Dine and Wine Night.
The Embassy of Canada, Canada Beef International Institute (CBII), and Pillitteri Estates Winery recently hosted a special buffet dinner to local stakeholders, highlighting Canadian beef.
The event was aimed at promoting the product to local food businesses and consumers.
“Asia is our focus in terms of our export market. We are proud to say that the Philippines is at the helm of the growth in Southeast Asia, having seen the growth trend over the past two years,” explained CBII president Francis Andres.
CBII is the lead organization that promotes Canadian beef in various markets. It is funded by more than 55,000 cattle producers in Canada.
Canada takes pride in its cattle industry. According to Holmes, the country has strict regulations when it comes to raising cattle and the production of meat.
“Our wide open spaces, our clean air, our rich grasslands, these have created the perfect environment for raising cattle. We have a 70,000 strong community across Canada in the west, in the east, that are ranching families that are producing this wonderful product. Our beef industry and our government are committed to environmentally friendly and sustainable food production, food safety, and animal welfare,” he said.
QUALITY GRAINS, COLD CLIMATE, ICE WINE
According to chef and executive director of the Canadian beef Center of Excellence Mathieu Paré, there are two things that differentiate Canada beef from the others.
First is the quality of grains farmers feed the cattle, and second, the breed of cattle the producers raise.
“Canada is known as a grain-producing country. We have very fertile soil, a great land mass, and excellent water to produce high-quality grains. That quality feed is enjoyed by our Canadian beef livestock and that expresses itself in the quality of the beef, the white color of the fat, and the red color of the meat. Through those grain feeding practices, we are able grow our animals to harvest sooner and that means we harvest young animals, and younger animals produce more tender beef. That differentiates us,” he said.
Canada is known to many for its cold climate due to its location in the northern hemisphere. The cattle that are being raised in the country are a breed from Northern Europe and can withstand the cold climate.
“It can snow in parts of Canada every day—summer winter, fall, or spring. So the animals we have in our herd are only the cold climate genetics from Northern Europe, and those are the premium genetics that produce well-marbled beef that has that beautiful inter-muscular fat that makes for a juicy, tender, mouthwatering steak experience. Also the consistency of that product in terms of the size of the muscle and the tenderness of the steak,” Paré said.
During the one-night event, Paré and Filipino chef and TV personality Sandy Daza did a cooking demo using Canadian beef. Paré cooked a peppered ribeye steak with caramelized onions and mango salsa, while Daza prepared the classic bistek (beef steak) Tagalog using sirloin.
An episode about Canadian beef will premiere soon on Daza’s show “Food Prints” on ABS-CBN’s Metro Channel.
Other beef dishes that were served at the dinner include: grilled tataki of peppered beef with soy vinaigrette; beef and barley soup, wok-fried rib fillet with coriander tips, and 21-day aged beef items (striploin, rib on the bone, roast chuck eye roll, and braised beef cheeks)
Complementing all these are Canadian wine from Pillitteri Estates Winery. The brand served Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Merlot, and red and white ice wine.
“If you never had a chance to try Canadian ice wine, you have to try it. I promise you, you’re going to love it, it’s a very special wine. We are the only region in the world that can produce this type of wine every single year,” encouraged Pillitteri Wines’ Jared Goerz.
Ice wine is made from grapes that are left on the vines until the middle of winter. It is processed frozen and the result is a sweeter wine, perfect for dessert.
“What is happening is the water content inside the grape is frozen solid, so when we press them — we use about 200 times the pressure that we would normally use for table wine — and the end result, we are essentially removing the water from the process and you’re getting a sweet nectar out of the grape. It’s a completely beautiful refreshing dessert wine that is unlike anything else in the world,” Goerz said.
Pillitteri wines are already widely sold in the Philippines, but Canadian beef is only available at hotels and high-end restaurants.
Andres said that they are currently targeting the premium market for their products, which are currently sold at Rustans Supermarket, Marketplace by Rustans, and Shopwise.
There is also an ongoing promotion this month of December when purchasing the beef at these stores.