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Soiree Beaujolais 2014 in the Philippines

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La vie est trop courte pour boire du mauvais vin.

It is once again the third Thursday of November. No, that’s not Thanksgiving USA. This special Thursday of the month is the celebration of Beaujolais Nouveau – the new wine from the rich, fertile grape fields and wineries of Beaujolais region in France. It is the most popular vin de primeur or nouveau, fermented for just a few weeks before being released for sale on the third Thursday of November every year. Hence, this special day will also be celebrated by the French community in the Philippines together with guests from the diplomatic, corporate and social registers of the country.

Oh, the French phrase above means “Life is too short to drink bad wine.” Sweet!

This year’s celebration of Beaujolais Nouveau will happen on Thursday (of course), November 20, 2014 at the Tent City of the Manila Hotel. Organized by the French Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines—Le Club, the gala starts at six in the evening. Last year’s event recreated the moments of Parisian street scenes with couture, music, food and, of course, wine. On Thursday, it will tell the story of France’s dynamic movement from the turn of the century in the 20’s up to today. Murals, visual collages, lighting, music, and the interpretative renderings in dance and other theatrical art forms are what’s in store for those attending this once-a-year celebration.

The chamber has been celebrating the Soiree Beaujolais for the past 22 years in conjunction with a simultaneous gala in most countries of the world where there is a sizable French community including France, of course. All the wine, cheese and delicatessen are being flown in from France while The Manila Hotel will prepare the other hors d’ oeuvres, charcuterie, oysters, salads, hot French cuisine, pastries and desserts.

The Chamber President, Mr. Cyril Rocke, will welcome all the guests, while the keynote message will be delivered by His Excellency, Gilles Garachon, Ambassador of France to the Philippines. The Chamber Board of Directors, headed by Soiree Beaujolais Committee Chairperson and Past Chamber President, Mr. Bernard Flour, will lead in the uncorking of the new bottles, declaring the arrival of the Beaujolais Nouveau.

Book your ticket through the French Chamber of Commerce and Industry, by calling telephone number, +63 (2) 491 7708. You can also purchase tickets online at

Sources: | Beautiful Life

Photo: Board of Directors of the French Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the Philippines by Ted Claudio via Beautiful Life


Aubergine – Eat Well, Laugh Often, Love Abundantly

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Aubergine Restaurant and Patisserie in Bonifacio Global City

It’s a popular French phrase when it comes to good food – Mangez bien, riez souvent, aimez beaucoup. So, I don’t speak French but those first two words mean a lot for the French where good food isn’t just a luxury – it’s a way of life.

I was invited by media publicist Arabelle Jimenez of Ecrit-Com, Inc. to join the owners of Le Cellier French Wine Selection (Le Cellier Quality Store Corp.) Bernard Flour and Jorinda Flour for lunch at Aubergine Restaurant and Patisserie, located at the second floor of the 32nd and 5th Building, 5th Avenue and 32nd Street inside Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City. I was surprised to learn there is a fine French restaurant tucked inside one of the iconic buildings of Bonifacio Global City since it started in December of 2007; and to think I’ve lived in the area since 2010.

Arabelle, me, Jorinda and Edel inside Aubergine’s glass-encased wine cellar.

Aubergine is at the second floor of where McDonald’s has been for quite some time. I’ve never really looked up the building while passing through the area for the past years. It was only that Monday that I noticed the Aubergine sign at the second floor.

I didn’t know that Bernard and Jorinda brought white wine from their wine cellar and when asked, I quipped that I liked red over white all the time. But our gracious hosts ordered a bottle of Récolte 2011. According to Bernard, the taste of the Récolte mimics that of Chilean red wine which is strong to the palate and one of the reds I like because of its value-for-money.

Récolte 2011 red wine goes well with my medium rare Angus striploin steak.

Together with Edel San, the other online publisher invited to dine at Aubergine, we wandered around the restaurant and was truly amazed at its glass-encased, auto-temperature cooled wine cellar in the middle of the restaurant. They also had their trophy case at one of the ends of the place filled with, well, lots of trophies and awards they have won through the years. By the way, Aubergine is the restaurant extension of the The International School of Culinary Arts and Hotel Management (ISCAHM), a world-class culinary training center in Quezon City. But I’ll get back to that later on the founders. For now, let’s eat!

The Business Lunch Menu is an affordable fine-dining French meal.

For lunch, I opted for the three course Business Lunch Menu that started with home smoked beef Carpaccio with caper berries-tomato, beetroot marinated salmon with honey-dill mustard sauce, and assorted salad greens in passion fruit dressing. I love Carpaccio! Over soup.

I love Carpaccio! Over soup.

From the plat principal (“main course” in French) selection of grilled Chilean sea bass, Mulwara beef tips and grilled U.S. Angus striploin steak, I chose the latter for my main course. Hey! I’ve always been a meat guy and savoring Aubergine’s medium rare steak was a delight. One thing that grabbed my taste-attention was the assortment of veggies and potato around my steak. The sweet taste of the rosemary-potato gratin together with the striploin steak was a match made in heaven!

I’ve always been a meat guy and savoring Aubergine’s medium rare steak was a delight.

To end the Chef d’œuvre lunch, we were served a sweet concoction of coffee and banana mousse cake, cameralized banana and coffee ice cream. Oh, the camarlized banana was a delight to my coffee that ended the meal.

Oh, the camarelized banana was a delight to my coffee that ended the meal.

Aubergine Restaurant and Patisserie was founded by Hans Schallenberg and Norbert Gandler, colleagues of their own rights in the culinary world who met at the Hilton Osaka and later at the Makati Shangri-la Hotel. They both opened ISCAHM in December 2002. When they opened Aubergine in December 2007, they invited its current Executive Chef Stefan Langenhan who just left Silversea Cruises, a luxury cruise line that operates eight luxury cruise ships. Besides the cruise line company, Chef Stefan has held Executive Sous Chef and Executive Chef positions of various properties in Germany, Austria, and the USA. We actually met Chef Stefan of German decent during our à la carte experience; a nice, humble guy.

Aubergine’s Chef Stefan Langenhan and Le Cellier’s Bernard Flour.


Awards, patisserie and the bar.


Dining area of Aubergine.


Glass-encased kitchen of Aubergine.


Separating the main dining area and the bar is Aubergine’s glass encased wine cellar.


A view of the entrance from the inside reveals the familiar McDonald’s logo. So, you won’t miss Aubergine along 32nd Avenue.

I am grateful to Arabelle Jimenez of Ecrit-Com, Inc. and Bernard and Jorinda Flour of Le Cellier for inviting us to grace Aubergine Restaurant and Patisserie. It was truly an experience worth repeating.

Aubergine Restaurant and Patisserie
32nd and 5th Building
5th Avenue and 32nd Street
Bonifacio Global City
Taguig City 1634 Philippines

For reservations, e-mail the restaurant at or call/text:
+63 (2) 856-9888
+63 (917) 557-1675
+63 (949) 641-9468

Parking is available at the basement of the building where the entrance is behind the HSBC building. There is also an open parking space across the street at the Bridgestone Tires building.

Le Cellier French Wine Selection
(Le Cellier Quality Store Corp.)
Unit 201 Sunette Tower
Durban St.
Makati City 1200 Philippines
Tel. No. +63 (2) 897-1840
Fax No. +63 (2) 890-0019

Photos by @raffypekson