March 4, 2007

Stephen T. Barreiro

Herencia Café: An “Edible Landmark in Ilocos Norte”

Herencia Cafe

Ilocos Norte is famed for the beauty and magnificence of our architectural landmarks such as the world renowned Paoay Church and the Burgos lighthouse, which have also become virtually synonymous and symbolic of their towns.

Our culinary traditions have likewise begun to attract the attention of the tourist and consumer public as well; Batac for its empanada and Pasuquin for Biscocho.

Arising in the picturesque town of Paoay is a new center for culinary tradition, the Herencia Cafe. Literally meaning “heritage,” Herencia is a restaurant which has remained faithful to classical Ilocano cuisine as in their authentic and delicious servings of pinakbet and bagnet. Also on the menu are various entrees from classical Spanish, Italian, and Indian cuisine like the Beef Salpicado, Chicken Lemon Grass and their exellent pasta collection. The Arabbiata, which is spaghetti with stewed tomatoes, herbs and olive oil is comparable as the one I have tried at Italiannis and Cibo but at a fraction of the price (only P85 per serving). For a sample of “fusion’ cuisine, try the Mango chicken with cheese curry sauce, a basic Indian dish modified with the use of Italian cheese.

Indeed, Herencia Café has also been at the forefront of the latest advances in culinary development promoting what co-owner Sammy Blas has referred to as “fusion cuisine.”

Pinakbet Pizza
Herencia has taken the quintessential Ilokano dish pinakbet to a new level of culinary excellence by creating the pinakbet pizza. By combining traditional Italian pizza with local ingredients used for pinakbet, Herencia has created a unique delicacy which has begun to attract national attention.

According to Herencia co-owner Sammy Blas, the idea of using pinakbet as a topping for pizza intrigued him; for example anchovies which have been used in pizza making for ages were replaced by the similar yet uniquely native ingredient bagoong, then add okra, eggplant, and longganiza meat as toppings over mozzarella cheese, all placed on a classic hand tossed pizza crust. Voila! A dish which is both an aesthetic as well as a gastronomical pleasure.

And what better place to savor the pinakbet pizza and the art of fine dining than at the Herencia Café. The Café boasts of elegance with an Old World feel. Decorations of Florentine glass, antique wood and wrought iron furniture, vigan tiles, and a superb view of the famed Paoay Church combine to create the perfect mood. I was distinctly reminded of Café Intramuros without the hustle and bustle of the city. Indeed a visit to Herencia Café is a glimpse on our genteel past; and a taste of the famed pinakbet pizza, a glimpse into the future of Ilokano cuisine.

As the famed Paoay Church has put Paoay on the World Heritage list, the Herencia Café may also bring Paoay to the world’s culinary map as well. An “edible landmark” indeed.

Classic interior

Visit Herencia Café at McArthur Street, Bgy. 14, Sangladan, Paoay (in front of Paoay Church). For inquiries you may call tel. 077- 614 -0214.

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Copyright 2007 Ilocos Times. All rights reserved.

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