I got invited to attend the McCormick Flavor Nation Festival on May 16, 2015 in Bonifacio Global City High Street. The event was a festival of food and flavor centered around–of course–McCormick products. Even with my fairly limited time and beginner’s foray in the kitchen, I definitely know McCormick and have actually used their products (especially their spices!). It’s certainly a brand that most (if not all) of us have have grown up with and I find that their products are easy essentials in the kitchen. So when I got their invitation to attend the festival, I just knew it was an event that I couldn’t pass up.
Revelry and music instantly greeted us and the festival mood was simply perfect for the Saturday summer afternoon.
There was a Spice Hub set up at the entrance where guests can purchase all manner of McCormick products.
There was even a street magician going around and appearing to be a hit with the crowd.
Flavor Nation Specialty Food Stalls & Spiced Beverage Bar
While the festival was open to the public, there was an Event Passport priced at just P150 for guests to be able to sample the various McCormick-infused food and drinks. With so many food concessionaires and freebies, P150 was really cheap and sulit. I got a complimentary Event Passport from McCormick but we paid for another one so that there would be more food and drinks for my fiancé and myself.
First thing we did was of course, to try out the food from the Flavor Nation Specialty Food Stalls. Concessionaires offered dishes infused with McCormick herbs, spices and meal mixes that made me see McCormick products in a whole new light. Some dishes were admittedly “traditional” such as the carbonara, tinapa pasta, and the Thai pork salad.
But the other dishes definitely offered more interesting and surprising fusion mixes. Dishes such as the quail egg tempura, sisig maki, and chocolate and ube ganache pancake were my favorite.
The bagwings (combination of bagnet and chicken wings) by Chef Jaycee Recto was also a definite hit for me (made with McCormick’s Buffalo Wings seasoning mix).
I also loved the flavor of the Korean fried chicken. There was even a Flavor Nation Bites video shown on how to use McCormick’s Korean fried chicken recipe mix to easily come up with this dish. I want to try this one myself!
I also made sure to photograph the dishes with their corresponding McCormick spices and herbs, for easy reference later on if we want to explore making our own dishes with McCormick products.
The Event Passport also included McCormick spice-infused cocktails (Royal Mojave and Mango Ginger Smash) and a Brew Kettle beer. I really liked the Royal Mojave cocktail with McCormick’s rosemary spice. But with the heat, I thought there were not enough drinks in the passport to help us cool down, and especially since there were a lot of dishes to pair the drinks with (they also didn’t sell extra drinks, although they did give us some complimentary bottled water. Yey!).
The set-up of the festival was quite styled, complete with tables for big groups and mismatched chairs. But it seemed to us that the event would have benefited more from a bigger space to really accommodate the festival ambiance of the event and to put more highlight on the food, instead of being just cramped off to the sides. With the summer heat, we were glad for the tent over the whole space but I guess a few more outdoor installations and smaller tents would have added more to the festive and summer feel. I did appreciate the chairs and tables set-up to really encourage the guests to stay on through the festival.
The Flavor Nation Festival also came complete with games and raffle prizes given away.
The fiancé trying to copy Larry Guevara’s juggling trick with his cocktail:
And of course, to showcase the gustatory flavors and good food that McCormick wanted to celebrate with the Flavor Nation Festival, there were live cooking demonstrations. My favorite cooking demo was by Sabrina Artadi, host of Sabrina’s Kitchen on the Lifestyle Network.
Sabrina is a former beauty queen turned TV food show host and culinary expert. And I guess it’s because she’s not formally trained as a chef that’s why the way she came off as someone who’s approachable and was quite convincing in making the dishes she cooked look very doable even for home cooks and beginners. So, for me, Sabrina was quite the perfect brand ambassador for McCormick as she really showed how easy and effortless it is to make healthy but flavorful and gourmet-level dishes with just a little know-how and of course, with the use of McCormick’s mixes and seasonings (plus, her animated but still very feminine style during her demo was quite memorable as well).
I liked her lemon juice detox suggestion to start off every morning (infused with McCormick’s cinnamon and cayenne pepper spices) and skinless longganisa with paprika. I appreciated her kitchen tips, the emphasis on the use of herbs and seasonings to flavor dishes, instead of relying on too much salt, food coloring, or the controversial MSG. That said, she also encouraged us to go beyond the usual salt and black pepper combination to season our food (I’m guilty of this!) and instead, explore the vast array of seasonings and spices that McCormick has to offer.
She also did demos for pot roast, osso bucco, and seafood dishes—all made with McCormick herbs and spices, of course.
At the end of the demo, festival guests were even able to try her actual dishes made on location.
The evening was capped off with live musical performances by artists such as Wolfgang’s Basti Artadi, THEHUSHPROJECT’s Brad Go, and the Ukulele Philippines Ensemble. We caught some of the performers doing their sound check early on in the afternoon and they were already great.
All in all, it was a fun, certainly filling, and informative way to spend our Saturday afternoon and well into the early evening.
The next day, we were quite inspired by the Flavor Nation Festival that we just had to try out some of McCormick’s mixes and seasonings for a summer pool party that we hosted for my family.
We used McCormick’s Nasi Lemak Coconut Pandan Rice recipe mix from their Rice Cookers series to add in some flavor to plain old rice to go with our “Asian” ulam of beef tapa and sweet and sour fish for lunch. (Try their Biryani Rice recipe mix too—that’s my favorite!).
McCormick’s cinnamon and nutmeg powder also easily went into the summer fruit infusion drink that I made (apple, mango, and lime mixed with juice concentrate), while cayenne pepper and cinnamon were added on to our mango rum cocktail for that extra kick and flavor.
Thanks again to McCormick for bringing to us the Flavor Nation Festival and for the lovely afternoon of good food and activities that celebrate the “nation’s fiery passion for flavor”. ‘Til the next! Cheers!