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Savor the Flavors: Inside the Cebu Food and Wine Festival 2024 at NUSTAR

Courtesy of NUSTAR Cebu

Gastronomy tourism, the exploration of culture through food, plays a crucial role in promoting local cuisines and culinary traditions. It enhances cultural exchange and supports local economies by attracting food enthusiasts from around the world. As the Cebu Food and Wine Festival 2024 kicked off on June 1 and 2 at NUSTAR Resort and Casino, the event exemplifies this by highlighting Cebu’s unique gastronomic offerings.

Held in NUSTAR’s Grand Ballroom, “Taste Cebu” was divided into three distinct tasting zones: Wave, Peak, and Warmth. Each zone offered a unique interactive experience, transforming the ballroom into a multisensory feast with 15 immersive tasting stations, live action stations by award-winning chefs, and an array of wines and spirits from Vino Enoteca and Wine Club.

Courtesy of NUSTAR Cebu

The “Wave” zone was bloomed tranquil blue with waves projected on a giant LED screen, mirroring Cebu’s coastal areas. Guests savored seafood selections presented in real sea urchin shells and other fresh ocean produce. A few steps onward, the “Peak” zone featured greenery and a “Ring-for-Champagne” wall, offering guests an interactive means to procure their drinks for the night. Highlights at this zone included the tuslob buwa and chicken proven arancini, a pandan rice dish stuffed with pig’s brain and served with crispy chicken proven. The “Peak” zone also featured a puso-weaving station, allowing guests the opportunity to learn how to weave the puso, the Cebuano practice of weaving palm leaves into heart-shaped rice containers. 

Meanwhile, the “Warmth” zone sparkled with glowing balloons and a central beer fountain, capturing the city’s lively spirit and nightlife. Dishes included Borbon’s tuba-marinated saang sisig tacos, featuring coconut wine-marinated conch shell sisig in corn tortillas. This zone also featured a variety of desserts, from a station that invited guests to choose their own fillings for the Liloan cookie rosquillos, to tiramisu which traded traditional ladyfinger cookies with otap.

Courtesy of NUSTAR Cebu

The event featured renowned chefs such as Chef Sau del Rosario, famed for his Kapampangan dishes; Chef David Thien, a Michelin-star luminary known for his fusion of French and Asian flavors; and Chef Lisa Revilla-Thien, formerly of The Dempsey Cookhouse and Bar in Singapore. NUSTAR’s own Executive Chef Martin Rebolledo, Executive Pastry Chef Rolando Macatangay, Chef Lloyd Cabalhin, and Chef Randell Jugalbot also showcased their innovative takes on Cebu’s iconic dishes.

The Cebu Food and Wine Festival 2024 at NUSTAR was a celebration of Cebu’s rich culinary heritage, blending tradition with innovation and highlighting the importance of gastronomy tourism in the region.

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