Celebrations: The Champagne Society of the Phil. and Mr. Faaabvlous Birthday Dinner
People love birthday parties – there’s always a sense of sharing and bonding. It’s a celebration of the art of living; of living the good life. Artist photographer famed for his “Photographer to the Faaabvlous” exhibits, Rupert Jacinto had a fabulous milestone celebration. For his birthday, we whipped up an intimate dinner at home, brightened by a collection of modern art and with the Makati skyline adding to the night time sparkle. The menu shone with specialties like slow roasted lamb done by the King of roasts David Lim, stuffed garlic chicken, zarzuela de mariscos and others prepared by yours truly. It was a night filled with laughter and song, with Mellie and Louie Ablaza, Helen Ong, Mario Katigbak, Joy and Joel Rustia and Ping Valencia.
The following evening, nothing short of dazzling and glittery was businessman, globe trotter, and bosom friend David B. Lim’s “Champagne Society of the Philippines” dinner held at his well-appointed Forbes Park residence. David’s love of champagne initiated his dinner. As the gorgeous invitees were ushered into the dining room bathed in the glow of the warm candlelight, the stage was set for a lavish dining experience. Four friends flew in from Cebu especially for the evening: Cebu society doyenne Mariquita Yeung, former Governor, Rep. Gwen Garcia and jet setters Joel and Carla del Prado, who has made Hongkong their “happy place”. David took the opportunity to launch this dinner to celebrate Rupert’s birthday. Mariquita whispered to Rupert: “David told us it was a surprise dinner for you.” He garnered praises for this display of vintage champagnes. The splendid flowers which decked the long dinner table was executed by Nina Hailey of Love Garden, and the Baccarat candelabras, the Christofle dinnerware and more, were all feast for the senses.
David’s refined palate reflected on the fine selection of the specially designed menu from Chef Gaita Fores, which made an excellent complement to the vintage champagnes. During cocktails, Veuve Cliquot Le Grande Dame 2006 was poured; with the field greens of rucola, manchego, and candied pears it was the Krug 2004; the live lobster “Alla Catalana” spaghettini garnered the Louis Roderer 2012; next came the chilean sea bass in parchment, paired with the Taittinger Comtes Blanc de Blancs 2006; and the U.S. angus rib cap salpicado climaxed the champagne piece the resistance, the Dom Perignon P2 2000. For the dessert of churros and crema catalana, the Moet 7 Chandon Ice Imperial was a refreshing finale.
The mood was celebratory marked with continuous toasting by Frannie Jacinto, Nina Halley, Ping Valencia, Mayenne Carmona and Chris Badiola. Knowledgeable about his wines and spirits, Joel said that the Dom Perignon P2 2000 was an excellent choice being a good year for champagne. Rupert recalled his photo shoots with Mariquita and Gwen in Cebu: “We moved from one room to the other for different setting, with waiters trailing behind with buckets of chilled Pol Roger making sure our flutes were never empty.” Sipping the final champagne, the Moet Chandon Ice Imperial, which was served with strawberry flavoured ice and paired with the dessert, Mariquita told Gwen: “We must have this for breakfast”, which brought out more laughter. Gwen, a former Governor of Cebu announced that she will be running once again for Governor in May 2019. Everyone cheered her and to more champagne dinners. Everyone took to the living room for singing with the pianist. David’s philosophy on life: “This life is a gift. Make the best out of it.” And it was the best of the best.