It was my first time to get invited to any Oriental Merchants event, and I had no idea that this marketing and distribution company has been around for 29 years now. And to think its office is located in Las Piñas City, where I grew up! Anyway, I was so thrilled to receive an invitation, since it was not only to take place in my hometown, but I was also encouraged to bring friends who were not necessarily from the blogging community––a very rare opportunity, indeed.
So, after our last homeschool playgroup meeting for the month of November, I asked my friend Vanessa, a fellow homeschooling mom, and her family to join my daughters and me at Oriental Merchants Sale 2017. I really didn’t know at first that it was a sale we were going to attend; I was only advised that I was to taste test certain food products and share photos about it in social media. It’s a good thing I have invited friends––I was certain that the experience was made more fun because of them!
Together, we sampled nearly every food product and drinks that were spread out on the tables in several rooms. They were all European brands, particularly from Spain and Italy. There were different kinds of cheese, pasta dishes, dips and sauces, sausages, Belgian cookies, etc. We took our time checking out the products, asking for some information, comparing them, and, of course, taste testing them. It’s a good thing our companions have an acquired taste for European food, and Vanessa’s husband, a vacationing OFW, was even familiar with some of the brands that were served to us.
Our first order of business was to sample the cheeses and Belgian cookies. What can I say, except we were all cheese lovers and, well, who could say no to Belgian cookies?
Jules Destrooper, Divella, Ybarra, and Garcia Baquero are just some of the brands that Oriental Merchants, Inc. carries. Here in the Philippines, these brands are usually served in hotels and restaurants and selected supermarkets, such as Rustan’s. I, myself, have seen some of the brands of pasta and spices at Shopwise (by Rustan’s), particularly the different kinds of Divella pasta, and I was delighted to find that the products were being sold at a very low price at Oriental Merchants office. I decided to buy a few items, especially Divella pasta, with the upcoming Christmas’ Eve and New Year’s Eve dinners in mind.
I didn’t realize that there were just so many products to choose from! They may seem ordinary, but I was told that they’re not at all the usual stuff we’re used to buying in our local markets here, such as the chorizo.
I was also surprised to find out that Oriental Merchants also distributes skin care products and fragrances. Some even have a Rustan’s sticker tag on them––proof that they are sold at high-end markets––and were sold at about half the price, too.
One thing you should know about shopping at Oriental Merchants, Inc.’s annual sale is you keep getting additional discounts when you meet certain conditions, such as paying in cash and bringing reusable shopping bags. Certain products that are still good even if they’ve already reached their supposed expiry dates, particularly cheese, were available at half the price too.
Speaking of cheese, we met Patricia from Pacifica, a sister company of Oriental Merchants, Inc. They carry various sausages as well as gourmet cheeses, among others. By the way, did you know that I am a cheese monster? Yep, aside from dark chocolates, I probably could live on cheese for a day or more. Anyway, Patricia was a fount of information when it came to cheese. As I was getting a crash course on different kinds of cheese from her, I remembered the app about cheeses that I downloaded a few years ago. It seemed to me like she had just about summarized everything in that app.
I learned that aged cheese has sharper taste, crumbly texture, more pungent smell, and darker in color. Moreover, they tend to be more expensive, especially the ones produced the traditional way or without the aid of machinery, as well as those that were produced in a certain place.
I wish I had a better idea of what Oriental Merchants, Inc. offers before coming to their event. It seemed like my friends and I were the only ones who didn’t know they’ve been around for about 30 years now and they have an annual sale toward the end of November. They also regularly participate in WOFEX (World Food Expo) and conducts a sort of cookfest at their office at least once a year. I even bumped into my previous DGroup (discipleship group) leader there. She said she and her friends look forward to Oriental Merchants’s sale every year. I could see now why, and I must admit that my friends and I are already planning to go back next year. ❤