Those in Bangkok who love their tummies and their taste buds are in for a treat. From now until July 27, Gourmet Market World’s Best Taste festival has taken over the Gourmet Market Emporium, EmQuartier and Paragon yet again, exclusively importing some of the planet’s best food and drink to our shores. This year’s theme of “THE EXTRAORDINARY 10” promises to be nothing less than… extraordinary, with a host of incoming international goodies in every category and a champion of each. Mind your drool as we talk you through them now.
1: The Champion Flavors
This category plays host to products recognized by the Global Food Institute for their superior taste and quality. The chosen one this year is Estepa Virgin Olive Oil, hailing directly from Andalusia in Spain. This bottled beauty has won the prestigious Mario Solinas award for Best Olive Oil from the Olive Oil Council, so you know it’s going to taste damn good drizzled over whatever the hell you feel like. What makes Estepa stand out from the slippery pack is that these particular olives are picked from the trees as soon as they start to ripen and turn red, a stage known as “Envero” in the business. This gives the oil an intensely fruity flavor with a dash of bitterness and spice, the perfect combination for the discerning palette, of which yours most certainly is.
2: The Pride of Thailand
If there’s one thing Thailand isn’t short of, it’s rice. But few know of the vast variety of grainy goodness that can be found across the country. Under the Pride of Thailand category this year is the Nine Mongkol Rice set, combining nine varieties from the best cultivation areas. Throw a crazy rice party for your friends (rice parties are always crazy, right?) and educate them on the subtleties of Brown Riceberry from Nakorn Pratom, Red Brown Jasmine Rice from Surin, Black Sticky Rice from Tak, and Chum Pae Rice from Khon Kaen, to name just a few. #RiceLife.
3: Wealth of the Sea
The Wealth of the Sea section is stacked with fresh seafood jet sent from the oceans of seven different peninsulas around the world. Receiving top billing this year is the Wild Alaskan King Salmon from… you guessed it… Alaska! Known as “King of the Wild” as it’s fished straight out of cold, clear rivers and not grown in farms, this salmon is firmer, has fewer layers of fat than your average pink fish and boasts naturally sweet flesh.
4: Marbled Beef
A boon for Bangkok’s steak lovers is the Marbled Beef category, which this year plays host to 270 Days Grain Fed Dry Aged Prime Rib from Rangers Valley, Australia. This brilliant beef is both tender and flavorful, which, let’s be honest, cannot always be said for Thai steaks.
5: Masters of Chacuterie
Beating other sexy slices to win the accolade of the Master of Charcuterie this year is Jamon Iberico de Bellotta from Spain. This delicate and extremely tasty ham comes from Spain’s famously noble free-ranged black Iberico pigs, said to produce some of the finest pork products in the world. Go on, be a piggy!
6: Legend-Dairy Cheese
Cheese lovers rejoice! The Legend-Dairy Cheese section (do you see what they did there?) is where you’ll want to be, all day, err’day. This corner of the supermarket will be stinking in a good way with soft cheese, hard cheese, medium-soft cheese and blue cheese (we could go on) of all varieties from European hubs including Italy, France and the Netherlands. The star of the show this year is set to be Zanetti Mozzarella di Bufala Campana DOP, otherwise known as “The Queen of Italian Cheese”. Buffalo milk contains twice as much fat as cow’s milk, but you won’t give a damn about the calories when you taste it.
7: Seasoning Secrets
No foodie function would be complete without Jamie Oliver sticking his Cockney nose in for a sniff of the action. This year, Jamie Oliver’s Seasoning Range will be taking pride of place in the Secret of Seasoning category, promising to ignite your passions in the kitchen. Now don’t go too wild on that two-burner hob, Bangkok!
8: Powerful Health Boosters
Now here’s one for all of you who turned your noses up at the cheese section. The Powerful Health Booster of the year goes to Oritain Manuka Honey from New Zealand, which is made by bees that snack on tea tree plants, a natural antiseptic. This sticky, sweet stuff doesn’t come cheap, but its health giving properties are said to be priceless.
9: Season’s Best
Kind of like Best in Show but for fruit and veg instead of canines, Season’s Best showcases natural highlights from farms across the globe. This year’s top dog is Okinawan corn, a vibrant and versatile veggie coming fresh from the Japanese summer. The crunchy kernels can be eaten raw, but we recommend you try them steamed on the cob with lots, and lots, of butter.
10: Mix & Sip in Style
And finally, let’s not forget that all this eating is bound to make us thirsty. This year, you can quench your thirst with Acqua Armani Mineral Water, premium stuff of the wet variety from the foothills of the Italian Alps. It’s said to be Italy’s purest water with a clean, refreshing taste that’s off the charts and no need to worry about any nasties.
Gourmet Market World’s Best Taste 2016, The Extraordinary 10, will be available at Gourmet Market Emporium, EmQuartier and Paragon until July 27.