Fun Facts About Spices

People are fascinated by the smell, taste and health benefits of spices from long time ago. Spices have a very turbulent history and, in some way, they have shaped the world we live in now. There is an interesting story about the effects and the cultural impact of spices you have in your kitchen. Here are only a few of them.


Lavender has a distinctive fragrant and it is often used in perfumes and essential oils. Its name comes from the Latin word “lavare”, which means “to wash”. In the old times, when bathing was not a common practice, people used to use lavender to aromatize clothes and linen.

You can use it to add the distinctive floral taste to the wide variety of meals. It might sound surprising, but it can improve the flavor of sweet and savory dishes, chocolate cupcakes, beet salad, buttermilk fried chicken, cheesecake, sorbet, roasted turkey and many, many more.


The origin of this super-healthy plant is the Mediterranean cuisine. Its name comes from the Greek language and means “delight of the mountains”. It is commonly grown in gardens because it enhances the growth of the surrounding plants.

It is most popular as the “pizza herb”, but it is also often used in the Italian cuisine for preparation of pasta and tomato sauce. It is a powerful antiseptic and it has a profound influence on the immune system. It contains a high level of Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, and vitamins K and B-6. It has four times more antioxidants than blueberries. 


Almost 90 percent of the world’s production of turmeric takes place in India. It is a deep orange-yellow powder from the family of ginger, famous for its strong health benefits. It is even used as a natural antivenin for the bites of King Cobra.

Turmeric contains various types of compounds that have tremendous benefits for your health. The most important is curcumin, a strong antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory pain-reliever. It is often used in the form of pills to fight many health problems like the brain and heart diseases, cancer, depression, Alzheimer disease, osteoarthritis, and many more. 

Chili Pepper

Chili pepper had been an essential part of the North American cuisine even before the European settlers came to the New World. There are many varieties of the chili peppers, but they all have one thing in common – their hotness comes from the compound called “capsaicin”.

While chili peppers may cause some serious burns on the flesh of mammals, birds are completely immune to it. This is why they are responsible for excreting their seeds. If you try a chili pepper that is too hot, take a glass of milk or any liquid dairy product because it  will neutralize the burning sensation of capsaicin.


Pepper has a truly fascinating history. In the past, it was a very expensive spice, so only rich people were able to consume it. It was shipped from India through the spice routes and the traders often fought among themselves on the way to Europe. It was so valuable during the Middle Ages that people measured their wealth according to the stash of pepper they possessed.

It was more valuable than gold, so it was often used as a form of legal currency. Even today, the expression “pepper expensive” is still used in many languages throughout Europe to label something as very expensive. 


Cinnamon comes from the bark of the cinnamon tree and it is one of the rare spices that can be consumed raw. It can be very useful in everyday life. If you add a few drops of cinnamon oil to your lotion or sunscreen, it can serve as a natural pesticide and destroy bugs. Also, if you mix cinnamon with honey and apply it on your hair, it will lighten it up.
It is recommendable to include cinnamon in your regular diet because it has many health benefits. It can protect you from heart disease, diabetes, cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and bacterial infections. It is full of antioxidants which reduce inflammatory processes in your body and lower the risk of these diseases.

Spices are very beneficial for your health if you use them properly. They add a special flavor to your meals and protect you from many diseases. So, make sure to include them in your diet and your health will improve rapidly.

Noor - A Fresh Take on Modern Mediterranean Cuisine

I haven't been to Burgos Circle in a while and I was amazed to see how much it has changed. There were so many new restaurants and one of them is Noor. I have to say that Noor completely changed how I perceive Mediterranean restaurants. What an awesome experience.

 Noor (P380)

Restaurant manager Tair Ben Arie Hakmini started us off with their crafted cocktails. They named this cocktail after their restaurant for a good reason. One sip and it instantly became my favorite.  It is mixed with gin, cucumber, fresh basil, fresh lemon juice and tonic water.

 Coconut Record (P380)

A cocktail that tastes like coconut? Count me in. This amazing drink contains gin, cognac, almond and shredded coconut. A few drinks later and you'll think a coconut landed on your head.

 Regina Spektor (P380)

There's nothing like a fruity cocktail on a Monday night. This drink is proof that cocktails can be healthy too. This one contains orange, egg white, Cointreau, Campari and vodka.

 Roast Beef (P400)

For those who like their meat served rare, I highly recommend the Roast Beef. It is also served with toasted bread which compliments the meat very well.

Cauliflower (P350)

I have to applaud Chef Or Hakmini because who would have ever thought my favorite dish would be this simple vegetable? Yes, their Cauliflower is a must try as it is deep fried with parsley and caesar aioli.

 Lamb Baklava (P460)

The presentation of their Lamb Baklava is pretty unique. It's something I have never seen done to a lamb dish before. That doesn't mean it was bad though as it screams greatness in every bite.

 Fish Kebab (P550)

One bite out of their Fish Kebab and you can quickly tell that their food is made from the freshest ingredients. I'm not fond of fish too much but I absolutely loved this dish. It's also accompanied with yogurt, herbs and tabbouleh salad and all of them complimented the fish very well.

 Chicken Skewers (P600)

I loved every bit of their Chicken Skewers. From the herbs marinated meat to the grilled vegetables and lentils basmati rice, everything just seems so perfect.

 Kebab (P620)

They say you need to try Kebab when you're in a Mediterranean restaurant and they're correct. I tried it and I love the fact that they combined Beef and Lamb in this dish. Both were amazingly tender. The roasted vegetables under the meat is like the icing on the cake for this magnificent dish.

 Knafe (P390)

Their Knafe tasted a lot like ensaymada with vanilla ice cream on top and that's always a good thing. I'd seriously consider coming back for this alone.

Cracked Pie (P350)

Last but not the least is this wonderful Cracked Pie. Each bite of this dish brings a smile to my face. I'd hate sharing this one with others.

Will I come back to Noor? Absolutely! The service of their well-trained staff is exceptionally good too. I'm sure I will lose count of the number of times I go here a year from today. Besides, they're currently on soft opening so it will only be a matter of time before their menu expands and I can't wait.

Unit F133, Forbeswood Heights
Bonifacio Global City

Born for the Kitchen: Chef Jasper Versoza and His Tasteful Pursuit of Culinary Excellence

Growing up in a family with a strong passion for food and a catering business, it was easy for Chef Jasper Versoza to figure out his dream. When he was a kid, the smell of freshly cooked dishes was giving him a different kind of excitement. His appetite for excellence, however, motivated him to learn more. He knew he could only find it outside their home kitchen.

"I knew I wanted to cook since I can remember. But I wanted more than that. It has always been my desire to give unique twists to dishes and make food experience more satisfying," said Chef Jasper Versoza, Executive Chef of Josiah’s Catering. 

Chef Jasper has always been hungry for new knowledge. He believes that continuous learning is essential to success and important to offer something original to foodies. Despite his exposure to their catering business, he strived to broaden his experience and refine his culinary and entrepreneurial skills at the Center for Culinary Arts, Manila.

"I had to get the best training I could to become the professional chef I have always dreamed of – innovative and explorative. The journey was tough, but it’s all worth it. I have learned a lot about culinary in both theory and practice. Most importantly, I was able to apply everything I have learned in our catering business," Chef Jasper shared.

True enough, his education enabled him to improve the quality of service of Josiah's Catering by adopting the latest food and catering equipment as well as following the best practices in culinary arts. Chef Jasper, however, believes that learning shouldn't stop there. He must explore beyond the kitchen and the classroom. So, he goes to places.  

Exploring Food from Different Places and Taking Inspirations

For Chef Jasper, food and geography are related to each other. So, he explores places – both local and international – to taste what each destination has to offer.

"If I want to innovate and serve new food experiences, I have to get out of the kitchen and travel find inspirations. Different places offer different tastes. It's up for you to find it," Chef Jasper explained.

When he travels, Chef Jasper looks for new inspirations, which he applies to his food creations as part of his desire to innovate. He does not only explore food and cuisines, but he also immerses in different cultures to gain new ideas he can mix with his food and restaurant concepts. 

He added, “The amount of inspirations and knowledge you can acquire by traveling is amazing. Each time I visit a destination, I make sure that I take home new ideas to experiment on.”

Through his relentless explorations of culinary experiences, Chef Jasper and his siblings were able to introduce innovative restaurant concepts that offer unique gastronomic experiences. One of which is the newly launched Sartin at Summit Ridge Tagaytay. It gives Filipino cuisine a unique twist that’s perfect to complement the cool weather in Tagaytay. It is also the company’s first venture into food and business operations management through its subsidiary Josiah’s Hospitality Management, which is focused on hotels management and food and beverage operations for hotels and resorts.   

Another popular restaurant is Fat Daddy’s Smokehouse – a Southern USA-inspired smokehouse and barbecue restaurant that serves perfectly smoked pork ribs, smoked beef brisket, smoked wings and more. It now has branches in Marikina City and at UP Town Center in Katipunan, Quezon City.

Today, Chef Jasper is responsible for the research and development of Josiah’s Catering and its branches of concept restaurant. He makes sure that the quality of food they offer remains world-class and carries the signature taste of Josiah’s.

"Together with my siblings, we are expanding the Josiah’s brand with more distinct restaurant concepts that promise a gastronomic experience that is rewarding and world-class,” Chef Jasper said.  

To know more about Josiah’s Catering, visit their website < > or call (+632) 475-2703.

Catch German Club Manila's 80th Oktoberfest at Solaire on October 4 to 6


OCTOBER 4 – 6, 2018


·         The German Club Manila’s Oktoberfest is the longest-running and largest Oktoberfest celebration in the Philippines.

·         This year marks the German Club’s 80th anniversary for the Oktoberfest.

·         This is the first time that German Club Manila and Solaire has partnered for Oktoberfest, promising the biggest and most authentic celebration to date.

·         Solaire is the ideal partner to host German Club Manila’s highly-anticipated event. Aside from Solaire’s expertise in staging international and local events, it is also home to the country’s finest bars and restaurants, which continue to provide impeccable culinary flavors and world-class service. 


·         The three-day event will happen on October 4 – 6, 2018 (Thursday-Saturday) from 6pm to 2am, and will be held at the 2,400 sqm Solaire Oktoberfest Tent. Entrance to the Tent is located at The Gallery, ground floor of The Shoppes.

·         A grand showcase of German culture, Oktoberfest 2018 will feature free flow German beer, traditional Bavarian food prepared by Solaire’s German chef - sausages, pretzels, schnitzel, and many more, a 12-man German band called Bavarian Sound Express will be flying in from Germany as well as a German host and waitresses. There will also be exciting Oktoberfest games and lucky draws.

·         Over 25,000 liters of wheat beer and Oktoberfest beer from Weihenstephan, the world’s oldest brewery, will be served during the event.

·         Dress code is smart casual or German traditional outfit (lederhosen or dirndl).

·         Only 18 years old and above are allowed inside the Oktoberfest Tent.

Quotes from German Club and Solaire Resort:

“The German Club is a 112-year-old membership club in Manila, and this year, we are celebrating our biggest Oktoberfest yet. We are very delighted to continue this tradition in the Philippines and celebrate the occasion with our Filipino friends. We are pleased to have a new partner in Solaire.” says German Club President Tobias Rast.

“As one of Manila’s premier destinations, we only aim to give the best experiences to our guests. We are honored and thrilled to be hosting this year’s Oktoberfest, and we want to make it even more memorable by ensuring that everything’s authentic – the beers, the food, and the entertainment. It’ll truly put the spotlight on the best of German culture.” says Solaire VP for Food & Beverage Bastian Breuer.


Ticket holders are entitled to a one-day entry and will be given a wristband based on their designated zone. They will also be given a German beer mug, which they can take home. Ticket holders can enjoy free flow German food and beer as well as snacks from the midnight buffet. (See appendix for pricing and zones)

·         TicketWorld - Tickets from TicketWorld will be exchanged at the entrance for German Club tickets.

·         German Club – Guests can buy tickets in their office located at 5F Penthouse, Eurovilla II Bldg., 118 V.A Rufino St., Legazpi Village, Makati City. You may reach them thru or 818-4236.

·         Solaire guests and Solaire Rewards members can also get tickets at Solaire Box Office/TicketWorld counter, which is open from 12noon to 9pm daily.

·         Tickets will also be available during the event.

Getting there

·         Solaire Resort is easily-accessible via major commercial areas, and is about 30 minutes from Makati, BGC, and Alabang.

·         Free parking is available. It is recommended to park at The Theater car park. Valet parking is also available.

·         Solaire Rewards members can enjoy free shuttle service to and from SM MOA and Solaire.