Golden Eggs, Purple Leaf Iced Tea and the Gawad Kalinga Cafe
by Mikey Blanco on December 17th, 2012
When organic food meets social responsibility, you end up with something like the Enchanted Farm Café along Commonwealth Avenue. The Enchanted Farm Café represents the next leg in Gawad Kalinga’s plan to transform our society into a much better place for everyone.
The name Gawad Kalinga is hardly new to anyone anymore. For some of you, the backbreaking work it takes to build a house in the name of charity is what pops to mind—besides the color yellow. While this labor of love is what has catapulted GK into mainstream consciousness, a lot of people do not know that building houses is simply the first phase of GK’s advocacy. According to GK, simply giving people a roof over their heads is not enough to change their lives and make them self-sufficient. The café and its farm are there to provide a source of income for the people already being helped by the organization.
After checking out the café several times, I became familiar with the people and vision behind the café. GK as a whole has a goal by 2024 and that is to end poverty in the Philippines. The café is the first of its kind to showcase the various enterprises that GK handles. In the following years, everyone can expect more enterprises to be started, funded and supported by GK. It is hoped that the cafe and its future branches will be the perfect outlets for these said enterprises.
The Enchanted Farm team is proud to tell you that everything served in the café is organically produced in the GK farm in Bulacan. For those of you wondering why the café is called as such, well it is because the farm is located in Bgy. Encanto, Angat, Bulacan.
In the farm, many social enterprises are nurtured and given a system to work in. For me, the best examples of this are the Golden Eggs. These eggs are a healthier and milder tasting take on everyone’s favorite red eggs. They are called Golden Eggs because turmeric is used to dye the eggs. This is supposedly the non-carcinogenic way of doing it. These eggs also make an appearance in meals, with a slice of a golden egg making rice meals more interesting.
Something that quickly became a favorite of mine is their Bayani Brew. There are two flavors of the brew: classic and Purple Leaf. The classic brew is made of pandan and lemongrass and is closer to the traditional iced tea enjoyed by most of you. I liked the other variant, the Purple Leaf. With no artificial coloring and flavoring, this brew made from “talbos ng kamote” is a hit to anyone looking for something new and healthy to take away thirst. On a personal note, the social enterprise behind this product is very smart because the product really catches your attention. You might even end up patronizing the other products of the café because of the interest generated by this purple drink.
There are three main kinds of meals in the café: rice, pasta and burgers. Every meal comes with a small salad which is curiously made of kamote tops (talbos ng kamote), tomatoes and pipino. Their vinaigrette is a sweet, calamansi-based dressing.
Their pasta meals seem to be the most sought after among their meals according to the café manager, Anjo Joaquin. With a choice of tomato basil, Pinoy pesto and chicken and chili and sardines, there really is something different with each pasta dish. Apparently, Pinoy pesto and chicken is the most attractive dish to the café’s patrons. The pesto is called Pinoy pesto because there are “malunggay” and pili nuts added to the mix. Surely interesting, wouldn’t you think?
Their rice meals use red rice and will be an instant hit to anyone watching their diet. You have your choice of barbecue chicken, pork adobo and longganisa (garlic or sweet). According to the café manager, the best-seller among the rice meals is the chicken barbecue meal.
For the burgers, there are three variants: The Enchanted Burger, All Heart Burger and the All Meat Burger. The Enchanted Burger patty is made of kangkong, lettuce, carrots, onions, and garlic. It is 80% vegetable and 20% lean pork. The All Heart burger, on the other hand is 100% vegetarian and made from “puso ng saging.” The All Meat Burger speaks for itself.
What I found particularly cool with the café is how “human” everything is. Unlike other business ventures which have forgotten that human labor is the most important aspect of any business, Enchanted Farm does not. For many of the people who run the café, a certain amount of sacrifice is required. This might involve extended hours in the café and running from one place to another. But this labor of love is done with the betterment of society in mind. Not a lot of people can boast of a successful business with this much passion from within!
By supporting the café, you get to help shape the future of Philippine society. In just a decade or so, you can expect GK to work at a feverish pace to effect change in all aspects of life. And besides, you can do this by choosing healthy food which actually really tastes good.
In a nutshell, I personally found my trips to the Enchanted Farm Café very enjoyable. Not only did I taste some wonderful and healthy food, I got to see the way Gawad Kalinga does things outside the construction area. And I must say I was impressed. I never knew serving Philippine society could be so delicious and be so good for me! Should you check this café out? Most definitely. With a menu that features an “all-heart burger,” you know you are getting food made with love.
Enchanted Farm Café is found along Commonwealth Avenue, right after Feria road. It is on the second floor of the Human Nature building.
Photos are my own except for the feature pic, Golden Eggs and Pinoy Pesto and Chicken, taken from the Facebook pages of Enchanted Farm and Human Nature.
Photo sources: www.facebook.com/EnchantedFarmCafe, www.facebook.com/humanheartnature, Author’s own