If you are like me, your approach to summer picnics and brunches will likely go like this: summertime brunches are all about staying indoors to steer clear of the humidity and avoiding picnics altogether. Spending time outdoors can’t be helped if you’re in Ilocos Norte though because this tourist destination is blessed with unparalleled natural beauty. This is why my summer days are all about knowing how to compromise and to compromise well. It is about bringing nature in through large glass windows or dining alfresco if the heat is tolerable. It is also about refreshing drinks which, in my case, often involves sweet, fruity wines and enjoying them in the shade.
Starting March each year, my calendar is packed with brunch meetings and brunch with friends. On special occasions, friends would call for a good, old-fashioned potluck by the beach. While I love to cook and bake, I usually just bring wine because it doesn’t require me to slave in the kitchen for a good two hours or more. My go-to is Basi del Diablo’s Virginia Blush. It is easy to make a blanket recommendation though. I can just say it’s Virginia Blush for everything, every brunch and picnic, every party. However, I won’t be adding any value to your wine journey if I did that. Below is a wine guide for you this summer or at least when the weatherman says it is going to be sunny.
Picnics by the Beach with Basidina
With Ilocos Norte’s shoreline dotted with stunning beaches, going to the beach is always a treat. My favourites are North Beach Camp and Kingfisher. You can also visit Currimao Beach or go to Saud if you’d like to see more of our beaches.
I associate beaches with dry whites because seafood is always present in Ilocano beach parties. When I was younger, dad’s extended family would invite us to picnics by the beach. I remember having pork barbecue and nicely roasted catfish and tilapia with their skins burnt.
We no longer have beachside barbecues because us kids are no longer kids. These beautiful memories made their mark though so whenever I am invited to a picnic by the beach, I bring a bottle of our crisp white wine Basidina. This is a beautiful white wine comes with subtle mineral and citrus notes. It is fragrant and if I may say so myself, quite enjoyable when paired with Ilocano salads.
If you do not have access to our wines just yet, you can always get a bottle of dry Riesling like a Chateau Ste. Michelle.
Try it with: seafood, veggies, pork if you are adventurous
Brunch Alongside Nature with a Bottle of Virginia Blush
It is almost always warm in Ilocos and what better way to enjoy its weather than having brunch by a lake, river, or up in its mountains? To celebrate the fact that I actually went outside the house, I usually open a bottle of Virginia Blush. It is sweet, crisp, and bursting with apple flavours. Virginia Blush is refreshing and best served cold.
Try it with: salads, fruits, pastries, and pasta with white sauce
Backyard Brunches with De La Bodega
Planning to stay home? Invite a few friends over and prepare your signature dishes. I recommend opening a bottle of De La Bodega if you are having cake. Some of the best pairings include La Preciosa’s apple walnut cake and Smoke’s strawberry or mango shortcake.
De La Bodega
Try it with: salmon, pastries, fruity cakes