GUINOBATAN, Albay, 16Aug2013 (PNA) – Lukban town in Quezon boasts of its own longganiza and Vigan, Ilocos Sur, has its own pride of the meat product. Down south here in the Bicol region, people come for the delicious “Longganiza de Guinobatan,” a local sausage made of pork.
Longganiza de Guinobatan is now recognized as among the “One Town, One Product” choices being promoted now as among Bicol’s culinary delicacies not only in the local but also in the national market, according to Lourdita Llanto, a professor of the Bicol University College of Agriculture and Fisheries (BUCAF) here.
Llanto claimed that unlike other products, the Longganiza de Guinobatan is manually made.
“We don’t use meat grinders in making the sausage, we manually chop the meat,” she added, “so there goes our heart and mind in doing it.”
To promote the local meat product, the local government unit launched a week-long Guinobatan Longaniza Festival, highlighted by a Longaniza Culinaria event where an on-the-spot longganiza-making and cooking competition was held.
Longganiza makers and cooking aficionados outsmarted one another in a relax display of their skills in preparing Guinobatan’s famous sausage and cooking it in various exquisite menus.
What made the competition more interesting is that it pitted young and adult contestants, as four elementary grade students aged 10-11 years old tested their skills against their much-experienced adult counterparts in the one-and-half hour competition.
Concepcion Olayon, 65, a professional meat processor for three decades and who owns a meat shop in the town market, was the oldest.
Participants for the sausage-making contest were required to make as many pieces they could in an hour from one kilo of pork and ingredients that were given each.
Those who joined the cooking contest were asked to demonstrate their uniqueness in style and taste by cooking different dishes from the Guinobatan sausage.
What greeted spectators after the allotted time for the contest was a buffet of mouth-watering dishes like the Longganiza-stuffed Pocket Pie, Shanggalo, Baked Naked Hot Longaniza with Vegetables, Cordon Blue-stuffed Longganiza with Mashed Potato, Bicol Express, Menudo and Longganiza Shanghai.
The longganiza-making competition winners were: Sean-Susan Food Products, first place; Concepcion Ogayon of the Market Team, second place; Christian Mangampo and Mark Dhon Moraleda, third place.
For the cooking category, the contest winners were: Sean-Susan Food Products, Susan and Sean Paliza, First Prize; the team of Geroncio Sampaga Jr. and Ryan Balmaceda, second prize; and John Eric Vargas and Myla Manlapaz of PLT College, third prize.
The Longganiza de Guinobatan comes in two varieties: the regular, which consists of 50-50 percent lean meat and fat; and the special, which is 80-percent lean meat, according to Llanto, who also teaches meat processing at the BUCAF.
A kilo of pork produces at least 35 pieces of sausage and sells for P5.00 a piece.
The basic ingredients in making longganiza are pork, small intestine casing, salt, sugar, garlic, praque powder, chili powder and black pepper.
Gemma Ongjoco, Guinobatan town mayor, said in an interview that she looks forward to seeing the Longganiza de Guinobatan making it good in both the local and national markets after it was recognized as one of the top products in the country.
“I am very proud of our longganiza which once you taste you will always look for it,” the neophyte mayor said.
Ongjoco said the product is now being displayed and sold in big supermarkets, hotels and restaurants across the province.
She said she plans to help the town’s eight longganiza producers in improving the quality of the product and its packaging and launching a campaign to promote it.
Among the pioneers in the longganiza meat-processing business here are the Rabago, Padre, Ogayon and Paliza families. (PNA)