Guests enjoy calamansi-flavored Happy Hour at Ainsworth Park in New York.  (Photo from 13 Degrees North)

New Yorkers were introduced to a refreshing new citrus flavor when the Philippine Calamansi Association represented by Helen and Arnie del Rosario hosted two events in New York organized by 13 Degrees North, a marketing and events company, in cooperation with the Philippine Department of Agriculture, the Philippine Consulate General New York and the Philippine Trade and Investment Center New York, with the goal of introducing the Philippine fruit to mainstream America.

On June 29, a private degustation dinner was held at a private dining room at the critically-acclaimed and Michelin-rated Bouley Restaurant on Duane Street, Manhattan which featured a six course culinary treat, with each course showcasing the versatility of the Philippine citrus.

The private, intimate affair of 28 attendees included notable guests Consul General Mario de Leon, Jr. and his wife Eleanor, Philippine Congressman Juan “Johnny” R. Revilla and his wife and well-known Filipina singer Janet Basco, Ralph Dean Christy of Cornell University and Michael Nierva, President of the Philippine American Chamber of Commerce, Inc., along with New York food writers and industry players.

Chef David Bouley was extraordinary in creating culinary masterpieces for each course, especially given the fact he had never worked with calamansi.

He opened with a Tomato-Calamansi gazpacho followed by a sea urchin and oyster appetizer, sprinkled with caviar, in a green apple and calamansi cloud.

Scallops and Alaskan King crabs drizzled with a reduction of calamansi, saffron and pernod was served next, followed by monkfish cheeks and tails with cod in a dashi broth, where Chef Bouley combined calamansi with black truffle.

The fourth course was a Guinea Hen and Foie Gras, infused with calamansi, followed by the intermezzo, a chilled coconut soup with a pineapple granite and amaretto ice cream, drizzled with calamansi oil.

Finally, dessert was a blood orange sorbet with a bit of lime, orange and calamansi nage.

The highlight of the event was when Chef Bouley came out of the kitchen and worked the room, much to the delight of the guests.

He exclaimed that calamansi was one of the greatest ingredients he has ever worked with and inquired how he could place an order.

De Leon was happy to hear this development saying that, “Filipino food is really gaining traction as an international culinary powerhouse. The entry of calamansi will add a more distinct Filipino flavor to the diversity of the New York food scene and hopefully it will become a staple in kitchens across America.”

The evening ended with the Philippine Calamansi Association handing out gift bags to all the guests, filled with sample products from members of their Association, and the restaurant also treated everyone with their signature Bouley Butter Loaf as they exited the establishment.

Lastly, Chef Bouley was presented a special bottle of wine by the Association in appreciation of the event.

To display the multi-faceted calamansi as an ingredient, the next day on June 30, the #CalamansiSocial cocktail event was held at the Ainsworth Park in Union Square, Manhattan using calamansi to concoct mixed drinks for guests from the business community, media, event managers and food purveyors.