At least 11 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Ilocos Norte joined the three-day International Food Exhibition (IFEX) 2017 at the Philippine Trade Training Center in Pasay City, Metro Manila, which kicked off Friday.

Joining other participants from various parts of the country, the Ilocano delegation aims to promote Ilocos Norte as a “home of good food” with its specialty products ranging from pasta dishes, bakery products, beverages, snacks, processed and instant foods, including organically-grown fruits, vegetables and seafoods.

Edison Natividad, head of the SME office under the provincial government of Ilocos Norte, said they continue to assist promising SMEs here to reach a wider market outside the province and neighboring areas.

Inspired by the province’s major tourist attractions, a pioneering travel cafe in Ilocos Norte was organized to join for the first time the IFEX Philippines 2017.

Good Vibes by Genorimo Travel Cafe in Laoag specializes in pasta dishes like its bestseller “Patapat” pasta, an olive oil-based pasta with herbed longganisa, black olives and herbed tomatoes. What is unique for this proud Ilokano product is that the owners produce their own organic herbs direct from their backyard to the kitchen table. Aside from the usual garlicky Ilocos longganisa, the cafe also serves home-made herbed longganisa. The cafe will bring its fresh herb plants at the show, aside from healthy beverages infused with wild honey, fruits and veggies are also featured in the event.

Meanwhile, the multi-awarded REFMAD dragon fruit farm and resort based in Paayas village, Burgos, Ilocos Norte will also feature some of its latest food products such as the dragon fruit sandwich, a pita bread infused with dragon fruit powder and dragon fruit balls with fresh vegetables inside and topped with unique dressings.

In support of the provincial government’s vision to promote gastronomic tourism and improve trade and industry in this northern gateway of Ilocos region, SMEs here have been actively participating in various culinary shows and exhibits, targeting local and international markets. (LGA/PNA)

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