It means blue in Italian. Turchino, the latest dining outlet of Amorita Resort, recently opened as Bohol eased coronavirus restrictions on Nov. 15 and opened the island province to tourists once more.
Located in the cliff-top luxury resort, Turchino is surrounded by Panglao island’s blue waters and gorgeous Alona beach.
Every time a friend from abroad asks me which islands are the best to visit, I always ask, well, what do they want to see? If it’s pristine beaches and nightlife, Boracay; if it’s diving, Apo island and Palawan. If they want these and also culture plus the country’s most beautiful river (Loboc), and mountains too, then it has to be Bohol.
The food, however, goes farther than the island province. The menu’s modern Italian, and the interiors are splashed with blue hues.
Last month, at an intimate food tasting (we were only three writers) we got to try Turchino’s offerings at their test kitchen in Taguig.
One of Collection executive chef Greg Villalon told us the pasta noodle and pizza dough (the latter uses unbleached floor) are made in house. The pizza’s baked in the restaurant’s own brick oven (as it was in the test kitchen) to give it a distinct smoky flavor and a chewy crust.
We were told that the pizza dough is fermented to build a distinct flavor profile and to create a texture that’s chewy, airy, and light. Flavors are Four Cheese, Margherita Moderna, Salami, and Spicy Salsiccia.
We also tried the Mozzarella d’Oro, deep-fried battered fresh mozzarella cheese with cherry tomato marmelata and fried basil leaves as garnish—perfect with a glass of crisp sauvignon blanc.
Bistecca con Porcini came next. This grilled sirloin steak is flavoured with porcini mushroom dry rub and served with sautéed greens. And last, a Crispy Tiramisu Tower—layers of meringue and mascarpone cream cheese filling topped with grated chocolate.
If you can’t make your way to Bohol just yet, Amorita Resort introduced 9Saddle to give people in Metro Manila a taste of Turchino.
When the lockdowns happened starting in March and Amorita shut down, CEO Nikki Cauton and his wife, president Ria Cauton, decided to open 9Saddle to give an alternative means of livelihood to their displaced staff.
“9Saddle was originally intended to be a test kitchen for the dishes that will be served in the resort’s restaurants. But due to the disruptions in operations because of the pandemic, the team started baking pizzas inspired by the flavors of Turchino,” said Nikki.
The Cautons are the young couple behind Amorita who poured their hearts into turning this property into one of the country’s most awarded Filipino-owned luxury resorts.
Amorita recently won Conde Nast Johansens’ Award for Excellence as Best Dining Experience for 2021 with the resort being the only Philippine-based accommodation to make it on this year’s list.
It’s the resort’s fourth win in the annual awards with Best for Service in 2017 and 2019, and Best for Families in 2020.
“Conde Nast Johansens, the leading reference guide of independent travelers, hand-selects the best properties from around the globe to include in their exclusive list.”
Amorita also won Best of the Decade-Best Boutique Hotel (Beach category) by Smart Travel Asia. The results were based on Smart Travel Asia’s total accumulated scores and rank tabulations from 2010-2019 plus the scores based on reader comments, letters, Smart Travel Asia’s journalists’ views, and focus group input.
Cauton said that to adapt to this new era of a heightened focus on cleanliness, health, and safety, Amorita Resort has built on its current practices a 4-point C.A.R.E. initiative—short for Cleaning and Safety Protocols, Actions for Health and Wellbeing, Responsible and Mindful service, and Education and Advocacy.
The resort has set up sanitizing stations at the arrival areas and other key locations, round-the-clock inspection and cleaning of high-touch surfaces, holding of rooms in between reservations, and the introduction of digital restaurant menus to minimize physical contact.