Purveyors

Purveyors: The Wild Range’s Wild Boar Sausages, Pastries, and Other Treats Highlight the Specialties of Mindoro

July 25, 2017

How’s this for intriguing: wild boar sausages, made the old-fashioned way (from scratch and sans extenders!). Chef Kesiah Jacinto and partner TQ Antiqueño of The Wild Range use wild boar meat sourced from Mindoro—where many locals grow the animal even in their own backyards. With a cleaner taste and less fat compared to regular pork, wild boar meat sure has its own character, but can make for a challenge in that it can easily be overpowered by other flavors. It took a couple of tries to get the formulas right, but they were able finalize the formulas for the three sausage variants you’ll find today.

Take your pick from any of their three sausage variants, which each have their own personality—and story.

For a robust, meaty punch, try their signature Smoked, whose eponymous cooking method is carried out in a traditional tinapa smoker by Mindoroan community member Nanay Zeny. Craving herby, Mediterranean-esque flavors? Go for the Malunggay Pesto, which comes flecked with moringa leaves also sourced from their own neighbours in Mindoro (growing your own vegetables at home is also common in the region, they share). Something different? Get the Satay, an ingeniously nutty variant (the author is reminded of kare-kare) which incorporates another special ingredient in their lineup called Abbey’s Peanut Butter.

L: Kuya Crisanto and Ate Weng help Jacinto and Antiqueño with raising hogs and are their contact persons to connect with other wild boar growers in Mindoro. | R: Nanay Zenie, who’s been making tinapa for two decades, does the smoking for their signature sausage variant. Photos from The Wild Range

We feel deeply attached to our products . . . because of the stories behind them. After all, we create products as a form of storytelling about our lives, and our community.

The Wild Range is many things to the pair. For Jacinto, previously a culinary instructor and R&D chef with a long list of accolades, having studied at the CCA and worked in cafes and restaurants in New Zealand, it is a means of carrying on the culinary streak in the face of two slipped discs which would force her to resign. For Antiqueño, previously a college instructor who taught courses in Communication Research and Human-Centered Design, it is a means to revisit the field and apply its principles—particularly, the latter’s emphasis on creating products to address present human needs (that of Mindoroans, with whom they partner, in this case)—to the real world.

Abbey’s Peanut Butter is their signature nutty spread named after TQ’s younger brother Abbey, who has Down Syndrome. Abbey photo from The Wild Range

The Wild Range is also a medium for the two to pay tribute to the special people in their lives. Abbey, for example, is Antiqueño’s younger brother who has Down’s Syndrome, and would inspire the creation of their special peanut butter—which was made by Antiqueño’s parents in hopes of raising funds at the time Abbey was undergoing physical therapy. Ultra-nutty and just slightly sweet with a full-bodied, roasted depth, the spread can be had as a standalone jar, but also goes into their Satay sausage and the Abbey cake.

“Making tablea here in Mindoro is a dying craft,” they share. “Nobody in [Nanay Nita’s] family is continuing [it].” But the Wild Range hopes to relive the tradition by helping create demand for the product. Nanay Nita photo from The Wild Range

Perhaps most importantly, The Wild Range is their way of paying tribute to Jacinto’s Mindoroan roots. Jacinto’s family comes from Mindoro, and so are familiar with its people and its local artisans. Looking to help the community, Jacinto and Antiqueño enlisted their help, finding ways to incorporate their specialties and skills into The Wild Range’s product lineup. Mindoroan tablea, for example, is put on the spotlight in the form of their deep, dark tablea balls—a labor of love by Nanay Nita, who has relentlessly been making tablea (growing the cacao, drying them, and turning them into balls) for 53 years.

We consider ingredients not just for their culinary benefit but also for their human benefit. ‘What good can this ingredient do to people?’ is more important for us than ‘How does this ingredient taste like?’

The Abbey cake highlights their signature spread of the same name, featuring a dense peanut butter cake topped with almond flakes (a symbol, they reveal, for the “almond-shaped eyes” of kids with the said condition). | Tisoy was one of their first products they launched—a pale yellow, creamy bar which can be had either as is (in its natural chewy, fudgy, brownie-like state), chilled (during which it firms up to a flan-like consistency), or heated (during which it gets gooey enough that you can actually spread it on bread!).

No doubt The Wild Range’s goods are as tasty as they are unique, showcasing Mindoro’s many delicacies and talents Mindoro, in the hands of Jacinto, whose culinary prowess continues to radiate through their one-of-a-kind creations. More than that, The Wild Range is the couple’s contribution to the community and to the world around them. “We always say that The Wild Range is not just a food service company . . . It is a small part of what we aim to be, because what we aim for is not really success, but significance.”


The Wild Range

The Wild Range makes sausages, pastries, and other tasty treats in partnership with farmers and local artisans from Mindoro.

CONTACT: thewildrange2@gmail.com
SPEND: Php 200-600
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Patricia Baes SEE AUTHOR Patricia Baes Trish thinks too much about everything—truth, existence.....and what’s on her plate. Her ongoing quest for a better relationship with food has led to a passion for cooking, gastronomy, and a newfound interest in its politics. She is a cheapskate in other aspects of her life, preferring to use her savings on specialty vinegars and degustation menus. While she admits to eating out too much, cooking and baking remain her first love, and she's always looking for quirky new ways to use up seasonal produce. Thanks to her obsession with (unnecessarily) making everything from scratch, she is now desperate to clear her fridge full of homemade condiments. She dreams of perfecting the art of making soufflé with her crappy toaster oven.
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