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Malagos Farmhouse goes to Cebu!

Malagos Farmhouse CebuLast June 25, 2011. Malagos Farmhouse Cheeses were launched in Rustan’s Ayala, Cebu City. The launch was graced by the elite clientele of the Ayala branch. Olive P. Puentespina, the cheesemaker and Karin R. Carmona, the distributor were there to introduce the line to the loyal customers of Rustans. On the table was a selection of the cheeses, served with wines and freshly baked breads. Featured cheeses were Queso Rustico, the newest cheese made from cow’s milk, Fresh Chevre, Fresh Goat Cheese, Kesong Puti, Goat’s Milk Feta, Goat’s Milk Ricotta, Cow’s Milk Ricotta, Fromage Frais, Blue Goat Cheese, Blush and Blue Peppato.

Selina Romualdez, Rustan Cebu’s Marketing Manager was there to play host and receive inquiries from both restaurateurs and regular clients. The deli staff was also excited about the event since they have been receiving inquiries as to when Malagos Cheese will be available in the Ayala branch prior to the launch. Also present was Marcelo “Bon” Torres, Rustan’s AVP for VIS-MIN who particularly liked the Queso Rustico.

The cheeses were well received by the Cebuanos, the crowd lingered and enjoyed the wine and cheeses until there were but crumbs left. A very good sign of the Cebuano’s love of good food and good company. Needless to say, Karin and Olive left Cebu with a huge smile on their faces.

Cheese Making Philippine Style

Cheese making is a way of preserving and adding value to milk. After receiving milk at the cheese room, it is platform tested and pasteurized. Depending on the kind of cheese it will become, appropriate agents are added. While the milk is cooling down in the water bath, all tools and equipment to be used in the cheese making is sterilized. Any amount of dirt will destroy the cheese! When the curd is set, it is time to cut and allow the curd and whey to separate. Resting for about 20 minutes will allow whey to drain properly. After the resting period, curd can be transferred to the cheese mould. Complete draining can be done in a day or two. Cheese should be removed from its mould and allow to sit on the draining board. Depending again on the kind of cheese it will become, salting and spraying of cheese mold should be done during this time. This may be repeated a few more times until the cheeses are aged fully. Then they are either brushed or wrapped for storage.

Generally, cheeses must be stored in temperatures between 2-4C and must be enjoyed at its peak. Expiration ranges between one month for fresh cheeses, to over a year for aged varieties. All of our cheeses bear this important date to guide the consumer when best to enjoy them.

Read Cheese-making Philippine Style, by Olive P. Puentespina

Our cheeses are now available at Gourmet, Rustans

A wide variety of Malagos Cheeses are now available at Le Gourmet Rustans in Rockwell and Ayala Avenue branches.

Follow That Cheese in Davao by Olive P. Puentespina, Cheesemaker

Fresh Goat CheeseFirst, I would like to express how deeply grateful I am to everyone who have tried, tested, accepted and enjoyed my cheeses. Thank you for opening your hearts and palates to a local producer who dreamt of making a truly Philippine-made cheese. You have all contributed to the phenomenal acceptance of Malagos Farmhouse Cheeses since it came out in the market in 2006. The valuable criticism and insights of well meaning chefs, foodies and plain curious fuelled my desire to hone my craft further and regularly come up with wonderful creations for your gustatory delight. It has been a wonderful 4 years for me and my family. To my family who supports me all the way, to the Chefs who took a chance on a local cheesemake, to the food writers who spread the word, to the critics who sharpened my senses, to Karin Carmona, the best cheesemonger bar none and to everybody else who got curious, Maraming Salamat Po!

Time and again I get inquiries about where Malagos Farmhouse Cheeses can be purchased and enjoyed in Davao. Local tourists who visited our website, www.malagosfarmhouse.com, are excited to go to Davao and enjoy the cheeses. It seems like there really is a following for locally made, artisanal and all natural products. We get inquiries from all over the world!

It would really be cool if I can have a tasting room, a showcase area to sell my cheeses and a small space to entertain guests who want to talk local cheese, I am still saving to build that. For the meantime, I am very fortunate to have found partners in Davao restaurants who have put Malagos Farmhouse Cheese in their menu. Now, let’s follow that cheese!

If you like French food, my favorite “French”, dear friend Chef Claude le Neindre uses, of course, my Chevre on his Salade Tres Marias, and Pure Goat’s Milk Feta on his Tomato Salad. Also on the menu is a Malagos Cheese Platter using Feta, Fresh Goat Cheese, Blue Peppato, Chevre and Fromage Frais. His cozy Claude’s Le Café de Ville is located in Rizal Street but will soon open in a much bigger location across the street in the old Oboza Ancestral House, Rizal corner Ponciano Street, Telephone number (082) 222 4287.

Now, if you want to enjoy the cheeses in the menu and also be able to buy some to take home, then visit The Swiss Deli and Restaurant along J.P Laurel, Lanang. They carry quite a few in their deli, Blue Goat Cheese, Blue Peppato, Kesong Puti, Chevre, Blush, Feta and when available, my elusive Queso Roberto.

Across the street, within Damosa Compound, you will find Spirale Ristorante Italiano, Unit 10 Damosa Business Center, Lanang, 082-2346299. This restaurant, owned by Raffy and Chef Annie Cacho Garcia boasts of an Italian/Mediterranean menu. For salad, you will find Malagos Farmhouse Cheeses in: Prosciutto with Goat Cheese
Salad, Mesclun with thin slices of prosciutto and fresh goat cheese, cherry tomatoes and candied walnuts drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette. There is also Insalata della Casa, mesclun with mangoes, fresh goat cheese and shaved parmesan drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette. For pasta, there is Ravioli di Spinacci e Ricotta, homemade ravioli pasta stuffed with Ricotta cheese and spinach served with a choice of blue cheese or stewed tomato sauce. Brick oven baked pizza is one of the hottest items in the menu. There is Pizza Quatro Formaggi, with tomatoes, white mozzarella, Feta, blue goat and ricotta cheese topped with roasted garlic. There is also Pizza Grecco with tomatoes, mozzarella, topped with kalamata olives, onion rings, feta and chevre.

This dynamic couple also owns Bounaterra along F.Torres Street, 082-2822411. There you will also enjoy Malagos cheeses in their copas (flat breads with all sorts of toppings), cheese platter, pizzas and salads. The display chiller is also replete with Malagos Farmhouse cheeses and other goodies.

Next door neighbor is Ronaldo’s, Center for Asian Culinary Studies Davao, Holiday Gym and Spa Complex, F. Torres Street, 082 3002992. This newest kid on the block, opening only a few weeks ago is another heavy weight. The menu seems to carry the best of Chef Gene Gonzales’ repertoire. Malagos Farmhouse Cheeses shares a stellar spot with the other heavyweights. For starters, there is the Malagos Pizza with Arugula, Fresh Cheese and Gourmet Tuyo, Four Cheese Pizza with Malagos Feta, Gruyer, Mozzarella and Malagos .Goat Cheese, Upland Pizza with greens, fresh cheese and wine onions, Turkish Pide with Homemade Sausage and a Puentespina Cheese Blend.

Across along Florentino Torres street, you will find Le Pizzeria who uses Malagos fresh goat cheese on their brick oven baked pizzas.

Further along this road, you’ll find Tiny Kitchen owned and operated by Vince and Donna Rodriguez. This dynamic hub which started with artisanal breads and cakes now serves meals specializing in paellas. They use Malagos Farmhouse Cheeses in their Blush Pizza, crunchy baked blue cheese crostinis and their refreshing salads.

If you want a quiet and cozy ambience, head on to Mamu’s along Bacaca road. The very young Chef Ali Ferrazzini uses quite a few of our cheeses on his menu.

Now, if you are staying for a few days, both Pearl Farm and Marco Polo uses some of our cheeses too.

As I write this piece, other restaurants are testing the cheeses, some fine tuning the recipes. I will keep you posted as soon as they hit the menu. See you in Davao!