For the Love of Cheese – Artisan Cheese Fair

/ By Carmela| Daily Journal, Places Journal

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I LOVE CHEESE!! I have it at least once a day either alone, in a sandwich or as a topping for a main dish. My earliest memory of trying French cheese was when I was 6 or 7 years old. My dad had this beautiful spread of different cheeses from mild to very pungent ones. He made me try each one so that I would understand and get the full experience of cheese. I discovered bleue and goat’s cheese and didn’t appreciate it back then but fell in love with Brie and Camembert.  

My dad was a French man living in the Philippines and French cheeses reminded him of home so we had it all the time. Back then in the 90’s there was not a wide variety of cheeses that I remember moving to France for college and I was overwhelmed in the grocery store with the amount of cheese I had yet to discover. Over the years, I’ve tasted many and have new favorites.

Moving back to the Philippines, I was so delighted to see that we now have more choices available here and mostly because of distributors like Chef Selection that bring in 80 different types of cheeses from France.

They recently had an Artisan Cheese Fair, Wine and Cheese pairing brunch to celebrate Cheese. They transformed the Raffle Hotel’s Long Bar into a Cheese and Wine Bar for the day. Chef Selection has a very large list of cheeses ranging from the most common type to hard to find cheeses from various regions in France. My husband was so surprised to see that they had this cheese called Banon that comes from a small town in Provence, near where he grew up because it’s rare to find it outside of that region. It’s a delicious goat’s cheese that’s dipped in eau-de-vie, wrapped in chestnut leaves and left to mature for 2 weeks minimum. I discovered new cheeses, tried delicious flavored butter as well as yogurts from Bellevaire. We were in luck the owner of Bellevaire was in town and he and the region manager of the brand took time to go around and talk to the guests and explain the characteristics and origins of the cheeses.

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This is M. Pascal Beillevaire owner of Beillevaire. He has been in the industry for more than 30 years. His company concentrates in production of dairy products but he also sources the best cheeses around the European region.

He explained that eating cheese didn’t have to be a course on it’s on but that it can be enjoyed anytime of the day and at any age. He shared with us his ideal list of cheese to eat during the course of a day.

For breakfast he suggested Fromage Blanc, which is a French breakfast cheese creamier than yogurt. I enjoy this with a spoonful of Honey or Jam. Lunch time, he prefers a cheese with character such as Blue Cheese. He explained the advantage of snacking on cheese is that it’s a ready to eat meal, take a hard cheese like Comte for example that’s easy to slice into cubes and can be eaten for merienda, pica-pica. For a dinner date, he suggested a moelleux/soft cheese. His passion for cheese is so sincere and I believe that’s the reason why he’s a successful cheese monger.

Beillevaire is exclusively distributed by Chef Selection, Inc, a company that sources and distributes high quality chilled foods from Europe.

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A personal favorite for pica-pica or all day snacking is a Tomme, a sheep’s milk hard cheese. This one is special to differentiate it from the rest of the other Tomme they burn the sides.

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This particular cheese, Morbier is recognizable because of the black line in between the two layers. I tried this for the first time 4 years ago in France and am very happy to have it available locally here. The history of this cheese is that some cheese makers ran out of milk on day so they spread ash on it to protect it over night and then filled it up with milk of the next day.

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This is the selection of soft cheeses from Beillevaire, their Camembert has the Label A.O.C., Appelation D’Origine Controlee. They are one of the last 7 remaining Camembert makers of the region.

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Little delectable hills of flavored Butter that are made by hand. I personally enjoyed the Seaweed one among the other flavors which were Piment d’Espelette, Fleur de Sel and the classic butter. The butter is made from milk from farms near the production area. The milk is cooked twice and is produce in wooden churns and shaped by hand.

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Brun de Noix, is a new cheese that I discovered during the brunch. It has a nice smokey flavor with a hint of toasted walnuts. This would be great on a cheese platter to be eaten with dried fruits.

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The Happy Guy.

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Wine selection available for sampling and one of them was an organic white wine. I had a lot of hard cheeses so preferred to stick with the whites. Red wine goes really well with moelleux cheeses and the ones with stronger flavor such a Roquefort.This is all available through Sommelier Selection.

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This cute pyramid shaped cheese, Mont Vertoux is from the region of Alpes-de Haute Provence where my husband is from and resembles mountain tops. Goat cheese flavored with Herbs and Spices. This is nice to eat with toast with a bit of spiced jam and on a bed of romaine salad.

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The cheese on the lower right had side is Banon, we would buy this in the farmer’s markets in Provence. We served this during our wedding last year in Forcalquier, Provence.

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Brillat-Savarin is a triple cream dessert cheese similar to cream cheese. This can be eaten at the end of the meal with honey or jam. This cheese is also used in desserts such a Brillat-Savarin Cheesecake. 

I’m so delighted to have been introduced to this brand because now my husband and I can bring home a slice of France just like my father did when I was growing up.

Until next time! – carmela

For more info on Origine Food & Beverage Concepts, Inc, Chef Selection, Inc and Sommelier Selection, Inc, you can contact Carla C. Perlas, Communications Director Origine Food & Beverage Concepts Email: comm_origine@icloud.com           Tel +632 810 2258 Mobile +63 917 320 0924

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