For those of you who regularly read my blogposts and follow me on Instagram (@lemongreenteaph) you know that its been a great year for me and I’ve been quite fortunate (even #blessed) to be able to travel and see a lot of new places.
But of all the trips and events I’ve attended this year, our most recent trip to Boracay has to be the most memorable of all.
Maybe it was because of the fresh Shangri-la Boracay air or the fact that we had the entire beach to ourselves one afternoon. #LifestyleOfTheRichAndFamous
Or maybe because it was one of those rare times that you get to be in the company of influencers Camille Co, Lissa Kahayon , Nicole Anderson and friends, and chat with some of the best writers in the country.
It may even be because of the people from the California Milk and Dairy Board and the Cheese Dude Mark who challenged our palate and us recognize tastes we couldn’t describe at first.
One thing is certain though—the Beer and Cheese pairings had a lot to do with it.
When you’ve got a father and two brothers who love drinking beer as much as I love drinking tea, its easy to find out the best types of pulutan. There’s sisig, the lechon, chicharon bulaklak, peanuts and, chips and during Christmas of course ham and queso de bola.
So while I had an idea that beer and cheese go well together, I never expected it to be better (and simpler) than wine and cheese pairings.
And you would be depriving yourself and your taste buds of an incredible epicurean experience if the only beer and cheese pairing you’ve tried is—keso de bola (gouda cheese) and pale Pilsen.
Good cheese tastes even better with the right beer and vice versa. As long as you know your beer-- hops, IPA, pale ale or malt—its easy to find a great pair from the thousands and thousands of cheese variety.
I’m not much of wine person and I guess I “woke” up my beer taste palate when I reached my late 40s. It was then that I learned how to differentiate one bottle of beer from another, discover different brews, and how many bottles it would take before I begin to feel tipsy.
Beer and Cheese in Boracay
We were invited for a Cheese-Beer Pairing experience by the California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB) last May 30 at Shangri-la Boracay for a 2-day workshop with the “Cheese Dude” Mark Todd.
Yes, we flew to Boracay, stayed at one of the best hotels in the world—just to learn how to pair beer and cheese.
Yup. Life is good.
Though it was kind of a challenge for Mark to keep our attention all throughout the beer and cheese tasting sessions when we all felt like Moana being called out by the sea.
His enthusiasm was infectious and his anecdotes and stories made it even more entertaining and before we knew it we made it through 8 beers and 8 kinds of cheeses—and to be honest some were easy on the palate, some were a bit weird and there was one pair that I felt were never meant to be together.
Mark told us that aroma is a big factor and it adds to the total experience of cheese-beer pairing. So its best break the cheese first and take a whiff before biting into it and letting its flavors escape in your mouth, just as you should smell the beer and take a sip right after a cheese bite.
The first 3 pairings were my favorites from the 8 pairs that was presented to us.
The first pairing was the Marin French Triple Creme Brie + Engkanto Pale Ale, this was the best pair because the sweetness of the beer compliments the smooth, creamy and elegant taste of the cheese. I could eat the cheese without any sides granted that it would pair with Engkanto Pale.
The 2nd pairing was the Rogue Creamery Chocolate Stout + Kalinga Kolsch, this cheese is savoury and tangy balanced by the sweetness and coffee notes of the stout. Aromas are buttery and creamy, highlighted by a hint of ale. This cheese went well with Kalinga beer's light and fruity flavor. This pair is best when you love your cheese with a hint of chocolate and a great balance of pale malt and New Zealand hops of Kalinga Kolsch.
The 3rd pairing was the Marin French Breakfast Cheese + Lapu Lapu Lager- the cheese is described as small, fluffy cheese with a buttery, mild tang from California. Its great to pair with crisp and clean Lapu lapu lager. The flavor of the cheese stands out with this kind of lager.
The rest of the pairings were also good but these three were the standouts and easy recommendations.
So how do you pair BEER WITH CHEESE read on for more tips.
1. Choose beer and cheese varieties that can stand up to another's flavor profile and strengths- they should compliment each other, not compete or mask the nuanced flavors that makes them unique.
For example, an aged Blue cheese that is nutty and creamy is best paired with a malty sweet barley, wine - style beer.
2. Like beer, cheese has a huge range of flavors and comes in a variety of styles - California cheesmakers make more than 250 varieties and styles of cheese alone. Dont let the choices overwhelm you; use this as inspiration for a new taste adventure.
3. Look for the Real California Milk seal to be sure you cheese is made with milk from California's 1,300 dairy families.
The next day we were divided into groups of two. Now that we knew our beers and cheese it was time for us to try and make our very own—dairy products—cheese and butter—the old fashioned way.
I got to partner with Ms. Krizette of The Manila Bulletin and our first challenge was to make our own cheeseboards. Part of the fun of eating a cheese board is getting to nibble on lots of different flavors and textures. Our cheeseboard had oranges and lemons to add color and make it more appealing , we chose brie and some cheese plus crackers and grapes. I guess the best cheeseboard should have a balance of saltiness (cheese), sweetness (fruits/grapes) and mix of crackers to make it more delicious and beautiful for presentation. And though we didn’t win the challenge we sure came up with one tasty cheeseboard and had fun doing it.
After cheeseboard making, we proceeded to making our home made butter and cheese.
The directions on how to make homemade butter was very easy-- but not for your arms.
All you had to do was pour cream into a jar (we used a mason jar) and close the lid. Now all you have to do is shake the jar for around 20 to 30 minutes---continuously--until butter forms a soft lump. The secret is to shake the jar vigorously, you dont have to stop. Set an alarm and before 30 minutes you'll see a lump forming out of the jar.
Pour contents of the jar into a fine mesh strainer and strain out the buttermilk, leaving the solid butter. Remove the lump of butter and set aside on a small plate.
We were one of the teams who successfully produced butter.
To learn more about Real California Milk and other dairy products made with Real California Milk, visit their website at www.realcaliforniamilk.com or their Facebook page at Real California Milk.