Quarantine and COVID19 has completely changed the way we live. It has changed the way we cook, bake, do our food shopping, socialize and even attend events. We celebrate birthdays over zoom, work in Microsoft Meetings, play family catch ups over Messenger and attend Facebook Live Events to learn about, and launch new campaigns for different products. A few weeks ago, I learned even more about California Cheese and Beer. This fun pairing event hosted by the California Milk Advisory Board and webcasted live on their Facebook page.
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On July 10th at 6pm @nekkidchef @animetric @pickiesteater and @masarapba and I will learn from Cheese Monger, @baird.josiah , on how easy it is to pair cheese and beer through a #CheeseMisan virtual event. YOU can join us as Joe walks us through different combos of @realcaliforniamilkphl cheeses & tasty brewskis! Tune in to the #RealCaliforniaMilkPhilippines Facebook page as we go LIVE in a FUN interactive meetup where 5 lucky viewers will get to take home their own CHEESE & BEER PRIZES by answering questions correctly for #TeamMommaNManila! 📸: @realcaliforniamilkphl • • • • Click the link in my profile and make sure to click “GOING” over at https://bit.ly/CMABEventPage. • • • • #cheese #cheeseandbeer #cheeseandbeerpairing #lookfortheseal #brewskis #beer #zoom #enuman #letseat #virtualevents #virtuallearning #goodfood #comejoinus #letsgo
Days before the event all five participants (me included) received a beer and cheese delivery that was so impressive, it had my kids all calling dibs. (on the cheese-phew-not the beer.) With a full load of 10 cheeses accompanied by 10 different Pinoy craft beers, I knew that this event would be both interesting and fun. Especially, when I found out that some of my friends were going to be joining Zoom meeting too!!
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This Friday, I will be hanging with some of my foodie friends for some fun with @realcaliforniamilkphl. Cheesemonger @baird.josiah will lead us in pairing cheese from California, with beer from our Pinoy Craft Beer makers. Are you interested in learning with me? Log in to Facebook on Friday, July 10th at 6pm and watch the Live session as we dig in for some #CheeseMisan and brews. PLUS-if you answer the trivia correctly while watching along, you could win YOUR OWN beer and cheese enjoy at home pack to enjoy with your family, too! • • • • Zoom in to see the specialty cheeses from @nicasiovalleycheese @pointreyescheese @fiscalinicheese @sierranevadacheese @marinfrenchcheese • • • • #lookfortheseal #cheese #beer #beerandcheese #pairing #wineandcheese #craftbeer #pointreyescheese #fiscalinicheese #sierranevadacheese #californiacheese #cheesecrawl #dairy #happyhour #zoom #tasting
Fun with Foodie Friends
Since some of my foodie friends were going to be in on this Zoom call, we were all excited to be learning from Real California Milk resident Cheese Expert, Joe Baird.
I have had the pleasure of meeting Joe through the different events that I have attended while learning more about California Cheese and Dairy products, and I was excited to see him yet again.
Funny thing is, even if I feel like I am familiar with the cheeses of The Golden State, I realized through this gathering that I know so very little. What a fun learning experience this was!
Let the Tasting BEGIN!
We started with what many would call the “milder and fresh” cheeses and worked our way up to the more pungent and “stronger” in flavor, cheeses. Each cheese was paired with a Pinoy craft brew that was complimentary in nature.
Here is how we broke the cheese tasting down:
- Fresh Cheeses
- Soft and Soft Ripened Cheeses
- Semi-Hard Cheeses
- Blue Cheese
So, if you look at the cheeses on this board (in all their glory), you will see that we started at the top working left to right and finished with the last cheese in the bottom right corner. The flavors of the cheeses become a little stronger with each one, and are best enjoyed when tasting this way. There is something about working your way up with intensity of flavors and richness that is pleasing to the palate.
HOW TO: California Cheese and Beer Pairing
There are three S’s when tasting and pairing cheeses with beer or even with wine:
- SIGHT-Look at the cheese. Observe the color texture and composition.
- SMELL-Using your sense of smell, see what notes are strong and what are subtle. Smell has a lot to do with flavor as well. Some people don’t realize just how important our sense of smell is to our sense of taste.
- SAVOR-Taste. Savor. Chew slowly. Enjoy. (and then in our case, pair it with the craft brews!)
For many of you that know me well, you will know that note taking and highlighting and writing and all of these things are parts of the process that I enjoy most. I took some notes while watching our #CheeseMisan event, after it was over (Yes. SEPANX) And I will share them with you here in case you are curious about the cheeses we tried…
Not all Cream Cheeses are created EQUAL
Sierra Nevada Gina Marie Cream Cheese with Elias Mango Cider
You haven’t had CREAM cheese until you have tried Gina Marie Cream Cheese by Sierra Nevada Cheese Company. Wow! This cream cheese was incredible. It was light, smooth, and has zero fillers and zero stabilizers. Diego LOVED this one, and as soon as I was done on camera tasting it, he was already claiming dibs….
Note to self: My biggest realization through the tasting of this cream cheese was how different a product becomes when we have to add ingredients to make it last longer on the supermarket shelves.
Foggy Mornings are GOOD Mornings
Nicasio Valley Foggy Morning with Engkanto Blonde Ale
For this Nicasio Valley Fromage Blanc, we could taste the fresh citrus notes that were creamy and rich but yet light on the palate. This farmstead cheese is perfect on a cheese board against some of the others that we had to enjoy, and I feel like it would be gone in our household, just like the fresh Gina Marie Cream Cheese as well. It’s organic, and comes from a family that takes pride in making their cheeses just north of San Francisco.
Triple Cream and the OLDEST running Cheese Company in the U.S.
Marin French Cream Brie with Engkanto Blonde Ale
Marin French Cream Brie is obviously similar (maybe even superior) to its counterparts from France. Using a 70% butter fat milk to churn out this creamy Brie is best served with jam or honey. This is not one that would stand up well to baking since it has so much butter fat. It would melt straight away.
Smokey and Flavorful can stand the test of time
Sierra Nevada Organic Smoked Jack with Engkanto Blonde Ale
One of the things that we learned from expert, Joe Baird, is that the Sierra Nevada Organic Smoked Jack not only goes well with the Encanto Blonde Ale, it also can last longer than the fresh cheeses. Because this Jack is smoked, it’s great for sammies, fondue, and even pizza. When left to meld with meats and eggs in meat balls or quiches, it tastes even better the next day.
Toma goes great with Toma
Point Reyes Toma with Elias Mango Cider
As one of the other CheeseMisan members shared, this semi-hard cheese from Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company, is perfectly paired with a light mango cider. This cheese that comes from a family with Swiss Italian origins, is similar to a gouda or a fontina.
Some Like it Hot
Sierra Nevada Organic Habanero Jack with Monkey Eagle Pale Ale
This Organic Habanero Jack was the only spicy cheese amongst the ten that we tried. And because this cheese from Sierra Nevada has such a complex flavor profile it is was perfect paired with the Monkey Eagle Pale Ale. To be honest, I definitely drank a lot more of this beer with this one to alleviate some of the heat. Joe mentioned that the carbonation of the beer is what can help take some of the heat off of this cheese, but I was also looking for some olives, and maybe even some fig jam to enjoy with this one too.
Craft Beer and Cheddar
Fisacalini Craft Beer Cheddar with Engkanto IPA
Cheese made with Beer?
For this collaborative cheddar, 100 year old Fiscalini Cheese Company partnered with the Dustbowl Brewery to bring us a yeasty natural cheddar that reminds us of the beers we like to drink while noshing on California cheeses during a CheeseMisan party! It was so interesting to taste both the cheese and the beer in one bite!
Carmody Meets Joe Black
Bellwether Carmody with Meet Joe Black Stout
Where the yellowest of our cheeses comes together with a black stout, we learned that this Bellwether Farms buttery Carmody comes from Jersey Cows. Jersey Cows really produce a higher butter fat milk, which is what gives this semi-hard cheese from Petaluma its golden hue. It’s tangy like a young parmesan, and sharp like a good cheddar, with hints of citrus and maybe even sour cream. I don’t like stout, but I enjoyed the coffee undertones of this crafty brew against the Carmody layers of flavor.
Bandages and Father Time
Fiscalini Bandage Wrapped Cheddar with Meet Joe Black Stout
Fiscalini’s Bandaged Wrapped Cheddar is sharp, sweet, pungent, salty, and so much of what I love in a semi-hard cheese. I love this cheese grated on pasta, in chunks as a midnight snack, mixed into frittatas that are earthy, and with Nino’s Tabasco Sriracha Jam. This 3x World Champion of Cheddars is made with raw milk which makes it more flavorful, but that also means that it needs to be aged 18 months to reach the level of perfection to even beat out English cheddars in the same category.
Blue and Black to finish the flight
Point Reyes Original Blue with Meet Joe Black Stout
Point Reyes Original Blue is definitely one of my favs. JJ called it the entry level blue cheese to enjoy others. I call it delicious. Also a farmstead cheese made in northern California, the cows graze on the rye grass that is gifted with a salt water fog, daily, because of the water coming off the bay. This gives us a blue veiny wedge of goodness that has hints of oysters, and brine.
Food and Fun
As with any event that involves good food, or in this case, California Cheese and Beer, the banter that was exchanged with my fellow foodies was both insightful and refreshing. Considering the events and circumstances that we are all facing as a nation of Filipinos, I considered this little break from the quarantine norm as both fun and educational. As always, I am grateful for the opportunity to learn more about the dairy products I know and love and excited that I get to share all of what I learned with you!
If you would like to learn more about the cheeses that we tried, or how California Cheese and Beer Pairing can be done at home, you can visit the Real California Milk Philippines Facebook page, visit the website, or follow them on Instagram.
Also-if you want to purchase any of the cheeses we tasted in this flight, you can order them from Chef Alvin Ong over at Sourdough Cafe and Deli.