European inspired cheeses made in the Philippines

The rising prevalence of western food culture and hectic work schedules are significant factors strengthening the cheese market growth in the Asia-Pacific region. According to research from the Imarc Group, the Asia-Pacific cheese market will exhibit moderate growth during 2021-2026. The presence of a wide variety of European cheese in the market, including mozzarella, cheddar, parmesan, feta, and Roquefort, is driving the region's overall sales, the firm revealed. But while the increasing demand is spurring more imports from cheese producing countries, it also inspires Asian artisan cheesemakers to tap into this growing market. In the Philippines, local cheese artisan maker Malagos Farmhouse in Davao has won the nods of chefs from top hotels and resorts such as Sofitel Philippine Plaza and Amanpulo resort in Palawan. Olive Puentespina is the owner and cheesemaker responsible for developing 27 cheese varieties at Malagos. The company also supplies its hand-crafted European-style cheeses to Philippine Airlines served with inflight meals. Puentespina, who has a background in Animal Science, has created an efficient system to manage the farm's goat and cow milk output for the cheeses. She also learned the fine art of artisan cheesemaking from masters in Europe. For example, during her experimentations with making feta cheese, she discovered how to tweak its taste to suit Filipino palates. "While I was learning to make it [feta], I was also learning to appreciate it", she told Tasty Asia.
The cheese company mainly supplies for institutional accounts because the company only produces 10-20 tons of cheese a year. But the COVID-19 pandemic wiped out 80% of its revenue as the hospitality industry ground to a halt during the lockdown months. This development prompted Malagos to retail pasteurised goat milk due to low cheese demand from its B2B customers. They have also made the cheeses available at select retail outlets around the country. That decision opened new revenue streams for the farm, said Puentespina. But now that the local hospitality industry is opening up, they have to divide the raw materials for cheesemaking and fresh milk offerings.
Presently, the company is focusing on the local market. However, they are looking to export in the future.

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