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Olive, The Cheesemaker

Posted on August 24, 2012

A SPIRITED SOUL By Jeannie E. Javelosa (The Philippine Star) Updated May 01, 2011

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It isn't the first time I have been there really — but it’s the first time I truly appreciated the place because of the people I met in my latest trip to Davao. One woman based in Davao is Olive Puentespina, the creator of Malagos cheese, which we use in our salads and pasta dishes at Le Bistro Vert Sustainable Foods. I say “creator” because she literally taught herself the art of cheese making and innovated ways and means to create all-Filipino cheese! We just had to see her and have some of her wonderful freshly-made cheeses. She was agitated when we met up with her, as she was ready to bring out her new baby — a cheese she calls “blush,” which took all of two months to ripen and age. Behind the very passionately meticulous, creatively innovative Filipina is a woman who is proudly nationalistic. “I am saving dollars for the country as I develop my cheeses. Filipinos need not go abroad to buy imported cheese but now can have Malagos cheese made in Davao!” And boy, did we have a wonderful afternoon of drinking sparkling white wine and cheese tasting. It was like a scene in Europe, except that what surrounded us were shrubs, fruit trees indigenous to Davao, and the hot tropical Philippine sun. She brought out her blue peppato cheese, which is green peppercorns aged in blue molds, a kind of Roquefort made from cow’s milk. Swiss style cheese, soft cheeses also all made their way out to us on a tray...

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