Rockwell UTT Winner #7:
CHEVRE GOAT CHEESE
147 foodies rated 5- Awesome! I would recommend it!
157 foodies rated 4- I love it!
111 foodies rated 3- We had a good time.
30 foodies rated 2- It is OK.
8 foodies rated 1- Thanks, but it could be better.
Gawad Kalinga (GK) is known for their blockbuster organic natural products – Human Heart Nature. Also, foodies are starting to discover that GK’s Enchanted Farm produces one of the best goat cheeses in the market today. I personally love their Chevre with cashews and truffle oil.
Before, they had a pistacchio version which is the best for me. However, Tony Meloto wanted to make sure that we support our own Filipino-sourced ingredients. Cashews are abundant here in our country versus pistacchio which would be imported. They had to discontinue the pistacchio flavor even though it is really yummy. I really admire GK’s Principle, and it makes me want to promote them even more 🙂
How could you go wrong with a yummy Goat Cheese with a Great Cause? Best Goat Cheese ever!
Congratulations for achieving a top 7 overall finish in Rockwell’s Ultimate Taste Test! Let’s support Gawad Kalinga!
Gourmet Keso: “A Cheesy Story”
by Xilca Alvarez
It all started as a joke.
I was grappling with a premature midlife crisis, and attended an inspiring Gawad Kalinga (GK) Center for Social Innovation forum in Ateneo de Manila University sometime in October 2010, in the desperate hopes of finding some business students/professors to create a sustainable livelihood program for ex-cons (probationers, to be more specific—a pet advocacy of mine). Instead, I was instantly enthralled by the idea of this mystical GK Enchanted Farm, which they were developing as a “village university and silicon valley for social enterprises,” and a “social tourism site” where bed and breakfasts would rise, and tourists would flock to be served the best produce and experience an inclusive and thriving GK community; one that would also encourage reverse migration with the promise of sustainable livelihood and would serve as a catalyst for countryside development. So curious was I that I found myself going to this “enchanted” farm in Angat, Bulacan the very next day with some GK officers.
When I first got there, the infrastructure was no more than the 2 hectares of GK homes, an unfinished multi-purpose hall, plans for making an industrial kitchen, some plants and crops, a piggery, acres of idle land with wild grass or lots and lots of talahib, so you needed a lot of imagination to see what could rise here and there.
I cheerfully recounted a visit to a winery with a goat dairy (much, I would imagine, like Napa Valley) while on vacation in South Africa earlier that year. Recalling the quality of the goat cheeses, I “kid-dingly” suggested that Gawad Kalinga emulate this as an agri-business for their beneficiaries. “We can even call it GK,” I teased, “short for Gawad Kambingan!” “And all the products can be called GK, too”, I added, “like Goat Keso, Gatas ng Kambing, GourmetKaldereta!”
But what was meant as nothing more than a joke eventually returned to me as a serious proposition.
A month later, when I informally met the GK founder, Tony Meloto, he actually said, “that’s a great idea. And YOU should be the one to do this!” He then gave me a copy of his book, which I voraciously read, and, being the impressionable person that I am, this time I was not only inspired, but also became rather determined. That, and I’m almost certain I was hypnotized, which is how I came to be brainwashed into buying the whole vision-mission.
Stunned to find myself suddenly faced with a daunting new task, I began the real work sometime in February 2011, which included, among others, buying and literally transporting a few dairy goats to the Enchanted Farm, all clad in diapers and who just wouldn’t stop “mehhh-ing” (and, worse, pooping) from Batangas to Bulacan (to do this, I borrowed a van whose owner had absolutely no clue I was chauffeuring for goats; thankfully, to this day, my dad doesn’t know how to browse through the Net). These goats included 2 kids, an exceptionally adorable one we called Gwaping Kambing (nicknamed “Ping”), and his less attractive and more ordinary (but still cute) brother, Generic Kambing (nicknamed “Eric”).
Having no previous experience in cheesemaking, I researched and taught myself relentlessly even as critics in the dairy industry told me that it takes years to learn to do the craft right. Yet, much to my own surprise (and after lots of trial and error, and I mean lots), it wasn’t long before we began producing cheeses to the satisfaction of local gourmands. Encouraged by these results, we even organized a network of subsistence karabao farmers in the surrounding community in Bulacan (hence, the demise of the fanciful name Gawad Kambingan, as it evolved into Goats and Karabaos) to expand our product line and to create more social impact, and, together with the GK community in the Enchanted Farm (which has since been developed tremendously from when I first visited, complete with the necessary facilities for processing), began making products that they could proudly call their very own gourmet keso.
Five months later, a batch of French students who had volunteered to do humanitarian work and intern for social enterprises at the Farm were just too pleasantly surprised to find out the GK community makes cheese. And not just any cheese, but pretty darn good cheese. These French interns were so thrilled that they graciously volunteered to be the salespeople for local cheese (pretty ironic indeed) in Mercato Centrale. And the technological imbecile that I am will be forever grateful to these crazy guys for the website they excitedly put up for Gourmet Keso, what they affectionately call “the French-approved cheese”.
Through hard work and the perseverance of the GK community, we’ve proven the doubters wrong and, hopefully, will steadily win over customers and prove that the community and the Pinoy can make ridiculously good products, probably even better than imported ones.
Truth be told, I really get a kick out of it whenever some passerby at Mercato, after tasting the cheese, asks where it’s imported from or where it’s made, and I get to floor them when I say it’s proudly produced by Gawad Kalinga residents in Enchanted Farm, Angat, Bulacan.
The look of disbelief never fails. “Wow, really?!”
It may have started as a joke, but now we’re serious about making seriously good cheese.
About the product/ Pricelist:
feta in extra virgin olive oil (160g) w/ evoo – P180
ricotta (goat cheese) – P150
kesong puti (carabao cheese) in rattan – P100
plain (chevre) goat cheese – P160
chevre with garlic and herbs – P180
chevre with cashews and truffle salt – P220
- supergood-brought me to france!
- garlic & herbs & goat cheese were packed w flavor
- love the garlic & herb
- superb! for cheese lovers! and even those who haven’t been converted yet
- i like the garlic & herb
- great taste
- strong taste of goat cheese couldn’t make out truffle flavor too much
- liked the first one with it’s array of flavors
- enjoyed chevre
- will give for christmas
- unique combination
- might be better with good bread
- tastes like imported expensive cheese
- very generous portions
- the quality is rich & very flavorful
- truffle taste is too strong – overpowering.
- can still improve
- very good but needs pinoy explanation
- gorgeous flavors- need to have more of these!
- different flavors
- i love that you served all and it’s fresh
- like the chevre with cashew
- good to know there are purveyors pursuing good cheese
- goatcheese-yummy, others ok so-so..
- not too heavy.
- chevre w garlic & herbs =DELISH!
- good garlic &herbs
- great cheeses! in the league of the most imported brands
- too flavorful
- liked the feta cheese
- don’t care too much for goat cheese but i liked the taste
- a bit too chunky for a spread
- truffle was very tasty
- chevre are excellent. specially the garlic & herb
- liked both goat cheese that i had! well LOVED them! flavorful, just enough moistness
- too smoky
- would buy it
- cheese w garlic & herbs
- truffle truffle! but the herb cheese was still better
- good good cause but no outlet!
- will buy garlic & herbs and cashew & truffled salt!
- i’m biased
- love cheesethis tastes fresh!
- love the cashew!
- best goat cheese i’ve had!
- great cheese!
- liked the garlic & herbs more than the cashew chevre
- cheeses are very unique and the taste is distinct
- good garlic & herbs
- flavorful & for a cause too!!!
- tasted garlic & herbs, good flavor but strong
- yummy! garlic & herbs
- cashews & truffle salt can do w less truffle or none
- love their cheese!
- garlic & herb were yummy!
- better tried with beer on hand
- love the taste
- chevre w cashews- can really taste the truffle!
- nice garlic taste, just right
- garlic & herbs<3
- great natural freshness
- chevre is yummy!
- i like that it’s not too strong & cheesy
- nice flavor. i love it!
- like the spreads
- super like everything but can’t have it everyday
- love the one with garlic&herbs together
- good! would be better if you had other cheese varieties
- this GK livelihood is a great idea!
- not a really big fan of cheesy so it was really strong for me
- gourmet keso is a novelty
- good taste. will buy if it’s in the market
- love it!
- WANT TO BUY!
- the cashew+salt variant – you can hardly taste the cashew but still very yummy!
- not your usual cheese
- very creative using goat’s milk to make cheese. resourceful too. good job!
- OMG this should be in Mercato!
- sooo goood! love the chevre with cashews & truffle salt!
- right amount of tartness
- garlic & herb delicious
- the best appetizer!
- like the garlic & herb. truffled salt too pungent
- love the chevre with garlic & herbs
- love goat’s cheese
- 5 star for being a GK program. food for a cause!
- love the chevre with garlic & herbs
- chevre with garlic & herbs love it!!!
- love soft cheeses!
- yummy. sana you were selling.
- tastes a bit like cardboard
- A BIG HIT!
- really good! specially the garlic & herb one
- too sour but very pleasant taste not too overwhelming
- cracker did not compliment the cheese coz the taste was too strong
- chevre with garlic & herbs was one of the best i’ve tasted
- PERFECT! (herb chevre)
- i like the chvre w herb & garlic
- beautiful chevre!
- excellent concept
- nice cheese, good luck!
- nice quesong puti and it tastes good!
- just right 🙂
- perfect cheese
- GOOD CHEESE+GOOD CAUSE = CAN’T GET ANY BETTER THAN THIS
- nice texture
- truffle taste is distinct
- love the cashew & truffle cheese
- love the chevre
- i love cheese in herbs!
- OH THIS WAS THE BOMB! CHEESE AT IT’S FINEST! <3
- we’ll buy it anytime!
- truffle’s lovely
- garlic cheese is a must try!
- good stuff
- TRUFFLE OIL IS GOOD
- odor and taste not appetizing
- perfect blend!
- excellent cheese. IT’S FOOD WITH A CAUSE!
- great fresh herbs
- love the truffle oil
- the product tasted really really good, too bad they weren’t selling today
- never was a fan of truffle oil
- i love the gourmet keso!
- wouldn’t buy it
- loved the one with herb
- the cheese is so creamy!!!
- i loved it and the owner was really friendly!
- very good
- distinct and flavorful, good for appetizers
- liked the chevre with garlic and herbs
- yummy! my first stop!
- a bit too strong in flavor
- the chevre with garlic and herbs was so creamy and perfectly seasoned
- i would buy this
- with garlic and herbs is my fave
- very flavorful, really great cheese
- good match with wine
- clean taste
- i’ve had better
- cashews and truffle salt is amazing
- not a fan
- greetings to gawad kalinga community!
- like that it’s for a cause, chevre’s good!
- garlic and herbs!!!!
- want to order, so good!
- love love
- ah so good
- a whole new world
- nothing new
- flavors too overpowering
- can really taste the truffle oil
- love it!
- I like the cashews and truffle, very unique taste
- very good product
- truffle love!
- very friendly vendors
- was just ok
- super good cheese
- really liked garlic & herbs
- perfect! Even the texture, the olive oil helps a lot
Gourmet Keso from GK Enchanted Farm
GK Enchanted Farm, Barangay Encanto, Angat, Bulacan
Mobile: +63 917-8194522
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- a guaranteed spot in any of the Mercato Centrale markets. 🙂
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Related OAP Blog Posts:
OAP | The Ultimate Food Trip happens in Rockwell on September 3
OAP | The Foodies’ Guide to Rockwell’s Ultimate Taste Test
OAP | My Cheers Moments @ Rockwell’s Ultimate Taste Test
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