New Zealand Embassy Manila, The Philippines

Cheese-lovers get a taste of New Zealand in Manila

Nearly 300 Philippine residents enjoyed some of New Zealand’s finest hand-made cheeses and first-class wines at a recent meeting of the Cheese Club of the Philippines.

In association with the New Zealand Embassy’s week-long ‘Experience New Zealand’ festival, the club featured New Zealand artisanal cheeses for its regular monthly meeting at the Manila Polo Club on 3 February.

New Zealand is well regarded for its dairy products, especially in the Philippines, but only those in the know are aware of New Zealand’s dairy secret — premium cheeses hand-made by specialty cheese-makers.

This was no surprise to Cheese Club members, though, as a well above-average attendance demonstrated.

“This is a special occasion as the very first session of the newly-formed Cheese Club, in September 1982, featured cheeses from New Zealand” said Bill Stone, President of the Cheese Club.  “In those days there was no regular supply of cheeses in Manila other than some made from local water-buffalo milk and processed cheese in a cardboard packets”.

The cheese supply in Manila has come a long way since then, and so has the range and quality of cheeses that New Zealand has to offer.

For the February event the Cheese Club worked with the specialist team at Canterbury Cheesemongers in Christchurch, New Zealand, to select 20 of New Zealand’s finest hand-made cheeses.  The cheeses ranged from ones made in traditional European styles to others that were uniquely New Zealand, such as a farmhouse cheese processed with manuka smoke.  Sheep, goat and cows milk cheeses, hard, soft, fresh and blue — there was something for all tastes.

To complement the cheeses the club served a selection of premium New Zealand wines.  More and more Filipinos know and love New Zealand wines, and the varieties on offer at the Cheese Club evening didn’t disappoint.

“The New Zealand Embassy is proud to partner with the Cheese Club of the Philippines for this event”, said New Zealand Ambassador Andrew Matheson.  “From what club members have said tonight, it’s clear that New Zealand’s specialty cheeses can hold their own on the world stage”.

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