Filipinos are generally not the wine drinking plus cheese loving the way those in the west are. That’s the reason westerners find it a little difficult to look for fine wine and cheese in ordinary groceries and supermarkets in the Philippines.
The ordinary Filipino family’s favorite ‘cheese’ are processed cheese food and quick melt cheese for breakfast, sandwiches and pasta. Ask OFWs wherever and chances are the first cheese product they’ll mentioned is Eden Cheese by Kraft Foods.
But come December, all of these changes, for cheese is a must-have in every Filipino table during the Noche Buena Feast. And no ordinary cheese will do, for Filipinos will get out of the way and set aside enough budget to buy Edam Cheese or popularly known in the country as Quezo de Bola.
Edam cheeses are round shaped cheese the size of a small balls hence the name quezo de bola. Most are also coated with red wax to keep it from spoilage.
Most stores stock these ball shaped cheese as early as September. You will see these fly off the shelves as Christmas nears.
There are a lot of brands and sizes of queso de bola to choose from. There are even some local cheese makers like Magnolia that produces their own version of the quezo de bola just for the Christmas season. But the most popular brands are still the real Edam cheese that came from the Netherlands namely Marca Pina and Marca Pato brands, probably because we inherited this trait from our Spanish colonizers.
Queso de Bola is the perfect accompaniment for another Noche Buena favorite, the Hamon. They are also best with tikoy and kalamay, or as toppings for bibingka, puto bumbong and in pinoy style spaghetti. Cut in to wedges, they are great to nibble at, or placed between two slices of bread.
Some Filipinos loves giving out quezo de bola and receiving them too! Because these specialty cheese are compact, they are convenient for gift giving, and most companies based in the Philippines include them in their Christmas baskets to give away to their employees and top customers.
What’s your top recipe that uses this favorite pampasko cheese?
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