Receiving an e-mail from Nikki Bharwani of the Green Grocer is always a treat.
She is relentless in her search for high-quality food products mostly from people who are new in the food business, yet with unique offerings.
Slowly, Nikki has managed to gather food artisans who have turned the Green Grocer catalog into an intriguing list for those who love to eat and those who go for healthy yet tasty treats.
Last week, it was the goat cheese pastillas de leche that caught my attention. I just had to try it, with all the other goat byproducts Leon Philippe manufactures under the Dairy Fresh brand.
The Dairy Fresh farm in Lipa, Batangas, is home to 600 goats—a mix of Anglo Nubian, Saanen, Toggenburg and British Alpine breeds.
According to Raffy Cooper, Leon Philippe’s marketing director, the first batch of goats were flown in from Australia and the US.
Over time, their number increased so that the farm owner, Noel Cariño, decided that since he was spending so much on the goats, he might as well turn the hobby into a business.
Rich yet light
When I got the package of pastillas, cheese, goat’s milk and kakaloka coffee, I was super excited. I love goat’s milk—rich yet light, somehow sweet, a tad pungent and tangy.
Now, imagine that deliciousness transformed into pastillas. Each piece is a well-balanced confection. To have just one is not enough, especially when it is newly made. Make sure to ask for a fresh batch when you order. It gives the classic a tasty twist.
The packaging is impressive, each pastillas is wrapped in white paper with elegant silver script printed on it. Really, what details can do.
This morning, I had a glass of the fresh goat’s milk, and to this minute I still remember how refreshing and tasty it was. The milk was clean, even pristine. They say that goat’s milk is the closest to mother’s milk.
Some interesting facts written on the bottle: Goat’s milk is a good milk substitute for those allergic to cow’s milk; it has complete proteins containing all essential amino acids without the heavy fat content; fat globules are 1/9 the size of cow’s milk, making goat’s milk very easy to break down; perfect for those who are lactose-intolerant; high in healing enzymes, a superior form of calcium.
Cooper emphasizes that their milk is not UHT, it’s farm-fresh, pasteurized and bottled the same day the goats are milked.
While the pastillas tastes very good and the milk very, very good, the goat’s milk cream cheese, meanwhile, is to-die-for. So creamy, smooth, mildly pungent, luscious yet delicate.
I enjoyed it in many ways: by spooning straight off the container, drizzling it lightly with honey, or spreading on warm toast with a thin layer of homemade mango jam.
Another brand that Leon Philippe carries is the Kakaloka coffee. Cariño and chef Billy King got to taste the coffee in Baguio and were so impressed by it that Cariño researched on the product. He found out that, while it is an Australian brand, it is owned by a Filipino family, thus the name “Kakaloka.”
The brand offers insanely good coffee blends that are robust, vibrant and organic. They make a lively brew, each starkly different from the other.
If you’re tired of your daily brew, these interesting coffee blends might just be your morning wake-uppers.
Some Kakaloka Coffee facts and tasting notes:
Smokin’ Joe Black Blend was a silver medal winner in the 2009 Sydney Fine Food Show, Class 1, Espresso, Short Black. A combined blend of Brazilian, Guatemalan and African coffee, it’s very good for brewed coffee, percolator and espresso. Medium roast. Profile: very sweet, with hints of citrus and floral fragrance. Rainforest Alliance Certified.
Fairtrade and Organic Blend is Fair Trade-certified, which guarantees a fair price paid the coffee producers. Certified organically grown. Medium-dark roast, excellent all-rounder. Works well as brewed, plunger and percolated coffee. Flavor: hints of caramel and honey-like sweetness. Perfect as breakfast coffee paired with bacon and eggs, sweets and cakes.
Mac Blend has darker roast, with chocolate and bitter-sweet flavors. Excellent for espresso, and goes well with milk-based drinks such as cappuccino and café latte. Blend of Brazil, Africa, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and El Salvador coffees.
The Green Grocer is the exclusive distributor of Leon Philippe products. Call 0918-9594220 for orders. While you’re at it, order the apple cinnamon rolls and malunggay peanut butter as well. They are my favorites!
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