Queso Diego October 2016 newsletter with meeting RSVP link inside
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Message from the President

Happy Halloween from Italy!

I'm sorry to miss the Julian Ciderworks event early this month and the October "Animals make milk, Microbes make cheese" presentation by Curt later this month, but it's because I'm in Italy for 3 weeks, so I can't really complain!

Thanks to Earl for covering my Presidential duties while I'm away - Please be nice to him!

THANKS to Curt for planning and organizing the Julian Ciderworks event AND for also giving a presentation in the same month - He's going to need a well-deserved break after this month!

See you in November, hopefully with some Italian cheeses to share! When I get back, we'll be gearing for the holidays (already??!)!

Alyssa Humbert
(pron: uh-LEE-shah)
2016 Queso Diego President
Queso Diego Newsletter Editor-In-Chief

Time to pay dues!

Please renew your Queso Diego membership with Sandy at our next meeting (Tuesday, September 20) via cash or check.

Remember, it's only $20/year for an individual or $30/year for a household membership. NEW members receive a Queso Diego tasting glass!

You MUST be paid in full to receive an invitation to our December holiday party and January Cheese + Bubbly pairing!

Renew anytime via PayPal:

Next meeting: October 18

The October meeting of Queso Diego will feature a presentation by Curt Wittenberg entitled "Animals Make Milk, Microbes Make Cheese".  We will learn how bacteria, molds and yeast help us make our cheese and why understanding their roles can help us improve our cheesemaking.  Along the way we will get some insight into how scientists are using cheese to understand how these microbes do their job and what that can tell us about the world around us.

Queso Diego October Meeting
Tuesday, October 18 @ 6:30PM
AleSmith Brewery
9990 AleSmith Court
San Diego, CA 92126

We'll be in a room off to the side of the Tasting Room - you can enter through an exterior door on the left of the main entrance. Meetings are free, but we highly recommend bringing something tasty to share and joining as a member for $20/year. Please bring a chair to sit on. Outside alcohol is not permitted.

Please RSVP using this form as soon as possible so that we can get an accurate head count:

A Visit from Peter Zien, owner of AleSmith

Peter Zien is the owner of AleSmith Brewing Company, where we've been meeting every month for our meetings. He generously allows us space in an area of the brewery usually not permitted to the public, and his awesome staff always have our A/V equipment ready for us at the beginning of each meeting.

When he visited our September Queso Diego meeting, he had a special announcement: CheeseSmith is under construction! This means we'll have fresh and easy access to cheeses every month for our meetings! 
He also told us that our current meeting space will turn into meeting and conference rooms, where Queso Diego will continue to be welcome, but more comfortable.
They're also installing a viewing platform that will give guests a full view of the tasting room from the second story.

Lots of exciting changes happening that will improve our monthly meetings. We can't thank Peter enough for allowing us to use the space every month and for being such a great supporter of Queso Diego!

Queso Diego Brie Class

September 25, 2016 - San Diego, CA
Thanks to Don Rutherford's planning and coordination, Larry Stein gave a Brie making class to 13 participants (mostly Queso Diego members) at Ascension Lutheran Church.

Entering the class, we sampled different Brie and Camembert cheeses with crackers to become familiar with the different styles and brands.

Larry started the class with basic cheese making information, including the need for sanitary conditions, the molds used in bloomy rind cheeses, different kinds of bloomy rind cheeses (and their regions), and then we got into the specifics of making our bloomy rind Brie cheese.

Once we reviewed how to make a bloomy rind Brie cheese, we went into the kitchen, where Don and Larry had already prepared our curd. The curd had been resting for about 5.5 hours, so Larry was able to demonstrate a clean break.

After cutting the curd, we allowed it to rest for another hour, during which time Larry showed us video of his tour of the Dairy Innovation Institute in San Luis Obispo.

Then it was time to add our curds to cheese molds!

Each of us took home our cheese curds, cheese molds, a ripening box, a hygrometer, a custom-made cheese draining tile (that doubles as a cheese slate!), cheese mats, sponge, cheese salt, and cheese paper to wrap our cheeses in!

The class was highly informative and we went home with so many goodies, including a beautiful Brie cheese to mature at home! 

September meeting recap: Homemade Cheese Show and Tell

I was blown away by all the contributions to September's Homemade Cheese Show and Tell! Some cheeses were by seasoned cheesemakers and others were first-time cheese makers! ALL were delicious and it was great so share our knowledge, set-backs, and support with each other!

Curt made a developed-acid creamy goat and cow milk cheese with savory spices and ricotta with roasted sweet red peppers made from sweet goat milk whey.

Carol and Don made a yogurt blue cheese with cashews and a yogurt cheese with cranberry chutney homemade by their daughter

Jeffree made goat ricotta that she mixed with honey and herbs, then spread on dried apricots and topped with almonds

Leslie made chevre, which she used in her Goat Cheese Fondue with Fried Sage

Alyssa's raw goat petite Brie aged for 1 month

Marci made 5-month aged cow milk Manchego and a 3-month aged goat milk Cheddar

Chris' 4-year old aged Gouda, 1-week old Halloumi, and mint ricotta made from the Halloumi whey

Jessica's us aged Humboldt Fog

Joanne and Chuck brought homemade mascarpone whipped with a touch of lemon zest and served over fresh strawberries

Corey and Ashley's cultured raw milk mozzarella, which they served with balsamic marinated tomatoes and baguettes for DIY bruschetta

Shane made 2 two-day aged fetas to compare: one brined in salt water and the other brined in whey

Livia made cinnamon and cranberry chevre and kefir sour cream

Larry brought homemade yogurt that was in 3 various stages of draining to show us how different the stages of draining are: not strained, strained for 8 hours (Greek yogurt), and strained for 18 hours (yogurt cheese)

Since we're a cheese-making club, we've decided to make this meeting an annual event, so it's never too early to start planning for next year!

Interview with a Cheesemaker: Jessica Voytek

Jessica is a new member of Queso Diego who has shared her award-winning Humboldt Fog with us! Here's chance to get to know her better, but please introduce yourself to her the next time you see her!

Why and when did you begin making cheese?

I began making cheese on Wed, Oct 9, 2013 which was the date of a cheese-making class I took at a The Cheese Board in Berkeley, Ca (I know the exact date because I just looked it up on my calendar, don't you love Google?). I actually used to live right around the corner from that shop and mostly just loved to buy and eat cheese from there, but one day I heard about this class and I thought it would be super fun to go. My husband came along (really romantic date right?) but since then he's mostly been the cheese-taster (and kid-watcher), and I the cheese-maker.

Why did I start making cheese? The simple answer is, "it sounded fun." The more complex answer is that I really enjoy making things from scratch that other people just buy. I just like the process of figuring out how to do it, how to take industrial processes and do them at home. I like figuring out clever hacks with cheap tools and making stuff that'll impress my friends. For example, I just finished aging two 6" camemberts in tupperware from the dollar store held up with plastic cookie cutters and pre-cut round plastic canvas from Joann (I was just delighted when they fit perfectly) (see the attached photos). The camemberts came out wonderful and were quickly gobbled up by friends and family.

What's your favorite cheesemaking book?

Probably Mastering Artisan Cheesemaking by Gianaclis Caldwell. It's really detailed about the science of cheese making and the recipe chapters  are organized sort of by method and characteristics of the cheese. They have detailed information, tips and tricks for making that style of cheese the best it can be.

What’s your favorite kind of cheese to make?

I'd have to say Coastal Breeze (or Humboldt Fog) because that's what I've been most successful with, but to be honest I'm getting a little bored with it. My next cheese is going to be a Winnimere style. I picked one up at the Venissimo cheese counter at Liberty Station at the beginning of the summer and fell in love.

Please share your favorite cheese recipe

This is my adaptation of the Coastal Breeze recipe from Mastering fermentation  by Mary Karlin. Apparently I like books with the word "Mastering" in the title:

What’s in your cheese cave right now?

Coastal Breeze, coastal breeze and more coastal breeze...geez...

How did you find out about Queso Diego?

The internet? I came across the website a little after I moved to the area, but I had a 6 week old at the time so it's taken me this long to get involved (my daughter is now 2.5)

What kind of cheeses do you wish to make in the future?

Whoops, I already answered that one, Winnimere is my next project, but I've got a bit of a white whale with Mozzarella. I just really want to make a soft, supple, stretchy, fresh-tasting mozzarella some day. I don't care if it's 30-minute or long-form, I just want it to be soft and delicious. I've tried many times with several different recipes and it never quite comes out right, it's either a rubber ball, doesn't stretch, breaks into ricotta, and only occasionally comes out vaguely like a mozzarella you can buy for $5 in the supermarket. My most successful try was with raw milk from Sprouts ($15/gallon!!) and the "very soft" style recipe here:

Other than cheese, what are your other hobbies and interests?

Kids, I have two, a boy (5) and a girl (2.5). Really they and my job take up most of my time, but when I get some free time and I'm not making cheese I like to garden (I have a dream that one day I will eat a Caprese salad made and grown entirely by me), craft (it varies), and read.

What do you do for work? 

I'm a front-end web developer. I work for a company called ProQuest, they're actually based in Michigan but have a small San Diego office. I work mostly on a web-based bibliography management tool called RefWorks.

Jessica's ripening box: The tubs are from the Dollar store and the mats are from Joann Fabric. The mats are actually "plastic canvas" that you can buy in pre-made shapes or big sheets at most craft stores. They can be cut with scissors but I was just really happy when my precut rounds fit like a glove without cutting. The cookie cutters are from a box of 100 plastic cookie cutters I got from Joann also (I figure if I want to make cookies giraffe or whale cookies at some point I can just switch them out for different animals).

December Holiday Party

Every year in lieu of our usual monthly meeting, we use the December meeting for our holiday party! I know it's really early to start thinking about it, but considering how close our usual meeting is to Christmas, Chris sent out an email asking everyone which date works best. Tuesday, December 13 has been selected for this year's holiday party:

Tuesday, December 13, 6:30PM
Queso Diego Holiday Party
Location: Only members who are current on their annual dues will receive the address of the holiday party

This party is a potluck and we'll also be having an Opportunity Drawing to raise funds for our club!

Cheese Recipe of the Month

How about making a pumpkin-shaped Pumpkin Pecan Baked Brie to bring to share at this month's spooky meeting?

Writers needed

We're looking for writers to contribute a one-time or monthly article to the new Queso Diego newsletter. If you would like to submit an article or idea for future articles, please send your suggestion to:

Thanks to our amazing club Officers:

Alyssa Humbert

Vice President
Earl Itrich

Chuck West

Don Rutherford

Membership Chair
Sandy McCampbell

IT Chair
Chris Banker

Curt Wittenberg

To contact all of us with questions, concerns, suggestions, email us at:
Upcoming Events

October 6, 7:00PM - 8:30PM
Cheese 101 - $50
The Cheese Store of San Diego & Smallgoods
1980 Kettner Blvd, Suite 30
San Diego, CA 92101
RSVP and info here:

October 8, 1:00PM - 4:00PM
Queso Diego/Julian Ciderworks Cheese and Cider Event - $20
Julian Ciderworks
17552 Harrison Park Road
Julian, CA 92036

October 11, 6:00PM - 7:00PM
Oktoberfest Celebration - $30
Venissimo North Park @ Bottlecraft
3007 University Avenue
San Diego, CA 92104
Buy tickets here:

October 12, 6:30PM
Olive Oil & Vinegar Cheese Pairing
Seaport Oil & Vinegars with Smallgoods
3913 9th Avenue
San Diego, CA 92103
RSVP and info here:

October 12, 6:00PM - 8:00PM
Fondue and Raclette Party - $50
Venissimo Del Mar
2650 Via de la Valle
Del Mar, CA 92014
Buy tickets here:

October 15, 11:00AM - 2:00PM
San Diego's 2nd Annual Mac n' Cheese Fest - $35
San Diego Waterfront Park
1600 Pacific Highway
San Diego, CA 92101
Buy tickets here:

October 18, 6:30PM
Queso Diego October Meeting - free to members
AleSmith Brewery
9990 AleSmith Court
San Diego, CA 92126
RSVP here:

October 23, 5:00PM - 7:00PM
Curd is the Word - $50
Venissimo Downtown
789 West Harbor Drive
San Diego, CA 92101
Buy tickets here -

October 27, 2:00PM - 4:00PM
Cheese Concierge - $25
Warwick's Books
7812 Girard Avenue
La Jolla, CA 92037
Buy tickets here:

October 27, 6:00PM - 7:30PM
Wine & Cheese Sampling - $30
Gianni Buonomo Tasting Room
4826 Newport Avenue
San Diego, CA 92107
Buy tickets here:

November 3, 7:00PM
Queso Diego Officers Meeting - free
For meeting location, email:

November 5, 1:00PM - 3:00PM
Beer & Cheese Sampling - $30
Thorn Street Brewery
3176 Thorn Street
San Diego,  CA 92104
Buy tickets here:

November 6, 5:00PM - 7:00PM
Mercy of the Monger - $50
Venissimo Del Mar
2650 Via de la Valle
Del Mar, CA 92014
Buy tickets here:

November 9, 6:00PM - 7:30PM
Truffles and Cheese - $50
Venissimo Downtown
789 West Harbor Drive
San Diego, CA 92101
Buy tickets here:

November 11, 6:00PM - 8:00PM
Make Mozz & Ricotta - $50
Venissimo Liberty Station
2820 Historic Decatur Road
San Diego, CA 92106
Buy tickets here:

November 12, 1:00PM - 4:00PM
Cheesemaking Fundamentals Class - $75
Curds and Wine
7194 Clairemont Mesa Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92111
Buy tickets here:

November 15, 6:00PM - 7:30PM
Cider + Cheese Rules - $30
Venissimo North Park @ Bottlecraft
3007 University Avenue
San Diego, CA 92104
Buy tickets here:

December 3, 1:00PM - 4:00PM
Cheesemaking Fundamentals Class - $75
Curds and Wine
7194 Clairemont Mesa Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92111
Buy tickets here:

December 13, 6:30PM
Queso Diego Holiday Party - potluck
Location to be emailed to paid members only
Get 10% off your purchase with your Queso Diego membership

Bice San Diego
425 Island Avenue
San Diego, CA 92101
Get 10% off your purchase with your Queso Diego membership

Smallgoods Cheese & Provisions
La Jolla Open Aire Market
7335 Girard Ave.
La Jolla, CA 92037
Get 10% off your purchase with your Queso Diego membership

Curds and Wine
7194 Clairemont Mesa Blvd. 
San Diego, CA 92111
Get 10% off your purchase with your Queso Diego membership

Locations throughout San Diego County
Get 10% off your purchase with your Queso Diego membership

Brothers Provisions
16451 Bernardo Center Road. 
San Diego, CA 92127
Get 10% off your purchase with your Queso Diego membership
Custom orders available!

Bottles & Wood
5039 Shawline Street
San Diego, CA 92117
Thank you to Peter Zien, the owner of AleSmith, and his amazing employees for generously letting us use their space for our meetings!
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