Queso Diego December 2015 monthly newsletter with holiday party RSVP link
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December Holiday Party

In December, we have our annual holiday potluck party in lieu of our regular Queso Diego meeting. In order to receive an invitation to the party, members must pay their dues in full. Please click here to pay your dues

The party will be on Tuesday, December 15, from 6PM to 10PM: RSVP HERE

We will be having an "Opportunity Drawing" (aka raffle) with your first raffle ticket free with your paid membership and subsequent raffle tickets for $1 each ($1 = 1 raffle ticket, $5 = 7 tickets, $10 = arm's length of tickets). This is Queso Diego's only fundraiser and our sponsors have generously provided great prizes!

Please bring your Queso Diego taster glass to cut down on waste. We will also have glasses for sale. The keg is outside, so be sure to dress warmly!

November: Blue Cheeses

Sacré Bleu! Last month, Queso Diego Secretary, Colleen Garrett, and Queso Diego IT Chair, Chris Banker, presented blue cheeses.

Their last-minute presentation was highly informative and the blue cheeses they shared from Venissimo were delicious. If you missed it, you can view their presentation here:

Thank you to all the members who tried their hand at making blue cheese and shared with the club!


News: Farmer Bill Tall

As many of you know, our generous host and Quartermaster, Farmer Bill Tall, as been diagnosed with liver cancer. He has been undergoing treatment here in San Diego, but will leave for New Orleans in the hopes of receiving a liver transplant. 

There will be a card for all to sign at the December Queso Diego Holiday Party.

Due to Farmer Bill's health conditions, we are looking for a new location to hold our monthly Queso Diego meetings. If you have a suggestion, please email:

Wishing you a successful trip to New Orleans, Bill!

Unusual Cheeses You Won't Find in Your Local Shop - Part 1

By Jeffree Wyn Itrich, Queso Diego Member since 2012

Are you the daring type who prefers uncommon cheese? Maybe you like limburger or become enticed with anything out of the ordinary; well then, you may well appreciate these atypical cheeses. Good luck finding them, though. While popular in other countries you would be hard pressed to locate them in San Diego County much less anywhere in the continental U.S. Perhaps one or more of them will inspire you to visit where they are made. If you do, definitely tell us all about it at QD when you return. 

    Reindeer Milk Cheese Gotta talk about this one first. Afterall, it is that time of year, right? Cheese made from reindeer milk is usually found in the Scandinavian countries, though you can find reindeer milk in Alaska, and who knows maybe some enterprising soul is selling reindeer milk cheese in some remote village. Modern Finnish cheeses like leipäjuusto were made with reindeer milk in the past, not so much today due to the difficulty of acquiring the milk. Cheese made from the milk is extremely rare because cheesemakers have difficulty acquiring enough milk to make it commercially. Reindeers produce only 1.5 cups per day. Reindeer milk derives nearly half of its weight from butter fats giving it the reputation for being among the richest and most nutritious of milks. At 22% butterfat and 10% protein it is well deserved. It is, in fact, a rich cream cheese, yellow on the outside and white on the interior. When cut into, the white rapidly changes to a golden yellow. The taste is very mild, very creamy, and the cheese melts very easily in the mouth, with the fine aroma of reindeer milk, whatever that tastes like. If you ever get your hands on reindeer cheese be aware that it goes rancid quickly, acquiring a strong odor and a burning taste. 

    Pule: considered the world’s most expensive cheese. Why? It’s a specialty made only in Serbia from free-range donkeys who dine on only the best wild grasses. Zasavica Donkey Reserve, a donkey farm inside Zasavica, about 80 kilometers from Belgrade, produces the donkey cheese by hand-milking a herd of about 100 endangered Balkan donkeys. By selling the donkey cheese at 1,000 pounds per kilogram (approx. $576 a pound), the Zasavica Donkey Reserve plans to sponsor their conservation work. It takes 25 liters of donkey milk to produce just one kilogram of the white, crumbly smoked cheese. Currently the cheese is made only by advanced order, but farm exports are expected soon to the UK, Germany and the rest of the world. 

Carabao Milk Cheese Water Buffalo milk cheese is much more common than you’d think. The Carabao, on the other hand, is much less well known unless you’re in Guam or the Philippines where they’ve been the local domesticated ruminant since pre-colonial times. Carabao milk can be processed into a cheese called Kesong Puti, which enterprising Filipinos sometimes use as a pizza topping. Water buffalo cheese is also made in the Lombardy region of Italy and is known as Quadrello di Bufala. Made from pasteurized milk, Quadrello di Bufala is a washed-rind cheese high in fat and protein. It shares several attributes with Taleggio or Brescianella Stagionata, except that it is made from the milk of the water buffalo.

Stay tuned for Part 2 in next month's newsletter!

Cheese of the month

This is a busy month for everyone! If you find yourself running out of time to make cheese, here are some quick recipes (admittedly, some using *gasp* store-bought cheeses) that will make your holidays festive!

Christmas Tree Cheese Ball
Shape Christmas trees using cream cheese, mascarpone, and shredded cheddar, cover in chopped herbs such as parsley, thyme, and sage, then decorate with pomegranate seeds (could easily be made using a homemade goat cheese!)

Cheese Pinecones
Shape cheese into pinecones, then decorate with almonds and rosemary sprigs (can easily be done with homemade goat cheese!)

Bacon and Spring Onion Cheese Christmas Tree
Well, bacon

Christmas Cheese Tray
Assorted cubed cheeses with cherry tomatoes and rosemary sprigs make a quick and pretty cheese tray!

Olive and Rosemary Christmas Tree


Top Gifts for Cheesemakers

The essentials for any cheese maker on your list!

1) The Home Cheese Making book by Ricki Carroll - $16.95

2) Cheesemaking Fundamentals Class at Curds and Wine - $65

3) Hygrometer - $19.99


Top Gifts for Cheeselovers

Our top-rated picks for every cheese lover on your gift list!

1) Cheese Lovers Club from Venissimo - $40/month pick up or $65/month shipped (Queso Diego discount does not apply)

2) Cheese Lover Hand Towels - $25

3) Subscription to Culture Magazine - $30/year

4) Goat's Milk Cheese print - starting at $30

5) Membership to Queso Diego - $20

Writers needed

Thank you to Jeffree Itrich for her contribution to this month's Queso Diego newsletter! Look for the second part in her series on unusual cheeses in next month's newsletter!

If you would like to submit an article or idea for future articles, please send your suggestion to:

Upcoming Events

December 7, 6:30PM - 8:00PM
Venissimo Mozzarella and Ricotta class - $50
Venissimo @ The Headquarters
789 West Harbor Blvd. 
San Diego, CA 92101
Buy tickets here:

December 15, 6:30PM - 10:00PM
Queso Diego Holiday Party 
Chuck & Joanne West's house
Potluck party
Invite-only event: Only fully paid Queso Diego members invited

January 12, 6:00PM - 8:00PM
Ale to the Cheese! Craft Beer, Fine Cheese, and Smart Science - $55
Green Flash Cellar 3
12260 Crosthwaite Circle
Poway, CA 92064
More info here:

January 14, 7:00PM
January Queso Diego Officers Meeting
Chuck & Joanne West's house
Open to all Queso Diego members
Email Officers for more info:

January 19, 6:30PM
Queso Diego Cheese and Champagne Pairing 5th Anniversary Party

Location TBD
Invite-only event: Only fully paid Queso Diego members invited with guests
$5/member, $10/non-member
Get 10% off your purchase with your Queso Diego membership

10601 Tierrasanta Blvd.
Suite H
San Diego, CA 92125
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

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

The Cheese Store
1980 Kettner Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92101
Get 10% off your purchase with your Queso Diego membership

Smallgoods Cheese & Provisions
La Jolla Open Aire Market
Sundays 9AM - 1PM
7335 Girard Ave.
La Jolla, CA 92037
Get 10% off your purchase with your Queso Diego membership

The Ugly Dog
6344 El Cajon Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92115
Get 10% off your purchase with your Queso Diego membership (15% off food during happy hour)

Bice Ristorante
425 Island Ave. 
San Diego, CA 92101
THANK YOU Farmer Bill and City Farmers Nursery for hosting our Queso Diego meetings every month!

City Farmers Nursery
4832 Home Ave. 
San Diego, CA 92105
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