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

End of the year approaching!

Yikes, can you believe Summer is coming to an end and the school year has started?! That means there's only 4 more months left in the year!

The last months of the year mean that I'm looking for new 2017 Queso Diego Officers! You don't need to be an expert cheesemaker to make a difference in this club! If you enjoy this club or want to see some changes, then please email me to be considered for a 2017 Officer position! We need you!

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: September 20

The September meeting of Queso Diego will be a Homemade Cheese Show and Tell event. We strongly encourage attendees to bring homemade cheeses to share, whether quick and simple or complex cheeses aged for a long time. This is your chance to showcase what you have learned at recent meetings or to get feedback on your cheeses. (If your cheese fails or you run out of time, consider bringing a Summer Cheese dish!)

Queso Diego September Meeting
Tuesday, September 20 @ 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:

Queso Diego Social Hour at Bice

August 30, 2016 - San Diego, CA
Thanks to Larry Stein's planning and coordination, 21 Queso Diego members met at Bice, located in the Gaslamp Quarter of downtown San Diego on Tuesday, September 30 for a cheese and wine paring!

Upon entering the stylish and modern restaurant, Queso Diego members were greeted at the bar with a complimentary glass of Prosecco.

Moving into the dining room, tables were reserved for Queso Diegans, with a complimentary plate of cheeses, fruit, and jam at each place setting and a basket of various tasty breads to share. The truffle cow milk cheese, sheep cheese soaked in grape pomace, and aged goat cheese were accompanied by a white wine and two red wines.

Seated in full view of their cheese bar, we then went on to order other dishes, some of us continuing the cheese fest by ordering off Bice's full page of cheeses, while others ordered Italian dishes such as prosciutto and salami plates, salads, lasagna and other pastas, and lightly fried calamari and seafood in a fried spaghetti basket!

We had a wonderful evening being treated like VIPs at Bice and know you will, too! They have a great happy hour menu, extensive cheese and wine lists, delicious traditional Italian dishes, and great service! Be sure to visit their restaurant and you'll get a discount by presenting your current Queso Diego membership ID!

425 Island Avenue
San Diego, CA 92101

July meeting recap: Isigny Ste-Mere and Aniata Cheese Company

At our July meeting, Celyne from Isigny Ste-Mere and Jonathan from Aniata Cheese Company both gave presentations of their respective companies.

Their presentation ended with a surprise treat of Isigny Ste-Mere whipped cream! THANK YOU Celyne and Jonathan!

Interview with a Cheesemaker: Curt Wittenberg

Some of you may know Curt as our 2016 Queso Diego Historian. Others may know him as the first-place winner of the 2016 National Homebrewing Competition. And still others might know him through his recent Cheeses of Israel presentation! Here's a chance to get to know him even better!

Why and when did you begin making cheese? 
Cheesemaking is a perfect blend of cooking and microbiology.  I am a molecular biologist who uses yeast as an experimental organism. I’m also very interested in food cooking and eating.  My food interests are broad and I am quite experimental.  Over the past 5 years, the fusion of those interests has led me to delve into all nature of fermented foods and beverages.  I started with beer and cider, moved on to kimchi and sauerkraut, and then about three years ago started to dabble with cheesemaking.  Like many, I started with mozzarella.  My first batch was mediocre but resembled fresh mozzarella, my second batch became too acidic and would not stretch.  I salted it and it became feta cheese.  You know, when you have lemons, make lemonade.

What's your favorite cheesemaking book?
I haven’t purchased a lot of cheesemaking books so my favorite is my only one.  It is Mastering Artisan Cheesemaking by Gianaclis Caldwell. She is a commercial cheesemaker, raises goats and teaches cheesemaking. The book is outstanding with great explanations of technique and rationale.  The recipes are derived from well established artisan cheesemakers and she has stories about the cheeses and cheesemakers throughout the book.  She writes well and is technically minded.  One of my favorite things is that she has a forum where one can ask questions about the recipes and techniques and she actually takes the time to answer and engage in discussion.

What’s your favorite kind of cheese to make?
I don’t know that I am experienced enough in making a broad range of cheeses to have a favorite.  I have been concentrating on bloomy-rind cheeses for the moment to perfect my technique.  I am learning but there is a long way to go.  I am fascinated by the development and function of the cheese rind in the ripening process.  Learning about that aspect of those cheeses adds another dimension to cheesemaking process.

Please share your favorite cheese recipe
Lactic-Set Bloomy Rind Cheese from Mastering Artisan Cheesemaking by Gianaclis Caldwell 

1 gal whole milk
1/16 tsp Flora Danica culture
1/32 tsp Pennicilium candidum
1/128 tsp Geotricum candidum 15
4 drops single-strength rennet in 1/8 cup cool non-chlorinated water
1 tsp pure salt (~2% weight of drained curd)

Prepare Milk: Warm to 68 to 72F (after pasteurization, as necessary)
Culture: Sprinkle cultures no milk surface: let set for 3 to 5 minutes, then stir gently for 2-5 minutes.
Rennet: Stir in rennet using an up-and-down motion for about 1 minute.  Still the milk.
Ripen/Coagulate: Allow to ripen for 18 to 24 hours at 68-70F until the pH reaches 4.5-4.6.
Drain: Ladle curd in thin layers into forms on a draining mat.  Drain in forms for 24 hours starting at 68-72F, turning one or two times over the draining period. Slowly cool to 62F by the end of the draining period.
Salt and Drying: Unmould and sprinkle with about 1/4 tsp salt per 6 oz of drained cheese.  Let set on draining mat for 24 hours. Humidity should be 80-85% and temperature 62F.  Fan can help with cheese drying.
Ripening and Affinage: Place in a ripening fridge at 52-55F and 95-97% humidity.  Turn daily.  When mold growth is even, pat down and wrap in cheese paper.  Move to a fridge at 38-40F.  Allow to ripen until desired consistency when warmed to room temperature.

What’s in your cheese cave right now?
I finally constructed a proper cheese cave with temperature and humidity control from a small 4 cu ft freezer, an ultrasonic humidifier and a couple of Inkbird controllers.  I used that to make a group of five bloomy-rind goat milk cheeses made in different shapes and sizes.  I have also included a vein of spice in two of them, one cumin and one Hungarian paprika. The bloom was beautiful. Most of them ripened well but I now have to work on controlling the rate of ripening to get the proper consistency.  The flavor profile of the thicker disks was quite complex and satisfying.  I will try another batch soon.
What kind of cheeses do you wish to make in the future?
I will continue working on my bloomy-rind cheeses until I get enough control of the ripening process to produce both Camembert-like cheeses and cheeses more like Humboldt Fog, having a lightly ripened area under the rind and a fresh chevre texture in the middle.  However, I want to repeat my blue cheese making and try some longer aged hard cheeses.  So much to do, so little time.

Other than cheese, what are your other hobbies and interests?
Over the past 5 years, I have been concentrating on beer brewing.  As mentioned above, I started about five years ago when my daughter gave me a brewing kit for my birthday.  The first beer came out great.  I’m a sucker for success and I got head over heals into it.  I have brewed many styles from IPAs to Belgians to ....  I am currently trying to perfect my Saisons and sours.  I am in two brewing clubs, Society of Barley Engineers and QUAFF.  Like participating in Queso Diego, the brewing clubs have helped increase the quality of my beer.  I have been competing over the last year and have been learning to be a beer judge.  I was fortunate to win medals at the SD Fair and the National Homebrewing Competition this year.  
I also enjoy the natural world and have been involved in astronomy and telescope making.  I enjoy travel and especially learning about and experiencing other cultures including their food and drink.  The list goes on.

What do you do for work? 
I am a molecular biologist and geneticist at The Scripps Research Institute where I am a Professor in the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology.  My research has mostly involved cell proliferation including the many processes required for cells to duplicate.  We use the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae (commonly known as brewing and baking yeast) as an experimental organism.  We are specifically interested in how cells make the decision whether or not to divide, an issue important for understanding cancer.  Cell growth and proliferation is also an important component of beer brewing and cheese making.  Understanding those topics can help us be better at our craft.  I enjoy learning about those synergies and communicating that information to others.  

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

September is our Homemade Cheese Show & Tell meeting, so here are some SUPER easy cheese recipes:

How to Make Queso Fresco, the World's Easiest Cheese

Fresh Mozzarella From Scratch Recipe - only takes an hour from start to finish!

Simple Fresh Goat Cheese Recipe - only takes 1 quart of goat milk (do NOT use ultra-pastuerized!) and 2 lemons!

No excuses for showing up empty-handed at our meeting on September 20th!

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

September 7, 6:00PM - 7:30PM
Art of Affinage - $50
Venissimo Downtown
789 West Harbor Drive
San Diego, CA 92101
Buy tickets here:

September 11, 6:30 - 8:30PM
Craft Cider + Artisan Cheese = BFF: A Pairing Night - $45
The Homebrewer
2911 El Cajon Blvd.
Suite 2
San Diego, CA 92104
Buy tickets here:

September 12, 6:00PM - 7:30PM
Spanish Queso - $50
Venissimo Liberty Station
2320 Historic Decatur Road
San Diego, CA 92106
Buy tickets here:

September 13, 6:00PM - 7:00PM
Aged Cheese & Beer - $30
Venissimo North Park / Bottlecraft
3007 University Ave. 
San Diego, CA 92104
Buy tickets here:

September 14, 6:00PM - 7:30PM
Spanish Queso & Sangria - $50
Venissimo Del Mar
2650 Via de la Valle
Del Mar, CA 92014
Buy tickets here:

September 15, 7:00PM
Queso Diego Officers Meeting
Open to all Queso Diego paid members
Bring something tasty to share!
For location, email:

September 15, 7:00PM - 8:30PM
Cheese and Craft Hard Cider class - $55
The Cheese Store of San Diego
1980 Kettner Blvd.
Suite 30
San Diego, CA 92101
Buy tickets here:

September 15, 6:00PM - 8:00PM
Curd is the Word - $50
Venissimo downtown
789 West Harbor Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92101
Buy tickets here:

September 17, 6:00PM - 7:00PM
French Wine and Cheese Education class
The Flight Path & Jenny Eastwood of Smallgoods
1202 Kettner Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92101
Purchase tickets thru venue

September 19, 6:00PM - 7:30PM
Cheese & Charcuterie - $50
Venissimo Liberty Station
2320 Historic Decatur Road
San Diego, CA 92106
Buy tickets here:

September 20, 6:30PM
Queso Diego September meeting - free, membership is $20/year
Homemade Cheese Show & Tell
Summer Cheese Dishes
AleSmith Brewing Company
9990 AleSmith Court
San Diego, CA 92126
RSVP here:

September 22, 6:00PM - 7:30PM
Wonderful World - $60
Venissimo Del Mar
2650 Via de la Valle
Del Mar, CA 92014
Buy tickets here:

September 25, 1:00PM - 3:00PM
Brie Making Class - $35
Ascension Lutheran Church
5106 Zion Avenue
San Diego, CA 92120
Please RSVP by paying $35 via PayPal to:

September 30, 7:00PM - 9:00PM
Mission Beer & Cheese
Mission Brewery
1441 L Street
San Diego, CA 92101
Buy tickets 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
RSVP 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:

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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