How an expat is making a name for himself through artisanal dairy products
I will be very honest with you: I have a hard time trusting people who do not like cheese without any medical reason.
Cheese is one of the greatest things on earth—one of the things that makes life a bit more bearable. And you know what they say, “Everything is good with cheese.” This is why I fervently believe cheese makers and dairy farmers are doing god’s good work, making the world a better place one cheese wheel at a time.
Meet Marshall Mays, one of the visionaries who started Pacific Organic Dairy Products (PODP) and its Philippine arm, Dairy Innovative Partners (DIP)—makers of artisanal dairy products in the Philippines. PODP was established in 2011 by a group of innovators in order to “develop a network of dairies across South East Asia that produce premium grade cheese and yogurt for the discerning palates of metropolitan Asia, whose rapidly growing middle class is already the largest in the world.”
La Latteria D’Ischia is the brand of dairy products manufactured and distributed by PODP, which was started in 2014. It was named after the island in the bay of Naples from which PODP’s Italian trainer came. In 2015, PODP started selling La Latteria products to high-end restaurants and hotels, as well as plating seeds of potential export markets in Singapore, Taiwan, and Japan.
To ensure quality, PODP selects their partner dairy farmers and provides adequate training about proper feed regimen for better milk yield. PODP then imports fresh Italian cheese and yogurt from its plant in the Philippines and sells to the big cities of East Asia.
“Quality control at the source is part of our strength as a trusted, top-quality producer. Through our training and controlled buying, we are building up the capacity of scattered, otherwise unsupported dairy farmers to produce at global standards,” Mays told Expat. “This boosts income to lift rural families from poverty and educate them to properly produced organic food. And this is the key to fine products and strong communities.”
“Our customers are international travelers who demand the best and seek a fresh alternative to European imports,” Mays points out. “Over the last forty years Italian restaurants and pasta have spread across Asia. Yet, this has not led to the emergence of local Italian dairies to support them with high-quality cheeses and yogurt—until now.”
Rich and creamy goodness
Water buffalos are the main source of milk in Italy, so the Philippines is one of the best locations for making authentic Italian quality cheese.
“Cheese and yogurt from the water buffalo provides protein, calcium, vitamins and high-grade fat more than other dairy sources and with much less cholesterol. So, our cheeses and live-culture yogurt offer parents a delicious way to boost brain and bone development in one step,” Mays said.
PODP currently carries several items under the La Latteria brand: 100 percent all-natural artisanal yogurt called Italian Dream (two variants: creamy regular and thick), fresh cheeses (creamy Burrata, soft Mozzarella di Bufala, sweet and light Mascarpone Superiore, crumbly Primo Sale, fresh Ricotta), and aged cheeses (nutty and buttery Appia Vecchia, thick and creamy Crema Toscana, rich Scarmoza, moreish Il Megliore Paese, robust Bufalino, fruity Marrone di Veneto).
“We have a wide range of cheeses because the tastes of the wealthy sector of East Asia is quite varied,” Mays explained their best-sellers.
“Of course, fashion waves blow across all sectors and Burrata is extremely popular… But by volume, we sell more live-culture, probiotic yogurt than all cheeses combined. This yogurt is unique in the Philippines and rare in Asia because it can be consumed both fresh and fermented. Sophisticated chefs have shown a lot of enthusiasm for fermented yogurt, but it takes time to educate those who have been brainwashed by supermarket brands of Swiss and French puddings that call themselves ‘yogurt.'”
Drooling already? Don’t worry, La Latteria products are available in select stores around the metro (Holy Carabao, Apotheca Integrative Pharmacy, and Real Foods). They also provide free delivery for orders above PhP2,000.
For more information on where to get your hands on artisanal cheeses and yogurt, visit www.latteria-la.com, follow them on Facebook (www.facebook.com/latteria.la) and Instagram or Twitter @latteria.la
By CHING DEE
Photos courtesy of MARSHALL MAYS