LAGUNA | Kesong Puti and Where to Find it in Sta. Cruz


kesong puti of Sta. Cruz, Laguna

After a late lunch in Nanot's Spaghetti House, we drove for kesong puti. Not only because kesong puti is what Sta. Cruz town is known for therefore must be tried, but because kesong puti is my favorite pasalubong from Laguna. Whenever I go cruising the roads of the province especially the eastern part, hot pandesal stuffed with kesong puti becomes my morning meal for the next few days.


Kesong puti is a soft, unaged, bright white cheese made from carabao's milk. A local delight, it is sometimes called Filipino mozarella because of its texture that's similar to Italian buffalo mozarella. It is mildly salty (almost bland to me), has little to no odor, and has a creamy aftertaste.


Laguna's kesong puti are sold wrapped in layers of banana leaves. It is packaged by pouring the thin milk into a rolled banana leaf (forming a container) and then set aside to thicken over time. When bought, the cheese is cold and excess liquids are dripping from the leaf packaging. It has a shelf life of about a week, that's why when I bring home some, it needs to be consumed daily.

Brgy. Bagumbayan in Sta. Cruz is dubbed as Brgy. Kesong Puti
Brgy. Bagumbayan is dubbed as Brgy. Kesong Puti

Sta. Cruz, Laguna is considered the "Home of Kesong Puti" because it's where the local product originated. The town has been producing the cheese for more than four centuries. Kesong puti is paramount to the town's identity and culinary history that it holds an annual festival anchored to the local delicacy. Also, more than just a spread for breads, the townspeople use kesong puti as unique ingredient in various dishes.


Where to Find Kesong Puti in Sta. Cruz?

We needed to drive from Nanot's because most kesong puti sellers are not in the bustling poblacion where the town hall, plaza, church, diners and most commercial establishments are concentrated. Kesong puti are sold on roadsides of Bagumbayan Road in Brgy. Bagumbayan roughly two kilometers away from the town center. One can get the cheese from home shops along the avenue or from ubiquitous makeshift umbrella stalls on both sides of the road.

Some popular shops there are Gil's Kesong Puti and Arlene Macalinao's Kesong Puti. They are located on opposite sides of the street and around them are smaller kesong puti stalls. On my recent trip this month, I got my pasalubong from Arlene's at PHP 150 per bundle—two blocks of cheese about 3-4 inches long. Kesong puti ice cream also seems a good grub, but was out-of-stock that time.

Arlene Macalinao's kesong puti home shop

References:
  • GMA News Online. (2017, October 9). Kesong puti dishes, ihahain sa Pinas Sarap. Retrieved from https://www.gmanetwork.com/news/newstv/pinassarap/628816/kesong-puti-dishes-ihahain-sa-pinas-sarap/story/
  • Business Diary PH (2019, August 15). How to Make Kesong Puti (Filipino White Cheese) using Vinegar. Retrieved from https://businessdiary.com.ph/1812/how-to-make-kesong-puti-filipino-white-cheese-using-vinegar/


Disclosure: I'm not in any way connected with business entities mentioned in this blog post. All views and opinions expressed are inspired by my own experience.


DJ RIVERA

Filipino, dad, office guy, hobbyist. Writes computer programs on weekdays, works on just about anything on weekends. Click here to know more.

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