California Milk Advisory Board at BlogHer Food ’14: A Recap

Hi friends! A couple weeks ago I talked to you guys about the California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB) and California Dairy. happy_cows2As their newest ambassador, I had the pleasure of attending a live demo with them at BlogHer Food in Miami, Florida.  Since we were partying it up in Miami, a natural hub for Latin food and culture, and since California is the number one producer of Hispanic dairy products, this demo couldn’t have been more perfect to showcase California’s impressive #1 ranking in the dairy field. The demo was hosted by local renowned Chef Georgio Rapicavoli, the chef and co-owner of the wildly popular Eating House Restaurant in Coral Gables, FL, and Taperia Raca, a Spanish tapas bar, also in Florida.  Chef Rapicavoli, a Miami native, is used to eating lots of unique and diverse cuisines that are represented in the area, such as Latin, Cuban and Italian.  And since May is the unofficial Hispanic Dairy Month, Chef teamed up with the California Milk Advisory Board to bring us this tasty and interactive demo to teach us about the fun, unexpected uses and importance of Hispanic dairy in his cooking. California’s Hispanic dairy products are diverse — from cremas, drinkable yogurts and a wide variety of Hispanic cheeses– that are equally versatile when being used in the kitchen.  For instance, one of the dishes Chef Rapicavoli demonstrated for us was his take on cheesecake using a Hispanic cheese called Requeson.  Requeson (Re-keh-sohn) is similar to whey, has a soft, grainy texture and fresh milk taste that makes it comparable to Ricotta.  Since Ricotta and Requeson are similar enough in texture/flavor, this makes for a seamless substitution in the cheesecake base.  To brighten up the cheesecake, he also recommended using fresh lemon juice and zest. chefIn addition to the cheesecake, Chef Rapicavoli showed us the versatility of Mexican crema.  You can buy Mexican crema salted or unsalted, but for desserts, unsalted is best to help control the flavor.  You can sweeten your crema and whip it into a light, fluffy texture — very similar to a stiff whipped cream.  Chef handed out samples of a sweetened Mexican crema with chocolate sauce and raspberries that was to die for.  So simple and light, but you can tell the crema was fresh and just sweet enough to pass as a dessert, but still had that authentic flavor.  He also spread the crema on his plate before plating his Requeson cheesecake, complete with fresh strawberries, a homemade strawberry sauce, a baked streusel topping, and a garnish of lemon zest.  I’ve never seen a more beautiful plate of cheesecake in my life!  And we got petite samples 🙂 cheescake   cremaThe demo was awesome because, in addition to eating some amazing, fun twists on traditional food made with Hispanic dairy, Chef Rapicavoli taught us tips and tricks to using Hispanic cheeses in the future to jazz up some of your favorite dishes at home.  For instance, Panela (pa-neh-la) is a mild and moist cheese with a sweet milk flavor that’s similar to Mozzarella.  You could try spicing up Italian dishes (like by making a taco lasagna!) and substitute Panela instead of your Mozzarella for a different profile.  Or Cotija (Co-tee-ha), which is a firm, very salty cheese with a similar texture to Feta.  Cotija would be awesome subbed in a Mexican-Mediterranean salad, don’t you think?  Or there’s Queso Blanco, which can be used like a Cheddar or Jack as it melts very well – think of a Latin-inspired grilled cheese! And again, since California is the nation’s leading producer of Hispanic dairy, you’re bound to be able to find some awesome, authentic Hispanic cheeses, cremas and dairy in your local market that you can experiment with.  Little tweaks can make a huge difference in a dish, as Chef demonstrated with his simple crema or the Requeson cheesecake. DSC_0299APlus, knowing that 99% of California dairy farms are family owned, you can feel good about purchasing cheese and dairy with the Real California Milk and Cheese seals since it helps farmers continue to produce milk for these exquisite cheeses and dairy products, and continue to spread the flavor and culture of Hispanic dairy around America. For more information on the California Milk Advisory Board, be sure to visit their website!  You can also connect with them via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.  Now, I don’t know about you, but I have a bowl of crema I need to attend to, Mrs. Doubtfire-style.  Helloooooo! Have a fantastical day!! xo, Hayley  

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  1. This is seriously the cooooolest thing!

  2. Ah, Chef Rapicavoli. 😉 His restaurant was AMAZING. I still dream about that food! What a great time we had at BlogHer Food!! I am so happy to have met you! You are just as hysterical in person as you are in your posts/IG! Hope to see you again sometime soon! xo!

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