IO, JAKARTA – Cheese has always been popular in Indonesia since our Dutch colonialists brought it with them. Nowadays, cheese has become more and more trendy in our menu: just about any new hip food or beverage and drink contain cheese nowadays. Cheese has a characteristic savory taste generated by fermenting whey. Adding cheese to a dish enriches the flavor and makes it seem more “special”, especially since there is the unconscious association of it being a “rich people” food because it was brought into our country by Dutch colonialists hundreds of years ago.
This trend was realized long ago by Kraft’s cheddar cheese of Mondelez Indonesia. This was the first brand of cheese that entered Indonesia. Having realized the importance of including and integrating cheese into our cooking, Kraft has always sponsored cooking shows and festivals, created recipe books, as well as including recipes that use cheese as an ingredient in their packaging. Now, Kraft’s cheddar cheese celebrates its contribution to Indonesian cooking by holding the “Beragam Rasa Satu Keju” (“Many Flavors, One Cheese”) Culinary Festival on 7-8 September 2019 at Jl. Majapahit, Gasibu, Bandung. Yelly Erawan, Kraft’s Senior Brand Manager, stated that “We hope to inspire the people to continue enriching Indonesia’s culinary tradition with cheese through this festival.”
This Festival will be the first one that boldly asserts its contribution to our national dishes by presenting them in all sorts of unique combinations using cheese, whether main courses, snacks, or beverages. “The Kraft Culinary Festival is both a form of our appreciation for Indonesia’s food sellers for having used our cheese, and it also serves as a forum for showcasing their creativity in creating their own twists on our national dishes using cheese,” Yelly said.
In the Festival, Kraft Indonesia will collaborate with many small and medium food sellers to break the Indonesian Museum of Records’ (Museum Rekor Indonesia – “MURI”) record of “The Most Number of Cheese-based Dishes Presented”. “We hope by this attempt to break the MURI record, we can encourage all culinary businesses in Indonesia to create and develop new dishes, which would generate more ready-to-eat food shopping and help improve Indonesia’s economy,” Yelly said.
Chef Degan Septoadji, one of the chefs who will be presenting dishes in the Festival, said that cheese is a popular dairy-based food around the world. Even though it does not come from Indonesia, our people find that cheese-based foods suit their palates. “Cheese can be integrated into our national foods in many ways: It can be used as topping or stuffing, it can be melted or mixed into the dish or dough, whether you are making a main course, snack, baked goods, or beverage,” he said.
Before integrating cheese with a national dish, we need to make sure that we choose real cheese with real flavor. In this way, its flavor would integrate seamlessly with the original flavor from national ingredients and spices and enrich them instead of overwhelming them. “Kraft’s cheddar cheese has that “just right” milky flavor, that “real” savory and rich cheese flavor that complements its soft texture,” Chef Degan said.
The best way to combine cheese into a dish is by selecting one with a sweet or salty basic flavor. Avoid mixing cheese into a bitter dish. When combining it with vegetables, choose something with bland or neutral flavor like broccoli, cauliflower, or potato. Stay away from bitter things such as pare or bitter gourd, leunca, or papaya leaves. “If you’re up for a challenge, you can mix cheese with strong-flavored dishes like rendang. For example, you can slice rendang meat into smaller cubes and sprinkle grated cheese on top as a topping,” he said.