MANILA -- Christmas is without a doubt made merrier by the long-awaited Noche Buena.
The morning after the festivities, however, many household end up with more food than they can consume.
To avoid wasting food, some opt to share their excess spaghetti to their neighbors; others turn the remaining lechon into paksiw. Julian Medel and his fianceé Angel Ramos, owners of Nanay Luisa's, however, dealt with leftovers by cooking up a business from the Noche Buena must: queso de bola.
While queso de bola is typically reserved for Christmas, the couple introduced a new a way for the cheese to be enjoyed beyond the holidays.
Instead of eating the edam cheese on its own, Nanay Luisa's mixed the traditional cheese with ingredients readily available in most households and spining it into a delicious spread.
"There aren't a lot of ways to eat queso de bola after Noche Buena. This way, you won't avoid wasting the queso de bola" Medel said. "Aside from eating the spread with bread, you can enjoy it on nachos, a filling for cordon bleu, add it to caldereta and more."
The recipe was originally from Medel's grandmother and the business' namesake Luisa.
"The recipe is 50 years old. My lola has been making queso de bola spread for as long as I can remember. She would make the spread so the queso de bola won't be wasted," Medel recalled.
Unlike other types of cheese that taste better with time, Medel noted queso de bola does not age well.
"Queso de bola tastes better when fresh. When it gets old, the taste becomes sharp. It becomes harder and saltier," he said.
Once turned into spread, the cheese can be enjoyed for up to three months.
"My lola made the spread so that queso de bola can be enjoyed even after Christmas season," Medel said.
What started as merely an innovative way to avoid food waste, has now become a thriving business.
According to Ramos, Nanay Luisa's sells around 200 jars of queso de bola spread weekly.
"The business is all year-round. During the off season we make the spread weekly and daily during the holiday season," Ramos shared.
"We have repeat orders regularly from our customers," Ramos said.
Mendel and Angel had always wanted to start a food business together. Since Mendel noticed how much Ramos enjoyed the spread, they thought about marketing the family recipe.
"The spread is Angel'a favorite thing to eat at home, so we thought about letting other people try too and see if they like it" Mendel shared.
"We started to give them away as presents to our friends and relatives so we could get rheir feedback. They really liked it. They would make requests since, so we thought, why not sell them?"
Ramos, however, reiterated the success didn't come overnight.
Since queso de bola is only associated with the holidays, the pair had to plan and market their product carefully.
"Know your market, find out who is interested in your product and let them try. Then focus on that market," Ramos said.
Nanay Luisa's Queso de Bola Spread can be purchased through through their Facebook page.