Marca Piña vs Marca Pato Queso de Bola: What's the Difference?

Blue duck or orange pineapple? What's the difference between the two classic queso de bola brands: Marca Piña and Marca Pato?

What’s shiny, red, and makes an appearance around the holiday season? Not Rudolph’s nose, but queso de bola: a cheese hailing from Holland, where it is known as Edam (named after its city of origin).

When queso de bola is imported to the Philippines, it is deliberately made saltier and firmer than Holland's Edam. This helps the cheese survive the long trip from Europe, and gives it that characteristic crumbliness and saltiness we've enjoyed on our noche buena spreads year after year—plain, with jamon, or as a topping for ensaymada.

While there are several queso de bola brands on the market, many agree that you really only have two options: Marca Piña and Marca Pato.

Both brands are real-deal natural cheeses straight from Holland (with the price tag to match). How do they differ? Do they taste the same, or will we prefer one over the other?


Marca Piña

First impressions: Marca Piña’s wax coating feels oddly greasy, but within lies a cheese with a buttery, pale-yellow hue, offering a thicker rind of a darker shade that contrasts beautifully with the interior.

Texture: Leaning toward the “hard cheese” category, Marca Piña has a very firm but crumbly texture. As you slice through the ball, it chips off into flakes and dust.

Mouthfeel: Dissolves on the tongue in an almost “powdery” way.

Aroma: Marca Piña's strong, cheesy fragrance hinted savory, nutty qualities with a hint of sweetness.

Flavor: The flavors unfold as the aroma promised. At first, it takes over with saltiness and umami (of an intensity and depth characteristic of aged cheese, reminding tasters of fish sauce). Then comes the characteristic nuttiness of Edam, followed quickly by the sweetness of caramelized milk, balancing out the pungency and lingering long after you swallow.

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