An Appetizer with Cheese to Aid Digestion?

by Travis Metzger |

An Appetizer with Cheese to Aid Digestion?

This holiday blend of cheeses represents a wonderful balance of flavors and properties. We don't typically associate dairy products with Chinese cuisine and Chinese dietary therapy. But many of the ethnic groups on the periphery of Chinese civilization, such as the Mongols, Tibetans, Uighurs, Kazakhs, Manchus, were nomadic pastoralists, and often consumed various dairy products.

Although these foods generally weren't incorporated into the southern Chinese cuisine styles that are better known in the US, dairy products were well known to certain Chinese scholars, particularly those in the north of China.

Li Shizhen (1518-1593), widely recognized as one of China's greatest natural scientists and herbalists, writes about dairy products quite extensively in his famous text, Systematic Materia Medica. He notes that cheeses are supplementing foods that "generate essence and blood."

In the West, there are concerns that dairy products can lead to digestive problems. These concerns are consistent with Li Shizhen's assessment, because cheese is considered "sweet, sour, and cold."

Grating cheese for digestion

"Sweet" and "sour" together can supplement body fluids but can potentially stagnate and cause the production of pathogenic phlegm. Furthermore, cold foods are hard on the stomach and can exacerbate the problem of phlegm, which itself impedes digestion.

However, Li Shizhen, notes that goat and sheep cheeses are "warming." By combining cow and goat cheeses and then adding white pepper, which is "warm and pungent" and has the added property of "eliminating phlegm," we have retained the nourishing aspects of these cheeses and made them easy on the digestive system.

Enjoy this well-balanced holiday appetizer.

Cheese for digestion

Parmigiano-Reggiano Crisp with Goat Cheese Mousse

Serving size

About 3-4

Prep Time / Cook Time

20 minutes / 5 minutes


3-4 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano

3 ounces Goat Cheese

1-2 ounces Heavy Cream

White Pepper


Grate the Parmigiano-Reggiano and arrange in 2-2 1/2 inch diameter portions on parchment paper placed on a baking sheet and warm in a 350 degree oven just until the grated cheese begins to melt together. It is important not to leave in the oven too long, no browning should appear.

Remove from oven and while still warm lift the parm from the parchment and carefully press/form into an egg container. As the cheese cools and it will cool quickly, the cheese will crisp.

Cheese for digestion and Chinese medicine

Stir/mix cream into goat cheese until soft and smooth but not too loose. Season with white pepper and pipe into the parm' crisps. Use a pastry bag if you have one otherwise simply cut the tip off of a corner of a sandwich bag, partially fill with the softened creamy goat cheese and squeezing the bag begin to fill the parm' crisps. Arrange on serving tray and enjoy!

Cheese appetizer for digestion

Dining with Culinary Artist Travis Metzger is an unforgettable experience. You can taste the passion, creativity and culinary expertise in each of Travis’s one-of-kind recipes. Most would agree that Traditional Chinese Medicine herbs in their original form taste less than delectable, but Travis has proven that TCM for today can taste great with DAO Labs. Travis develops unique flavors for each DAO formula to complement the proprietary blend of herbs and their health benefits. After extensive training at the New England Culinary Institute, Travis ran some of the finest restaurants across the country before starting his own in Minneapolis. To survive the stresses and physical challenges of the kitchen heat, Travis focused on combining natural ingredients for healthy AND delicious eating and juicing.

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