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Apr 26, 2006 05:10 PM

mexican cheeses

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this a topic that i would like to learn more about, any info in general would be appreciated. is there a great cheese making tradition in mexico?

i know only of cotjia, fresco, oaxaca, chiuahha (sp), manchego (spanish).

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  1. Doble crema. Rich, some firmness. I like it with fruit when I can get it.

    1. The books written by Diana Kennedy and Rick Bayless are great information sources.

      To give you a quick answer, there isn't a nationwide tradition of "great cheeses" defined by region. In some places, queso "oaxaca" is labeled "quesillo". Queso "chihuahua" is sometimes called queso "mennonito", queso "fresco" in sometimes called "panela, etc., etc. The queso doble that the other poster mentioned is like a liquidy cream cheese, very rich and delicious.

      The cheeses of Mexico are mostly white (no tradition of food coloring here!) and fresh. Cotija is an "aged" cheese similar to but nowhere in the same league as Parmesan.

      By the way, the Spanish Manchego I've tasted is a fairly hard cheese with a strong taste and firm texture. The Mexican Manchego is much softer and milder, i.e., much fresher.

      To my knowledge, there is no Mexican equivalent to brie, camembert, gouda or roquefort. Locally produced goat cheese is also scarce, as far as finding it in the market is concerned as opposed to finding a producer.

      1. r
        Robert Lauriston

        In Guadalajara, I've been to markets where they'll have a dozen or more cremas (cultured creams), apparently made with different cultures resulting in a variety of flavors and consistencies.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          OK, hope the mods will roll with this a while. If it gets too board specific, I'll ask on my local board. After all, a specialty cheese made in California or Texas might be sold in cheese stores in multiple states.

          Robert, I'm curious if you know of locally made sources of crema or Mexican cheeses?

          I was wondering in general about Mexican artisan cheeses made in the US.

          This article mentions Jisa Farmstead Cheese in, of all places, Nebraska, makes queso botana, queso fresco and queso blanco.

          Yes you can get artisnan Mexican cheese in the Nebraskan cities of David City, Seward, Wahoo, Lincoln, York and Hastings.

          The idea came when the owners found one of their workers making Mexican cheese in the kitchen because it wasn't found in stores.

          Here's the article:

          I refuse to believe that California lags behind Nebraska in artisan Mexican cheese. So is there any out there?

          The link below is to an artisan Mexican cheesemaker in Texas with interesting info about Mexican cheese in general. For you Texas folks, some Texas Whole Foods carry this brand.

          Hmmm ... this sounds like an interesting little quest while checking out local Mexican markets. I wonder if Cheeseboard or the other cheesestores in SF carry Mexican cheese or cremas.


          1. re: rworange

            In Houston you can buy illegal Mexican cheese from guys on the side of the road.

            This is the stuff smuggled in from Mexico.

            1. re: rworange

              San Jose Flea Market used to have vendors selling cheese. I wrote used to because I haven't been there in ~5-7 years.

              1. re: rworange
                Robert Lauriston

                I've bought a couple of kinds of crema mexicana in Mexican markets. They come in a plastic jar with a screwtop. Artisanal or not, I have no idea.

            2. Add requeson to your list. It's a fresh cheese that kind of has a similar consistency to mascarpone or a rich ricotta, but requeson is grainer I think. It spoils quickly so have a sniff of it before you purchase it.

              1. This is a really good link about the different types of Mexican cheeses and the history of Mexican cheese.

                The only one not mentioned that I know of is Chontaleno Ahumado, a dry, smoked cheese.