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Jul 21, 2009 05:31 PM

Best Place for Central and S. American Cheese?

I'm looking for the best place in the city of San Francisco to buy central and south american cheeses - both fresh and aged. Especially interested in Venezuelan cheese but other types also welcome.

I've looked in a number of shops along the Mission but most of them have a pretty small cheese section emphasizing packed Mexican cheeses with only one or two (of undetermined quality) available in bulk.

Does anyone do great Latin American cheese? Are there higher end artisan ones available anywhere?

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  1. Really? No suggestions? Somebody in San Francisco knows where to go for great central and south american cheeses - or at least I hope so.


    1 Reply
    1. re: boris_qd

      They seem to be in really short supply. Even Igourmet, who lists a few, shows the majority of their selections are not presently available.

    2. I've seen Reggianito at Lucca Ravioli Co.

      El Raigon has Provoleta, you might call them and ask where they get it (though they may just substitute Provolone).

      1. Nathalie Schuler Ferro of Quesomania used to broker Venezuelan-style cheeses (e.g., Don Kesso's of Miami). She's in law school now, but you might want to get in touch and see if she has any leads. Here's my old post.

        The queso blanco made by Loleta up in Humboldt is so fresh and beautiful, and is used by Coupa Cafe in Palo Alto for its Venezuelan-style arepas. You can probably order it from any cheese retailer that carries Loleta cheeses. This would be in the artisan category.

        If you are interested in Peruvian style goat cheeses, then the farmstead cheeses from Bodega Artisan Cheeses or Yerba Santa. You can buy them at the Ferry Plaza farmers market.

        The parmesan style cheese from Argentina is sold quite widely, try Trader Joe's.

        Of the artisan Mexican cheeses, you'll want to check out the raw milk queso de montana.
        For Mexican queso fresco, Los Altos brand is the best tasting to me. Only buy it from bulk wheels cut to order, not pre-packaged, and ask for a taste. I purchase it in Sonoma County at the supermercados there, don't know where to send you in SF.

        Edited to add: If you're ever up in Healdsburg, check out The Cheese Shop. The owner is from Ecuador and has a few cheeses from her homeland in stock.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Melanie Wong

          Melanie - this is great. I'll try to follow up on some of these and report back when I get a chance.

          1. re: boris_qd

            Very much looking forward to what you turn up, we've not had much experience with the subject here.

        2. Hi Boris.
          Not in SF, but you could try The Cheese Shop in Healdsburg...Give Doralice a call. She's the cheese goddess.

            1. re: Melanie Wong

              For me. No.

              There's a cheese seller that was selling at the Divisadero farmer's market that made a fresh feta that reminded me of Venezuelan cheese. It was expensive so I only got it in very small pieces but I considered using it for Cachapas. I haven't looked for it in about 6 months or so.

              Other than that I get occasional samples from people who travel from Miami.

              1. re: boris_qd

                Ah well, still have my fingers crossed that you'll find something suitable closer to home.