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?
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.
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.