Thursday, November 12, 2009

Southern dispaches

I'm in Chiapas, in Tuxtla Gtz for one of the biggest trade fairs in Mexico. There are about 300 producers, 31 international and 50 national buyers. Coffee, cheese, fruit, veggies and other food products are for sale.

I am here to taste about 50 cheeses, of the Queso de Cuadro style. Today, I'll be leading a private tasting for some government officials, where I will stress the importance to not push pasteurization on cheesemakers. I believe the milk used for these cheeses is of great quality and in chemical analysis experts from the University of Chiapas and Chapingo have found below average of harmful bacteria. So pasteurization at this point will only destroy the complexity of the milk flavor.

During breakfast this morning, I wanted to have some cheese from the buffet and to my dissapointment the options were the infamous slices of bland "American" cheese. I cannot believe that having so many wonderful producers meeting in the city, the platter did not included a single cheese made in Chiapas.

When I pressed the restaurant manager about it. The response was telling of the overall feeling in Mexico about our own products. He said to me - Cheese here is not good and I can get this from the general caterer.

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