Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Queso is Cheese

Recently someone asked me about a good cheese book. I quickly responded that there are none in Spanish (at least not online or in bookstores in North America). What this means is not that cheese is not consumed or a big part of Latin American cuisines. What it means is that up-to-today book publishers have not seen a market in producing an original work about this food in the Americas. There are a couple of translations of good books produced in Europe and the US, but they only concentrate on what I normally call: The Big World Cheeses.

Those cheeses are the popular cheeses from France, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, the Netherlands and England that most people know and have many imitations. Think of Brie, Camembert, Provolone, Mozzarella, Parmesan, Gruyere, Emmental, Manchego, Gouda, and Cheddar.

The lack of specialized cheese books in other languages is common. My friend Svetlana just filled this gap by publishing a compendium in Russian and I know that some of the judges of the World Cheese Awards are thinking of producing similar books in various languages. In my case, I am thinking that it will be great to write such book in Spanish for the Mexican and the Latin American market - so I am looking for a publisher (does anyone know anybody?)

I know that there is a desire for such book as some people involved with the American Cheese Society are looking to start a Mexican chapter of the organization and learn more from the cheesemaking of Mexico. I hope to be more involved with this project over the summer and hopefully get some Mexican cheeses to enter the World Cheese Awards competition this year in London.

But in the mean time, I would like to write here a little bit about Mexican cheeses. I have already written in this space about two of the Mexican cheeses from the southern state of Chiapas. Queso de Cuadro y Queso de Bola are both raw cow's milk double cream cheeses. They are tangy, salty and smooth. Almost like a goat cheese in texture but with the flavor punch of a sharp cheese.

Other cheeses produced in Mexico are: Quesillo from Oaxaca; Cotija of Michoacan; Queso de Poro made in Tabasco; Requeson common in central Mexico; Menonita, Adobado, Botanero y "Manchego" (Mexican Cheedar) from the north, and a stinky washed rind from Baja. Other cheeses made of goat's and sheep's milk are starting to be made in central Mexico, but still are single farms with generic names that could use support to improve on their cheese making techniques and decide on characteristics of their cheese.

In this most recent trip to Mexico, I have had "manchego," cotija and quesillo. In the next posts I will write about them, except for cotija. I have very little knowledge of this cheese, but I have a good friend who wrote a paper for the FAO about it and is doing a PhD on a related topic. I have asked Thomas to write a little post about cotija and I hope this will be the first of many collaborations for this blog.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone.

No comments:

Post a Comment