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Mexican Cheeses


ComputerGuy

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I use cotija as a substitute in recipes for parmesan. It's a little saltier, so I just cut back on any other added salt in the recipe. A ton cheaper than buying parmesan.

I use manchego as a substitute for mozzarella when making pizzas or lasagna.

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What is the Mexican version of sharp cheddar cheese? The American brands are expensive as are the what you buy in the cheese dept. at Superlake and Tonys Meat Marker.

There isn't one that I have found.

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I use cotija as a substitute in recipes for parmesan. It's a little saltier, so I just cut back on any other added salt in the recipe. A ton cheaper than buying parmesan.

I use manchego as a substitute for mozzarella when making pizzas or lasagna.

Me, too, on the cotija, especially when it gets a little older.

Although I discovered, after using manchego for about a year on pizzas, that getting a real mozz and cooking it until it starts to brown, changes the chemical composition of the stuff and brings out a flavour that manchego just can't. So I now pay more for the mozz in bags at CostCo. (I was buying mozz at WalMart, shredded, but it's not nearly the same thing as the CostCo variety.)

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I love the Oaxaca cheese that the vendor sells at the Wednesday tianguis - the guy with the glass fronted case who also sells tons of yogurt. It's the freshest and tastiest I've found. I have never found a Mexican cheese that was even vaguely sharp. I buy my sharp cheeses at Costco. One of the few American items I'm not willing to live without. They sell the Tillamook white extra sharp for a decent price, much cheaper than Walmart who has now started carrying it as well.

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Me, too, on the cotija, especially when it gets a little older.

Although I discovered, after using manchego for about a year on pizzas, that getting a real mozz and cooking it until it starts to brown, changes the chemical composition of the stuff and brings out a flavour that manchego just can't. So I now pay more for the mozz in bags at CostCo. (I was buying mozz at WalMart, shredded, but it's not nearly the same thing as the CostCo variety.)

I've never been a fan of mozzarella. I prefer cheddar on my pizza, but mix in some manchego.

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I substitute requesón for ricotta. When I make lasagna or eggplant parmagiana, I use half a kilo of requesón well mixed with two beaten eggs and about a cup of parmesan cheese (not the kind in the cylindrical green container, please!) to do what were the ricotta layers. Works like a charm.

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A couple of years ago, we attended a Gourmet Food Show at the World Trade Center in Mexico, DF. One of the most noteworthy exhibits was that of Rancho Santa Marina, in the state of Querétaro. They specialize in both fresh and aged European style sheep's and cow's milk cheeses of very high quality. Unfortunately for us, the distribution is limited, and we haven't found the products in Michoacán yet.

Rancho Santa Marina website.

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I am just learning about Mexican Cheeses. I think this is a great idea!

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Mexican cheeses of the same type (manchego, panela, queso fresco, Cotija, etc) are often very different depending on the brand. Even if there is no brand, one Cotija is frequently very different from another. Same with all types.

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If Costco has Cabot Cheddar, you gotta give it a try! It puts Tillamook in the shade.....

CABOT Chedars have won international prizes regularly and I have spent many a pleasant afternoon grazing their samples in the Vermont town of Cabot. To be fair, and because we were there, I have also sampled Tillamook cheeses in Tillamook, but went away very disappointed. There is no comparison at all.

Now, I am drooling in the keyboard again!

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Cabot is great cheese, so is Tillamook. It's not reasonable to suggest than anyone else's taste is the same at yours. I like the bigger variety of Tillamook and the fact that we can get it here. Remember, your taste is all in YOUR mouth and your palate never lies to you. Mine doesn't either.

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I think it's interesting that a thread titled "Mexican cheeses" is primarily a discussion about American cheddar cheese. :)

I think that is is because the answer to my question about a Mexican version of sharp cheddar is that there is none. How ironic that in a country where everything is so spicy their cheese is so bland.

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I'm quite pleased with the direction of this thread. As I said in my OP, no need to be a stickler about the precise topic. But let's get back to it anyway:

My fave place to get cheese is the shop beside the plaza in Chapala. They close on Wednesdays to set up a stand at the Ajijic tianguis. They also sell good quality honey at a reasonable price. There is also a truck that appears on Thursdays, I think, in a couple of places, and they sell fabulous versions of the cheeses.

I also find that the pre-packaged brand names are generally not as tasty as the open-market stuff, although I have no idea where a lot of that comes from.

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The mercado publico in Chapala has a place inside, and another on the exterior northeast corner, where you can find great assortments of cheeses any day of the week.

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As far as making cheese, I just found Cuajo(rennet) at Pharmacia Guadalajara. I found the website for Cuajo GuadMex last night. I sent a message and he suggested I look for it there. I'm glad to have found it. I'm just as interested in eating Mexican cheeses as I am in making cheeses. Maybe this should be a general/mixed cheese thread.

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I think that is is because the answer to my question about a Mexican version of sharp cheddar is that there is none. How ironic that in a country where everything is so spicy their cheese is so bland.

IMHO this is a misperception based on not seeing cheese in the context of the local cuisine. Processed American cheese is bland, but Mexican Cotija is intensely flavorful - ditto queso Oaxaca, requeson, the wonderful Camembert and goat's cheeses made in Guanajuato and others. Queso fresco and queso panela, probably the most common cheeses, are quite neutral, but that's because they're used either crumbled on top of flavorful foods (for questo fresco), or melted (for the panela) in something like a quesadilla that might contain a spicy meat stew in addtion to the cheese and/or be doused with intensely flavorful salsa.

Sharp cheddar is originally a British food that goes with hoppy ales, pickles and a whole bunch of other things that are about as far removed from Mexican cuisine as one can get. I love it, but it's easy to see why it's an obscure imported food here.

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