Cheese: Queso Fresco
Producer: Quesería Jiménez
Where: La Capilla de Guadalupe
This week I got a gift. A gift of cheese. A colleague who knew about my 52 Cheeses quest brought me something that came with a story. There are few things that connect people to their heritage the way food does, and all of us are familiar with the melancholy sighs bemoaning the absence of some real fill-in-the-blank. In the 1980, when I worked a lot with German tourists in the US, it never took more than about 8 or 9 days before my guests began to lament the quality of American bread, compared to what they like to call black bread. This was well before Whole Foods and in most of the country, burger buns, dinner and breakfast rolls and wonderbread were holding down the bread-fort.
My friend’s family members rejoice and think of a place far away in the old country every time they bite into the pleasant graininess of a soft white Mexican cheese they just call Queso Fresco. She brought me a piece, neatly packaged in a plastic bag to keep the whey from dripping all over my desk. The cheese, she announced, comes from Quesería Jiménez, an unassuming facility that could pass for any other industrial building safe for the cow picture on the door. I was unable to find anything but the streetview google image.
The quesería is in La Capilla de Guadalupe, and apparently, this modest town is home to the best looking women of Mexico. I am not googling that because lord knows what will come up in such a search. Capilla’s cheese is certainly worth the trouble and the risk – I am pretty sure that bringing it in to U.S. is frowned upon by the FDA. It is creamy, fresh, and not too salty. It melts to create splendid quesadillas which, I am told, is really what this cheese is made for. I enjoyed it just by the slice also, and I realize that I now have the old Playboy excuse if I were to ever travel to Capilla to see if what they say about the women is true: “I am only here for the cheese”, I will be able to claim.