Mexican cheeses are products that are authentic, in their textures, flavors, and in the variety of milk used to make them.
Mexican cheese is produced in most of the country, and Mexico is the tenth place in the world in cheese production.
The regions in Mexico that are known for having started to produce cheese were the Altos region of the state of Jalisco and the lake area regions in the states of Coahuila and Durango.
Regions of the states of Jalisco, Coahuila and Durango continue to be large producers of Mexican cheeses. Additionally, the states of Chihuahua, Oaxaca, Querétaro, Michoacán, Puebla, Tlaxcala, México, Aguascalientes, Jalisco, Guanajuato, San Luis Potosí, and Chiapas that are also producers of Mexican cheese.
Varieties of Mexican cheeses
Currently, there are between 20 to 40 varieties of cheeses recognized in Mexico. But the number of varieties made in Mexico is not certain. The same type of cheese may be produced in different regions of Mexico with a different name. Or a different type of cheese is called by the same name in different regions. Most Mexican cheeses are regional in nature.
In general, the different varieties of cheeses in Mexico are classified according to their type of milk, texture, region, or the time it takes to ripen.
Mexican cheeses are classified according to type of milk, texture, region, or the time it takes to age.
The popular varieties of Mexican cheese are mostly fresh cheeses, such as queso fresco, queso panela, and queso asadero.
The popular aged cheeses are Cotija and Chihuahua.
There are four Mexican cheeses that are unique to Mexico: Oaxaca, Cotija, Chihuahua and Manchego (Mexican manchego cheese preserves the name, but labeling must indicate it is made with cow’s milk.)
There are two Mexican cheeses that are protected by Mexican law. These are Cotija and Queso de Bola.
Mexican cheeses that have a collective trademark (Mexican Institute of Industrial Property) are: Cotija (the state of Michoacán), Queso de Bola de Ocosingo (Ocosingo, Chiapas), Queso de Poro de Balancán (the state of Tabasco) and Queso Crema de Cuadro (the state of Chiapas).
Most of the cheese made in Mexico is made with cow’s milk. Ten percent of the manufacture of milk in Mexico is dedicated to the production of dairy products. Mexican cheese is fresh and made with raw milk. Cheese made from goat’s milk is not common.
Mexican cheeses are manufactured in homes, farms, ranches, and large factories dedicated to the commercialization of dairy products. Cheeses produced in mass quantity are packaged and sold in supermarkets and large food markets. Major producers include Chilchota, Covadonga, Wallander, Esmeralda, and Los Volcanes. Grupo Lala is the largest producer of cheese in Mexico.
Mexican cheeses that are made in large volume are Chihuahua and Oaxaca.
Cheese is still made in homes in Mexico, and homes and small farms may produce handcraft cheeses. Usually, cheeses produced on small farms are of better quality.
There is an annual wine and cheese festival that celebrates the Mexico’s wine and cheese tradition. The Feria Nacional del Queso y el Vino, takes place annually in Tequisquiapan, Querétaro, at the end of May and beginning of June.
In November 2011, the World Cheese Awards contest, held in England, two Mexican cheeses (creamy sheep cheese and semi hard sheep cheese) were awarded silver and bronze medals.
It has become common to find Mexican cheeses and Mexican-style cheeses in supermarkets in the United States. Mexican cheeses are also becoming known in Europe.
Government of Mexico