Puerto Rican Cheese / Queso del País

4 Aug

Every country has their signature white young cheese… Mexico has Queso Fresco… Greece has Mild Feta… Italy has Ricotta Salata… India has Paneer… I am sure there are many other examples out there. Here in Puerto Rico, we have Queso Blanco or what we also call affectiously – Queso del País… meaning made here, in THIS COUNTRY.

I love Queso Blanco… it’s a white, hence the BLANCO in the name, mild and almost bland cheese. The most famous brand is Indulac, whose factory is very close to where I grew up in Hato Rey, a section of San Juan. But most Quesos Blancos are made by smaller producers and many times sold on the side of the street when you go outside the Metro Area.

 

 

A few weeks ago I took a trip to Camuy, on the Northwest side of the Island, and had the chance to buy some great Queso Blanco made right there in Camuy. The Nortwest part of Puerto Rico is well known for its dairy farms and its milk… so it’s no wonder they make great cheese too.

My granddad was from Isabela, very close to Camuy and his favorite was Quesito de Hoja – sold wrapped in folds of paper, hence the name too. Unfortunately, I have not bought Queso de Hoja lately because for some reason they’re adding artificial colorants and the moment I read FD&C on a label, I longer need to continue reading and I leave the cheese right where I took it.

 

Now that you know about Puerto Rican Queso del País… I will share a few recipes where you can enjoy it. Don’t get me wrong… this cheese can be fully enjoyed right out of the package – with a slice of guava paste or on the side of a dulce de papaya. But there are a few other ways you can also enjoy this delicious cheese… let’s explore them next.

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12 Responses to “Puerto Rican Cheese / Queso del País”

  1. The Duo Dishes August 5, 2011 at 11:33 am #

    Guava paste for sure! So sweet and salty. Didn’t know queso blanco was specifically from Puerto Rico, which is really interesting. Great info.

    • KarmaFree Cooking August 5, 2011 at 2:00 pm #

      At least THESE Quesos Blancos are from Puerto Rico… I am sure most latin countries have their very own local version…

  2. Bren August 5, 2011 at 1:50 pm #

    i’m good with any young white cheese, especially Mexican and Italian. I’ve not had PR cheese which sounds good per your description. I remember the ride to my abuela’s house during my 1st visit to Cuba: there were cheese hustlers on the beaten side of the road selling it for pennies! We bought some and used it in just about everything! It was sooo good, I still remember 12 years later! I didn’t have any on the 2nd return trip. Feel free to send me any when you want! :) :)

    • KarmaFree Cooking August 5, 2011 at 2:04 pm #

      i don’t know how good they’ll keep in transit… let me think that one a but thru. In any case, you’re welcome to visit Puerto Rico and we could do a foodcrawl… game???

  3. Ruth December 12, 2011 at 9:06 am #

    Can we buy them online?

  4. Ruth December 12, 2011 at 9:09 am #

    Let me know if we can buy them online.

    • KarmaFree Cooking December 12, 2011 at 10:45 am #

      good question… Queso Blanco is so widely available here in Puerto Rico, that I have never had to look for it online. But a Halloumi cheese would work well subbing for Queso Blanco. Maybe even a Mexican Quezo Fresco. Good luck…

      • Sylvia Enid Valentin October 27, 2013 at 9:54 pm #

        Queso Panela is very very very similar to el Queso Blanco de hoja. Specifically from a brand called El Mexicano.

      • KarmaFree Cooking October 27, 2013 at 11:07 pm #

        Gracias por la información!!!!

  5. EDGAR December 11, 2012 at 11:35 pm #

    I’m from Camuy and you’re right…Queso Blanco from there is one of the best I’ve ever tasted.

  6. linares April 26, 2013 at 2:38 pm #

    I live in Nevada,where you can’t buy purto rican products such as queso blanco del pais.can I order it through La Isla magazine?or stores in n.y. thank you,please respond.

    • KarmaFree Cooking April 29, 2013 at 5:17 pm #

      I am not familiar with those websites where they sell Puerto Rican products, but if you can find Mexican queso fresco, it would be a nice alternative. Or a farmer’s cheese… It’s not the same, but it will be a nice substitute. If I can find any other resource on the web, I will certainly let you know. OK?? Madelyn.

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