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.