Cremas, drinkable yogurts, Cotija, oh my! California is the number one producer of Hispanic dairy products. What’s your favorite? After all, nearly half of consumers nationwide say that Mexican cuisine was the type of ethnic food most prepared in their household within the last month¹. Surprised? Let’s test your knowledge of Hispanic dairy products so you can get cooking rapido!
- What robust cheese has a great dry crumbly texture? Hint: You may have seen it sprinkled over soups, beans and salads. If you guessed Cotija, you are correct. This cheese is typically used as an accent cheese because of its versatile flavor qualities.
- This nutty white cheese is a California interpretation of a traditional Spanish cheese using cows’ milk. You may know it as a tasty table cheese or have eaten it on sandwiches. Whichever way Manchego is served, we know it and love it and California cheesemakers are making delicious varieties with California milk.
- Do you know what Hispanic-style cheese has a soft texture but does not melt when heated? This fresh cheese or Queso Fresco is perfect for stuffed dishes like chiles rellenos because the soft, creamy filling won’t spill out.
- Use this cheese as a substitute for Mozzarella because it is creamy and mild. Hint: It is known for its braided appearance and is named for a state in Mexico. Looking for a twist? Use it as a burger topping! That’s right, Oaxaca is a preferred cheese for quesadillas, queso fundido and tacos as well.
- This fresh cheese is comparable to a Ricotta because it is firm yet moist and softens but does not melt. Have a guess? Panela can be used on salads, with fruits, and can even be deep-fried and served with a fresh salsa. Viva Panela!
- Sour Cream, Crème Fraiche, and what comes next? This cultured cream has a mildly tangy flavor and also makes for a great pan sauce. Unsalted versions can also be whipped like heavy cream. Do you know your Cremas? They come in many varieties and are a rising star and chef’s secret ingredient
- Coconut, prune and apple, this delightful dairy product can be made into a dressing or consumed as is. Did you guess yogurt? Correct! Drinkable yogurts in unique flavors add an unexpected fruity flavor and sweetness to many dishes.
Tell us if you were able to name all your Hispanic Dairy products @RealCalifMilk or on our Facebook Facebook.com/RealCaliforniaMilk. For more Hispanic dairy inspiration, follow our Pinterest pages with input from our team of Latina Dairy Divas.
Want more? Check out what our Latina Dairy Divas have to say about using Hispanic dairy products and see below for a true confession from Nicole Presley of Presley’s Pantry about her love of Queso Fresco.
¹Ketchum Global Research and Analytics designed and analyzed this online omnibus survey fielded by Opinion Research Corporation from April 26 through April 29, 2012. The survey reached 1,006 consumers with a margin of error of +/- 3.1%.
CA Latina Dairy Diva Confesses Her True Love: Queso Fresco
Guest post by Nicole Presley, Presley’s Pantry
Our nation is a melting pot of many ethnicities. We each bring our flavor and culture to the dinner table. In a recent study conducted by the California Milk Advisory Board it seems that almost 50% of us enjoy preparing Mexican food in our kitchens. 50%! Wow! That's a lot of Queso Fresco. Are you wondering how to enjoy delicious Queso Fresco? Try making an authentic quesadilla using a corn tortilla and Queso Quesadilla, then make a side of rajas con crema for a meal so unforgettable you'll be thrilled you discovered it. Or try crumbling a chunk of Queso Fresco on top of refried beans for a taste of Mexico. I also like to use Queso Fresco in my enchilada casserole. I absolutely love stuffing chile rellenos with Real California Hispanic cheese. Try it.... simply divine. It also works as a prefect garnish on hard tacos, or sliced into a soft taco. Mmmmmm. On those cold days when I have a bowl of chicken tortilla soup or fideo sitting in front of me, I will chop up pieces of Panela cheese and add it to my serving. Oh QUESO FRESCO how I love thee!