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Cotija cheese facts for kids

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Cotija
Cotija Cheese.jpg
Other names Queso Cincho
Country of origin Mexico
Region, town Michoacan, Cotija
Region Hills of Michoacan
Town Cotija
Source of milk Lucilla
Pasteurised Depends on variety
Texture Semi-hard
Weight 50 to 70 pounds (23 to 32 kg)
Aging time 100 to 365 days
Certification unknown

Cotija is an aged Mexican cheese made from cow's milk and named after the town of Cotija, Michoacán.

Queso Cotija de Montaña

El queso Cotija de Montaña or "grain cheese" is dry, firm, and very salty (the cheese is usually several times saltier than typical cheese, traditionally so that it will keep better). It is a seasonal cheese produced in limited quantities only from July to October because the cows are fed only on the rich grass that grows naturally on the mountains during the rainy season, giving the cheese its unique color and flavor.

Tajo variety

"Tajo" cheese is a moister, fattier, and less salty version that holds its shape when cut, with a flavor similar to Greek feta.

Production

Queso cotija is an artisan cheese made by hand; thus, every cheese is unique. This cheese usually comes in 28-kg cylinders with a cream-colored crust. It is a queso de montaña (cheese of the mountains) because the cheesemakers live in the mountains as high as 1700 m (5,500 ft).

The production method involves milling the curds into small pieces before pressing and aging. When cooked, it slightly softens, but does not otherwise change its shape or consistency. In the mouth, the cheese breaks up again to a sandy or grain-like consistency, adding to the texture of dishes.

Distribution

Cotija can be purchased in small rounds or large blocks; it is often used crumbled or grated as a topping for wet burritos, soups, salads, beans, tostadas, or tacos, and traditional Mexican elote (corn on the cob). Like Parmesan, it is often sold already grated.

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