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Oaxaca cheese facts for kids

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Quesillo
Quesillo de Oaxaca.png
Other names Quesillo de Oaxaca, Oaxaca cheese
Country of origin Mexico
Region Oaxaca
Source of milk Cow
Texture Semi-hard

Oaxaca cheese (Spanish: queso Oaxaca) (English: /wəˈhɑːkə/ wə-HA-kə), also known as quesillo, is a white, semihard cheese that originated in Mexico. It is similar to unaged Monterey jack, but with a texture similar to mozzarella or string cheese.

History

It is named after the state of Oaxaca in southern Mexico, where it was first made. The string cheese process (pasta filata), originally from Italy, which is used to produce mozzarella, was brought to Mexico by the Dominican friars that settled in Oaxaca. As water buffalo milk was unavailable, they used cow's milk, instead. The cheese is available in several different shapes.

Production

The production process is complicated and involves stretching the cheese into long ribbons and rolling it up like a ball of yarn using the pasta filata process. Another cheese made with this method is mozzarella.

Uses

Queso Oaxaca is used widely in Mexican cuisine, especially in quesadillas and empanadas, where the queso Oaxaca is melted and other ingredients, such as huitlacoche and squash flowers, are added to the filling.

Outside Mexico

Oaxaca cheese is often confused with asadero (queso asadero), a cheese produced in the northern state of Chihuahua. They are similar in texture, but they are produced with different methods, making Oaxaca cheese more moist.

In Costa Rica, it is known as Queso Palmito. The name is due to the similarity to the stringy consistency of heart of palm (palmito), and it is produced in the San Carlos and Zarcero cantons of Alajuela Province.

In Nicaragua and El Salvador the cheese is known as Quesillo.

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