Venezuela is the Latin American country with the greatest variety of fresh cheeses, having at least 30 different types of these, of which 60% are handmade.
Whether at breakfast, lunch, or dinner, Venezuelan cheeses are always present on our table, because their variety is so wide that it allows them to be combined with sweet or savory dishes, from a rich cachapa or accompanying a delicious arepa, to complement a good Creole pavilion.
Connoisseurs of the matter, assure that this is due to the diversity of places where cattle are raised in the country,
which would also come to be of different breeds and pastures, which allows having different types of
milk, cheese base and where these vary mainly in their texture and their degree of creaminess, highlighting mainly spun pasta cheeses: Guayanés, cuajada, telita and queso de mano; soft cheeses:
Palmita, Santa Bárbara and Palmizulia and hard and semi-hard cheeses: Llanero cheese, black shell, red shell, and year cheese, among many others.
Guayanes cheese belongs to the category of string cheese, which are characterized by being made mostly with cow's milk, although they are also made with buffalo milk, they are like mozzarella but differ in that they are made with milk raw, which means that they contain natural flora and do not need added lactic cultures.
Guayanes cheese is originally from the south of the country, mainly from the Bolívar state.
It is characterized by being a fresh cheese with a semi-hard texture, without the rind, made with raw, whole, or partially skimmed cow's milk.
With a mild milky taste, it is like hand cheese but has a higher degree of salt and a stronger flavor, which when fresh is so delicate that it can almost be spread. Ideal to accompany arepas, cachapas, and even alone.
Its firm flavor is impossible to forget, so much so that today there is not a restaurant or arepera in the country that does not include it on its menu.
Is one of the most popular cheeses in Venezuela. Its name is because in its preparation, once the milk is curdled, it is boiled, and by hand, it is shaped into a round cake.
The Queso de Mano is a creamy, juicy, smooth cheese, with the right amount of salt, made up of layers that one could separate with the hands or with the lips, and that was diluted on the tongue, filling the whole mouth with freshness.
It is obtained from the enzymatic coagulation process of whole or skimmed raw cow's milk.
The characteristic spinning in this type of cheese is achieved through the fermentation process of the sweet curd until it reaches "curd to the point", a characteristic property of spun pasta cheeses, which consists of forming threads when stretched when the curd is in the point is cooked in water at 90 ° C.
Ideal to accompany a delicious arepa or cachapa at breakfast or dinner, at lunch as a complement to a Creole pavilion, or at snacks by placing it on top of a popular Catalina.
Its origin dates from approximately the sixteenth century, when livestock was one of the most important in Venezuela, especially in the llano’s region, being the hand cheese produced in the Guárico state, one of the most popular in the country, although in other regions of the country they also manufacture it of excellent quality.
Curd cheese is another variety of string cheese, being the freshest type of cheese of all, and is so named because it results from the coagulation of the milk as soon as it begins to curdle and then it compacts. It is originally from the Venezuelan Andes. With a grainy texture, it crumbles very easily.
Its preparation consists in that when the milk curdles, the whey is separated to leave only the solids.
This curd is "broken" with the fingers and it is thrown into warm water to soften it; it is moved with a paddle until it becomes elastic and without lumps.
In ancient times, a piece of cattle stomach, precisely called rennet, was added to milk. In more modern times, a powder made with the same enzymes is used, which facilitates the process.
Palmita cheese is next to Santa Bárbara cheese, one of the main soft cheeses in the country.
It is a cheese traditionally produced in the northwest of Venezuela. Fresh in a natural rind and made with pasteurized grade A cow's milk, with a well-kept combination of cultures and rennet and an old-fashioned ripening process, this mild and slightly bitter cheese is a treat for the senses.
It is characterized by its particularly fluffy and chewy texture with many irregular holes in its paste.
It is low in fat and salt, firm in the shape of a block and that, like all Venezuelan cheeses, has a characteristic flavor, with a soft texture that releases serum when biting into it and makes a characteristic sound, which is why it is worth the popular name. of squeaky cheese.
As a table cheese, it can be served in a wide variety of dishes such as sweet plantains, arepas, bread, and can be used in the preparation of many sandwiches and salads. It is also combined with any white or rosé wine.
Llanero cheese is part of the Venezuelan daily diet, it is difficult to eat a corn arepa or a soft corn cachapa, without a good piece of llanero cheese, which is why it makes it an indispensable product on the Venezuelan table.
It is one of the main hard or semi-hard cheeses in the country, originally from the areas of the plains as its name indicates, it is a cheese of slightly hard consistency, with high salt content, perfect for grating, a faithful companion of arepas, empanadas, beans, or some spaghetti.
Due to its characteristics, it is in great demand in the plains of the country since it can be preserved for a long time with or without refrigeration.
Its preparation can be done in different ways: hard, medium-hard, and soft; This texture is determined by the time it lasts in the mold, where this type of cheese can remain compressed for many days, months, and even years, in what is known as the maturation and aging stage.