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Cotija

Cotija
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  • Made from unpasteurized cow's milk

  • Country of origin: Mexico

  • Region: Michoacán and Jalisco

  • Family: Parmesan

  • Type: fresh firm, artisan

  • Texture: crumbly and dense

  • Rind: rindless

  • Colour: white

  • Flavour: salty, strong

  • Vegetarian: no

  • Synonyms: Queso Cincho

Cotija is a Hispanic-style cheese named after the town of Cotija in the Mexican state of Michoacán. This hard and crumbly Mexican cheese is made mainly from cow's milk.

When young, it is white, fresh and salty thus bearing immense resemblance to feta cheese. However, with ageing, it becomes hard and crumbly like Parmigiano-Reggiano. Its similarity with Parmesan has earned it the nickname "Parmesan of Mexico". The aged version of Cotija is referred to as "Anejo".

Cotija is made by hand and comes in cylinders with a cust of cream colour. This hard cheese slightly softens when heated but it doesn't melt or change its shape. It is used for grating on salads, soups, casseroles, tacos, tostadas and chilli. In Mexico, it is also widely used to enhance the flavour of many savoury dishes by mixing directly into the casserole or recipe. In the U.S. it is increasingly popular on pasta. It is typically shredded onto cooked foods, also in salads and with fruit.

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