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Credit: Cacique
  • 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

  • Producers: Cacique

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

When the cheese is made, 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".

Traditionally, Cotija cheese was made with raw milk aged for three to twelve months. But the commercial productions add an enzyme to speed up the ripening process. This need for acceleration gives the commercial produce a slight change in flavour compared to the artisanal variety.

Since, Cotija cheese is very salty, strongly flavoured, firm and does not actually melt, 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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Top photos from Twitter

Jan 29, 2015
Shrimp and chorizo penne pasta w/spinach tomatoes ,corn and cotija cheese @NocheBrookhaven
Jan 28, 2015
Cayenne, aged cotija cheese, and lime mayonnaise. We are ready to prep our #StreetCorn for you. #Elotes
Jan 27, 2015
The many colors of dinner tonight, #porktenderloin with corn, black beans and #Cotija cheese!
Jan 27, 2015
wanted grilled cheese. only had a baguette and queso cotija #thestruggle
Jan 23, 2015
sf BOWL | coconut farro, spiced pork & beef, bell peppers, alfalfa sprouts, fried egg, cotija cheese, lime, cilantro
Jan 22, 2015
The sliced cotija cheese takes it to the next level. #foodporn
Jan 22, 2015
hippy BOWL | farro, bell peppers, garlic, onions, butternut squash purée, cotija cheese, avocado, and sprouts.
Jan 21, 2015
Breakfast tacos made with avocado, cotija cheese, and tofu! #goodmorning
Jan 20, 2015
Chickpea and quinoa stuffed pasilla peppers. Add cotija cheese and enjoy!
Jan 17, 2015
Shrimp stuffed with jalapeños & jack cheese, wrapped with bacon then grilled. Topped with verde sauce & cotija.
Jan 16, 2015
We love a good breakfast taco. Scrambled Egg Tacos with Cotija Cheese from @cookingandbeer.
Jan 16, 2015
Grilled Avocado Taco with corn salsa/salsa verde/creme fraiche/ cotija cheese garnished with micro cilantro! Yummmm
Jan 11, 2015
Don't forget Sunday brunch! The breakfast sope w/ ranchero sauce, chorizo black beans, cotija cheese & guacamole!!
Jan 09, 2015
#Picaditas for #FridayLunch! Rich red chile sauce, cotija cheese,veggies and crema on a corn crust. #UcantGoWrong!
Jan 08, 2015
Chicken Nachitos - Slow roasted chicken, black beans, american cheese, cotija cheese and...
Jan 06, 2015
Great way to start the day. Smoked salmon egg on cranberry eng. muffin topped w/ sriracha mayo basil & cotija cheese
Jan 06, 2015
At -- Snow is so much better in the form of cotija cheese
Jan 06, 2015
Snow is so much better in the form of Cotija cheese