CHEESE
Cotija
Ko-tee´-ha
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Named after the town of Cotjia in the Mexican state of Michoacán, where it has been made for over 400 years. Cotija is a semi-hard, slightly aged, seriously tasty crumbler. If we had to compare it to another cheese, feta is the closest comparison. Both are salty and slightly acidic, yet flavorful cheeses that we love to eat cold or slightly warmed in or over soups, salads and other savory dishes. Another name for cotija is “queso anejado,” which means aged cheese, although it’s typically only aged for two months or less. We’re so happy this Mexican classic migrated north -- the universe of great cheese we’re blessed with in Wisconsin would never be complete without it.

Appearance

Ivory and usually in small blocks

Taste

Semi-hard, on the dry side and easy to crumble

Flavor

Fresh and salty with a very slight sharpness

7

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Performance Notes

If we have a busy week, we’ll often buy a couple blocks of cotija, and crumble the entire thing into a tightly lidded container. That way, we can quickly grab it from the refrigerator and use it as a tasty topper on a range of dishes.

Pairing Notes

If cotija is at the table, we recommend drinking spiked aguas frescas (cold, freshly made Mexican juices), Mexican lagers with lime, margaritas, and micheladas (slightly spicy Mexican lager plus tomato juice drink). Anything that’s light, citrusy or fruity teams up famously with cotija.

Serve

If there’s a crumbling of white cheese over a Mexican-American dish chances are high that it’s fresh and yummy cotija cheese. We like to top enchiladas, tostadas, chilaquiles and rellenos with it. We also love to use it in sopa de albondigas, which is Mexican meatball soup. If you’re whipping up a taco salad, we highly recommend crumbling some cotija on top.