Muy popular en diversas regiones del mundo, como Italia y Argentina, los quesos frescos o cremosos son una opción muy versátil en la gastronomía. Se pueden degustar tanto fríos como calientes y también se utilizan para fundir en platos como pastas y risottos. Sin embargo, para conocer más sobre este exquisito producto, es necesario responder algunas preguntas.
¿What is Fresh Cheese?
Fresh cheese, also known as soft cheese or cream cheese, is a type of cheese that is not aged or ripened like other cheeses. It is made by coagulating milk with the use of rennet or an acid, and then the curd is separated from the whey. Unlike aged cheeses, fresh cheese is not molded or pressed, and it has a high moisture content which gives it a soft and creamy texture. Fresh cheese can be made from different types of milk, such as cow, goat, or sheep, and it can be enjoyed on its own or used in various culinary preparations.
Fresh Cheese is a type of cheese that has been produced in different parts of the world for centuries, so its origin is difficult to pinpoint exactly. However, it is known that it has been used in the gastronomy of countries such as Mexico, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece for a long time.
In the Iberian Peninsula, queso fresco is very popular and is consumed in different regions of Spain and Portugal, where it is known by different names. For example, in Spain it is known as “queso blanco” or “requesón”, while in Portugal it is called “queijo fresco”.
In Mexico, queso fresco is a key ingredient in many Mexican dishes, such as enchiladas, tacos and tostadas. In general, it is believed that queso fresco has been an important part of the diet of many cultures around the world due to its ease of production and versatility in cooking.
Fresh Cheese is a soft, moist and mild type of cheese. Some of its characteristics are detailed below:
- Texture: queso fresco has a soft, creamy and moist texture, similar to cottage cheese or ricotta.
- Flavor: its flavor is mild and slightly acidic, with a salty touch.
- Color: fresh cheese has a white or light ivory color.
- Fat: Fresh cheese is generally low in fat.
- Production method: it is made with pasteurized milk and, unlike other cheeses, it is not ripened or cured.
- Versatility: queso fresco is used in many cuisines around the world to prepare savory and sweet dishes, such as salads, tacos, sauces, desserts, among others.
Fresh Cheese is a type of cheese that offers different flavors, from a slightly spicy taste to a rich cream. There are varieties with soft and creamy textures with a salty touch, and others that have a sour taste on the palate. These cheeses are unripened, so they are rindless and have a uniform consistency with no holes. Some milder types with high acidity and moisture melt easily, such as mozzarella and burrata.
Unlike feta, which has a sour taste, it does not dissolve even when exposed to high temperatures. Fresh cheese can be mixed into salads or served as an addition to cooking dishes to create a myriad of combinations and contrasts. Its easy-to-carry flavor can be enjoyed by everyone.
TYPES OF FRESH CHEESE
There is much diversity among the fresh cheese set. Their unique qualities offer pronounced flavor profiles but with mild aromas. As the name implies, these cheeses are best enjoyed fresh, within a few days.
Cream cheese is a variant of fresh cheese, with a soft and malleable texture, which brings a delicate and luxurious sensation to each dish. Its flavors are subtle, balanced with a slightly acidic note that makes it pleasant to the palate. Made from cow’s milk, it is often flavored with garlic or herbs to add a touch of spice to its mild composition.
It can be combined with pasta dishes, rye bread, and pairs well with intense white wines or wheat beers.
Feta cheese, originally from Greece, used to be traditionally made from goat’s and sheep’s milk. This cheese offers a distinctive flavor with sour and salty notes, and a creamy, slightly crumbly texture. Its flavors resemble the qualities of a dry wine, with a crisp, dry finish.
Feta pairs perfectly with fresh ingredients such as tomatoes, red bell pepper and olives, and can be served with a fruity red wine.
Mozzarella is an Italian treasure with a mild flavor, obtained from buffalo or cow’s milk. Its dense and elastic texture is accompanied by a mild aroma of rich cream. When fresh, it has a moist, velvety texture, and its flavor gradually mellows as it melts.
It can be enjoyed with tomatoes, basil, olive oil and red wine.
Burrata is a soft and balanced cheese with a unique texture that distinguishes it from Mozzarella. When cut, you can appreciate its creamy center that gently spills out from its soft rind. Its texture is smooth, fresh and offers a delicious sensory experience thanks to its combination of textures. It is a decadent and exquisite cheese.
It is perfect to be served with tomatoes, basil and olive oil.
Fresh Cheese Substitutes
There are several alternatives to queso fresco, which can be helpful if you are looking to reduce dairy intake or are simply looking for different options. Some substitutes for queso fresco include:
- Tofu: tofu is an excellent vegetarian and vegan alternative to fresh cheese. It has a neutral flavor and a smooth, creamy texture that makes it ideal for use in salads, sauces and dressings.
- Goat cheese: goat cheese is a soft cheese with a mild, tangy flavor. It is often used in salads and appetizers, and is a good choice if you like the taste of fresh cheese.
- Feta: Feta cheese is a white, salty cheese with a grainy texture. It is widely used in salads and Mediterranean dishes.
- Ricotta: Ricotta cheese is a fresh cheese of Italian origin, soft and creamy. It is commonly used in the preparation of lasagna, pasta and desserts.
- Cottage cheese: Cottage cheese is a soft, granulated fresh cheese. It is a common ingredient in Mexican recipes and can be used in place of queso fresco in salads and tacos.
Remember that substitutes for queso fresco can have a different taste and texture, so it is important to experiment to find the one that best suits your needs and preferences.