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I recently visited Colombia in South America and I'm trying to recreate one of their traditional delicacies.

They give you a lovely thick cup of hot chocolate and together with a few slices of cheese. The idea is you break up the cheese and put it into your hot chocolate. The cheese melts partially and you can then eat it with a spoon.

It sounds quite strange, but actually tasted great.

My question is, that I'd like to try to find the same cheese to make it (in the UK). I've heard that mozzarella is the closest, but it doesn't melt in the same way.

The only Colombian cheese I have found is called Queso Compasigna, which means country/rustic cheese). I believe they have another type of cheese, specifically for dipping in hot chocolate. I'd like to know what cheese it is, possible where to buy it or if not how to make it?

Any ideas if its made with cows or goats milk or what sort of manufacturing process it uses?

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After a bit more investigation, it may be called "Queso Blanco", but the cheese need should melt when placed in hot things, but not sure this one does... –  peter.swallow Jan 28 '13 at 13:03
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4 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Queso Blanco just means "White Cheese", which is kind of a catch-all term many locals use for simple cheeses. What is meant by Queso Blanco will likely change from region to region even within Columbia, and the chances of you being able to find it in the UK are pretty unlikely. Most imported Spanish cheeses tend to be the high-quality, specialist ones.

You haven't put what the cheese actually tastes like in your post, so I am assuming it was most likely pretty mild and it is the texture of it that really floated your boat. When I think soft, mild cheese I usually think cows milk, not sheep or goat, although there may be non-cheese alternatives as well in the following list:

  • Panir may work for you, it's soft and will get softer, also pretty mild flavor
  • Tofu: ok, not cheese but texture-wise a soft tofu may work great, and the flavor will work with chocolate pretty well.
  • UK white cheese: any major UK supermarket has a white cheese on sale, usually cheap, usually flavorless. Could be worth a try
  • Curd cheese: this is probably what would be called cottage cheese in the US. It's pretty liquid but if you drained it and compacted it you'd get a crumbly, easy-melting cheese

Let us know how you get on, I'm dying of curiosity!

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Rather than "curd cheese" (e.g. cottage cheese), it might actually be cheese curds. We put these in poutine here and, much like the description in the question, they melt partially but not all the way when exposed to hot gravy. –  Aaronut Jan 28 '13 at 13:43
    
Good stuff Poutine, it'll take a year of your life away because of the cholesterol, but it's worth it. I've never seen cheese curds in the UK though, not in the US/Canadian sense, they just aren't on the market. –  GdD Jan 28 '13 at 13:46
    
Great suggestions...!I can't exactly remember what the cheese was like, other than it was quite mild. Someone else mentioned it might be called "Queso doble crema", which is again fairly general translating as double cream cheese...not sure what the closest cheese would be to that...? –  peter.swallow Jan 28 '13 at 14:13
    
Ah, this is the Colombian version: alpina.com.co/productos/queso-doble-crema Know I just need a recipe how to make this... –  peter.swallow Jan 28 '13 at 14:51
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I'm colombian, and yes, Queso Doble Crema is the one. :) –  user17778 Apr 11 '13 at 2:15
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My parents were both born in Bogota and my mother always used (and I continue to use) Muenster cheese. I don't know if this equates to the traditional "Queso Blanco" used in Colombia but I like it and have never tried any of the other cheeses mentioned.

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My mother is Colombian, but has spent the last 30 years of her life in rural Pennsylvania USA. She prepares traditional Colombian chocolate in a aluminum "chocolatera" with a molinillo. This is her method:

She first brings about 2 cups (about 8 - 10 oz) of water to a boil, with about 3-4 bars of Colombian chocolate bars (Sol, Luke...) and 1-2 cinnamon sticks. As the mixture works up to a boil, with both hands she vigorously spins her molinillo inside the chocolatera. Once it boils, she adds 2 cups of milk. She continues to vigorously rotate the wooden molinillo to make good froth. When the mixture comes to a boil a second time and the froth nearly rises to the top of the chocolatera, she immediately shuts off the flames (or removes the pot from the heat). Then she returns it to the heat two more times to let the froth rise with the boil. It will do so almost immediately upon returning the pot to the heat so pay attention. This makes for a superior froth. After the third boil/froth rise, turn off the heat and let the chocolate cool for 5 minutes or so.

As for the cheese part of your question: Pour your chocolate into the mugs. Add 4-5 pieces of muenster cheese diced into square centimeters to the mugs. Enjoy it with toasted bread. I like Italian or a slightly sweet bread like challah. Viva Colombia!

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I am Colombian, we make this every Saturday morning in the States. Just use fresh mozzarella, as this is what we often use in Colombia! Another good one is fresh queso blanco like what is used in Mexican food. Good luck! P.S. For an authentic Colombian breakfast make arepas!

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