Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

queso the Spanish for ‘cheese’, forms part of some names of cheese of Spain and Latin America. In Portuguese the word queijo plays a similar role.

The Spanish cheese manchego is often referred to as queso Manchego. The same applies to numerous other spanish cheeses. Other examples of the usage, from Latin America, are:

  • Queso Chihuahua is a famous Mexican cheese made by the Mennonite communities around Chihuahua City. Quesillo is the diminutive form of queso, for example the Mexican quesillo de Oaxaca, a soft and slightly acid cheese which melts well and is good in cooking.

  • Queso blanco (white cheese) is much used all over South America. It varies from country to country, but in general it is a fresh cheese made from whole or skimmed cow’s milk, crumbly in texture and rather heavily salted. If pressed to consolidate it, it is known as queso de prensa (pressed cheese). Some of this is aged until very hard and is used for grating.

  • Queso de crema is either a cream cheese, often used as a spread in place of butter, or a soft, surface-ripened cheese resembling brick cheese.

  • Queso anejo (aged cheese) is a dryish, salty, crumbly, Mexican cheese, made from skimmed milk and matured for six to eight months, which figures largely in Mexican cuisine, for example in enchiladas (see tortilla).