Cotija. In 2013, it was all the rage in the Southern California food truck scene. One year later, I can attest that it still tastes delicious.
Named after the town of Cotija between Mexico City and Guadalajara in central Mexico, Cotija cheese bears resemblance to a dry version of Feta. Yes, the “C” in “Cotija” is capitalized. Traditionally made in the summer from milk of cows that graze on rich highland grasses, it’s now commercially made, in this case from part-skim “Grade A” cow’s milk.
Cacique Cotija is a salty, firm cheese. When opening the package, you’ll notice a pointed, yet not overpowering aroma from the ivory-white pressed curds. It’s packaged awkwardly so once you open the plastic, you’ll have a tough time storing it with any of the package remaining. I stored it in a plastic bag, wrapped in waxed paper and it crumbled everywhere. I haven’t discovered a good way to store it. If you know, holla at me.
Its textural contribution to your mouth is the crumbly, almost grainy feeling that persists throughout chewing.
The flavor is in between Feta and Parmigiano Reggiano. It’s slightly tangy but clearly bold, dry, and aged.
$3.49 for 10 ounces.
Don’t buy pre-crumbled Cotija. It shares the same slightly-uncomfortable texture as pre-grated Parmesan. Don’t do it!
Verdict: I’d prefer a cheese made from more sustainable milk. But given the choice between Cacique Cotija and no Cotija, I’ll take Cacique all day. You can do much worse.
How to Enjoy
- Crumbled or grated on top of many Mexican dishes
- Not melted, because it doesn’t do that.