Author Topic: Queso in Southern Chile  (Read 678 times)

Offline Vaquita Loca

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Queso in Southern Chile
« on: October 26, 2012, 05:02:21 PM »

My name is Nico, currently based out of a little rural town named Quilanto in Southern Chile.
I'm a Chilean-American originally from Maryland who spent the better part of the last decade in Vancouver, BC.
Moved to a town called Frutillar about 10 months ago to work on a hospitality project where one of my first self-imposed missions was to find me some good local cheese.  And I did, love at first sight, buying from a newly started project called "M Quesos" and when my original plan fell through a few months back, I jumped on board with the cheese.
Now I help run (alongside the owner) a farmstead cheese company with about 150 Holsteins and a 5,000 sq. ft. production plant with a capacity of 3 metric tons daily... it's a little big for our artisan britches but a whole lot of fun.  Until six months ago I didn't know a washed from a bloomy rind.  But hey, sometimes you have to learn quick.
We specialize in making our own site-specific cheeses, our mission to make use of the characteristics of the local landscape and to avoid the Chilean tendency towards industrialized and "foreign-style" cheeses.  For the moment we make four varieties, mostly washed-curd, generally aged 6+ months, something almost unheard of here.  We have done remarkably well with the restaurants and gourmet crowd in Santiago, the capital city.
It's a blast almost all of the time... the local landscape is out of this world and we limit our production to no more than 100 kilos/daily, experiment all of the time, toy with all kinds of crazy ideas... and it looks like we're bringing in some goats next week.  And then there's the sales, distribution and logistics end of things which is challenging, like anywhere, but part of the battle. 
Our other reality is that in this part of the world there are very few people with the profile to help us out.  This country has a significant dairy and cheese indusry that unfortunately, specializes in a few low quality, mass produced cheeses.  And though we've done well, there isn't a world of experience behind us.
Found this forum while cheese hunting on Google the other day and it looks great.  God knows I have some cheese-related questions.  I'm happy to respond to to what I can if anyone is interested in what we're doing and for anyone close to this part of the world... we love to show off our cheese.
Lots of questions to come from my part.


Nico Rossel