Bola de Ocosingo, from Chiapas, Mexico
Rating: 5 out of 5
This is a cheese I was CRAZY excited to try. The Bola de Ocosingo is a cheese from Chiapas, Mexico, and is mostly made by small co-ops or farmsteads in the region. It is not available in the United States (yet!! hopefully someday!), but I was fortunate to be able to get a little ball from Jessica Fernández, a super cool cheesemonger from Mexico. She works with Lactography, and knows all kinds of great info about Mexican artisan cheeses and when she came to visit New York, I asked her to bring me something, anything, cool and curdy from her home country. And she delivered!!
This cheese is SO unique – unlike any cheese that I’ve ever eaten before! On first inspection, it is sort of reminiscent of a Caciocavallo bell, but it’s flavor is totally unique. It is made with raw cow’s milk, from cows who are bred to endure the climate of the region, and so it can only be made in the Chiapas region. The flavor of the cheese is difficult for me to describe, it is lactic, and salty, and also a bit fruity – almost tropical. I didn’t even get many photos of it because I was busy using it up! I used crumbled it up and made a picadillo, which was fantastic, and I made cajun-seasoned chicken and cheese quesadillas with it, AND I cooked it with eggs and potatoes for a breakfast scramble. It was great in everything and my only regret is that I only had the 1 ball.
PROS: Super unique, very versatile, super flavorful, and just cool!
CONS: Not available in the USA yet 🙁
OVERALL RATING: 5 out of 5.
OTHER FACTS: The rind you see on the exterior is actually another layer of cheese – a low fat cheese akin to string cheese, which is wrapped around the ball and creates an edible rind! The cheese is then ripened for a minimum of 28 days.
If you’re planning a trip to Mexico any time soon, definitely make sure to get your hands on a ball of this cheese, and if not, join me in hoping it someday soon becomes available here in the USA, because this wonderful little cheese DEFINITELY has a place behind our cheese counters. In the mean time, check out Lactography and follow Jessica on Instagram (@mexicanmonger) if you want to learn more about cheese in Mexico. And stay tuned here for another super unique international cheese review next month!
Look at that texture!