Word on the street is that cheese, specifically goat cheese, was brought to Latin America by the Spaniards and Portuguese. So while goat’s queso is far more frequently consumed by Europeans, especially the French, don’t let yourself sleep on Latino-made queso de cabra. This queso is on the more expensive end of cheeses, but in my humble opinion, it’s totally worth the splurge.
Ahhhhhh queso de cabra, otherwise known as goat cheese, is a superior cheese in my opinion. Growing up, my family and I would visit Venezuela once a year. This was typically during the Christmas or summer season when my sister and I had a break from school.
During these trips, we would hang out with extended family, go to the beach, and go sight seeing when possible. But the most memorable activity we would do on these trips was visit the farm de mis tíos.
Two of my tíos, Rafael and Gollo, shared a farm with chickens, horses, and best of all cabras (goats). They also co-own their goat cheese company which is called “Cerrito Chevre,” sold directly from our hometown de Paraguaná en Venezuela. To this day, their company sells queso all the way from Venezuela, making some of the tastiest cheese de cabra from the area.
Most of my memories of the farm are from when I was younger, so I’m sure there’s some childhood bias when I tell you those goats were loud! I don’t remember if we could hear their chatter from the car or if it was simply when we entered their area of the farm. Despite the occasional eardrum bursting from these cute animals, they’ve still managed to have my heart and are certainly one of my favorites, especially when it comes to the queso they make!
When I first tried queso de cabra as a kid, it really didn’t compare to any other cheese I had tasted in the United States; it was so much fresher, flavorful, and well, juicy, weirdly enough. Now I know you might’ve had some Blueberry Goat Cheese from the Trader Joe’s across the street and thought, “Eh this is good, but could pass off as cream cheese” or even “Snap! This is really good but I wish it was a larger block! This isn’t really worth the $7 for this tiny ‘lil thing.” So before you eeeevvvveenn get started, my tío’s queso is WAY better than that and actually worth the cost because of the size.
Back then, I remember we would try the cheese at the farm and there was always a truckle (that’s what a block of cheese it called, yes I totally Googled that to tell y’all about it) of queso de cabra in my Abuela’s fridge. At mi Abuelita Nanine’s casita, there would always be queso de cabra in a plastic baggy, tied off tightly so the goat’s milk remnants wouldn’t spill everywhere. My sister and I would constantly sneak into the kitchen to snag slices of quesito and it was always worth it.
In celebration of National Goat Cheese Day, maybe skip the Trader Joe’s cheese and shop at Cerrito Chevre from Venezuela or another Latino owned cheese-maker! If you would like to try some of mis tíos queso de cabra, you can order directly from their instagram @cerritochevre.