17 Popular Brazilian Cheeses
While the Brazilian cheese industry isn’t as robust and doesn’t enjoy the same worldwide popularity as the giants of France and Italy, it is rapidly growing. It has also been gaining increasing recognition not only for the exports for regular consumers but also for winning more international prizes for high end, meticulously handcrafted cheeses by the year.
Let’s take a look at the great variety of cheeses deeply ingrained in Brazilian cuisine that go with every occasion, from serving with wine at a dinner party or as an snack on the beach!
1. Queijo Minas Frescal
The most popular 100% Brazilian cheese is Minas Frescal. it is widely consumed in every region of the country, mostly for breakfast accompanied by bread or eggs or served in thin slices as the main dish.
It is instantly recognizable, even before you first bite. It is very moist, has a soft, pudding-like consistency, and is highly appreciated for its smooth flavor. There is never a bad time for a bite of Minas.
2. Queijo Coalho
Because this cheese has a high fat content, it is probably best not to consume it every day. It is the favorite non-meat dish served at a Brazilian churrasco – typically, an outdoor barbecue enjoyed with friends and family at the weekend.
This cheese is served grilled and eaten between bites of meat. It’s salty flavor and unique consistency makes it one of the most popular cheeses in Brazil. You will find it grilled an served on sticks at most popular beaches.
3. Queijo Canastra
This cheese is officially considered part of the cultural heritage. It can only be found in the region of the Serra da Canastra, located in the state of Minas Gerais.
The unique climate, altitude, and crystalline water of the region give this cheese its strong, dense flavor, with a hint of spiciness.
4. Queijo do Serro
Another cheese officially considered oart of Brazilian cultural heritage has the nickname “white gold”. The name is very telling as it has a white, slightly yellowish color and is smooth flavored, with a hint of acidity.
Even though this cheese is wildly coveted and appreciated by Brazilians, the producers are resistant to taking it to full-scale industrial production as they fear they would not be able to keep the handcrafted flavor. This tradition is taken very seriously.
5. Meia Cura
This is the cheese that is usually used for the delicious pão de queijo. Its name, meia cura translates as “half cured”. It goes through a curing process of up to five weeks, giving it its a characteristic bright yellow color.
It has a mix of the characteristics of a fresh cheese and one that has had time to age. It goes particularly well with sweet desserts such as goiabada.
Serrano cheese is made with a traditional recipe and has a lot of history; records of it being produced go back to the 18th century. Even today, most of the Serrano cheese found at markets come from non-industrial, small producers.
Serrano cheese is produced using untreated milk, right after milking. It has a semi-hard paste, low moisture, an accentuated flavor and aroma, and a slightly buttery texture.
7. Ovelha das Vertentes
While cow’s milk cheeses are the most popular in Brazil, there is room for ones made from other animals, especially sheep. The Ovelha das Vertentes is produced in a tiny region in the state of Minas Gerais and is one of the highest quality cheeses that fill this niche.
It has a unique, distinct flavor that differs greatly from cow’s milk and is more commonly served as a main dish. Moderately salty with a hint of sweetness, each bite is a delicious experience.
Not exactly a cheese, this is more of a cream cheese and is sold in every Brazilian market in every region of the country. While you might be able to find a rare piece of solid requeijão cheese, it is mostly sold in a jar full of the strong flavored creamy paste.
The most common way to consume it is as a substitute to butter spread over the bread, but is also found in many recipes ranging from pasta to pancakes.
Tulha is produced at the Atalaia farm located in the state of São Paulo. It is easily recognized by its red crust. This cheese goes through a curing process that involves carefully aging the cheese for a whole year until it reaches the desired consistency and sweet flavor.
It is a great choice to accompany a glass of wine.
10. Azul do Bosque
This cheese is inspired by English Stilton. It has a very intense flavor and its amazing creamy texture melts in your mouth. It is made with goat’s milk and has received several best cheese of the year awards. It is an unforgettable cheese that is perfect served with wine.
11. Queijo Cuesta
Cuesta cheese is made by the renowned Pardinho, located in São Paulo. Cuesta cheese packs an intense flavor and complex aromas.
It goes trough a curing process that lasts eight months before it achieves its characteristic sweetened flavor. It can be surprisingly expensive, but if you can afford it, it is definitely a great choice.
12. Mimo da Serra
Mimo da Serra is a delicious cheese produced in the state of São Paulo. It is made from fresh cow’s milk and is a natural unprocessed pressed cheese matured in wood containers.
It has a thin, crunchy, gray crust with a moderate yellow color. It has a smooth taste and creamy texture.
13. Queijo Santo Casamenteiro
Santo casamenteiro cheese isn’t scared to use new ingredients for an incredible flavor. The recipe involves a cheese similar to gorgonzola, walnuts, apricots, and cream cheese.
It has received numerous awards, not only in Brazil but also in France, and with its surprising flavor it is a highly sought-after delicacy.
14. Queijo Colonial
A traditional chees from the state of Rio Grande do Sul, this is handcrafted, though easy to make, and cheaply available in the southern states of the country. The recipe includes just milk, salt, and yeast.
While it is a simple cheese, don’t underestimate the taste of this regional delicacy! It normally goes through a curing process of 1 to 3 months until it offers the soft texture and hint of spiciness it is famous for.
15. Queijo Serra do Salitre
Another cheese that gets its name from the name of the mountainous region in which it is produced. Serra do Salitre cheese goes through a different curing process, inside a black, thick resin. The result is a solid cheese and a great pick for those enthusiasts that enjoy the more acidic cheeses.
16. Queijo Marajó
Marajó cheese is made with buffalo milk on the island of Marajó. It has good elasticity, to the point that it can be spread on bread. It has a snow-white color and a sweet aroma that always draws people to it.
17. Queijo Manteiga
Literally, this is “butter cheese”. It is a bright yellow cheese made with fresh milk and is not matured. And it is “butter cheese” because butter is used, making it a very fatty cheese that is incredibly tasty and the favorite for using in sandwiches and on bread.