I thought I knew everything there is to know about Cacique and their beautiful products, until a few weeks ago. Let me start this story from the beginning, I’m getting ahead of myself. Okay… at the beginning of the year I was invited to come on board as an ambassador/regular contributor of recipes to the Cacique website. I gladly said yes, and a few short weeks later I was asked to come visit the Cacique plant in La Puente for an immersion event and plant tour along with the other ambassadors (pictured above). We started our morning with a wonderful tasting of yogurt smoothies.
I was most impressed with the pecan flavor, and the strawberry, and the pineapple….. Yes…. they have a serious variety of delicious flavors.
I must say the most heartfelt introduction came from the owners children Gilbert B. de Cardenas, and Ana de Cardenas-Raptis, as they unfolded their family history before us. It was very touching to hear their story of how their parents immigrated here from Cuba and had no idea how to make their way in America, barely spoke the language, and all they cared about was getting their young children fed. It was humble beginnings as a small company where their parents had to scrimp and save $1500 to start their family business and use to sell the cheese out of their car. With many years of dedication they have grown into the largest selling Mexican cheese company in the United States. It was with Walmart’s help that they became a national product. They truly are living the American dream and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house as Gil shared their journey with us. Thank you for sharing with us De Cardenas family.
Then the serious eating and tasting began. We sampled all the different varieties of cheese and cremas! I think I finished my plate before the tutorial even began. Then we got a serving of fried panela….. holy mother of cheeses… can you tell by the expression on my face how good it is (pictured below)?
Here are all the different types of cheeses we sampled and a brief description of their characteristic.
Panela: Crumbly curd style, all-natural fresh cheese, has a mild, milky flavor. When heated it will soften but not get stringy, and it has the magical ability to be seared into a golden slab without getting runny. It crumbles easily and is great to stuff jalapenos.
Cotija: Also known as the “Parmesan of Mexico.” It has a very robust flavor and crumbly texture. Some people use Cotija as a substitute for salt on savory foods. Use as a nice accent of flavor to your dish. It can also be fried and made into croutons.
Ranchero Queso Fresco: A high-moisture fresh cheese that can be crumbled, sliced, or cubed. It has a milky, buttery taste and it does not melt so it is a good cheese if you need it to hold its shape. It goes well with spicy flavors. Crumble it on top of soup, enchiladas, or vegetarian tacos!
Four Quesos Blend: The consumers asked and Cacique introduced their shredded cheese blends in bags. The blend combines four authentic, Mexican-style cheeses: Manchego, Oaxaca, Quesadilla and Asadero. It’s the only one of it’s kind on the market. I like to keep a bag in the fridge at all times for quick quesadilla making.
The rest of the afternoon was taken up with a tour of the plant and an array of different dishes made with Cacique products. I loved it all and was very thankful for the first hand look into how the cheese is made: Cacique 101! In case you’re wondering where you can find Cacique products…. I usually buy mine at Walmart, Ralph’s, Superior, or Albertson’s…. basically you can find the product anywhere and everywhere. Here is a product locator to help further.
Here is a small photo diary of our day.
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post between Cacique Inc and Society Culinaria. All opinions are my own. Thank you Cacique for the lovely parting gift and for an amazing day of product learning.