Sponsored: Mexican Menu Tip: Top Quality Cheese Makes the Difference

Cheese is an essential ingredient in many Mexican dishes, and using a top quality authentic cheese makes any dish better.

“Mexican restaurant customers truly appreciate a dish that contains authentic quality Mexican cheese,” says Arturo Nava, marketing director for Hispanic Cheese Makers, based in Chicago. “They can tell the difference.”

Hispanic Cheese Makers-Nuestro Queso was founded in 2009 as Nuestro Queso. The founders recognized that the growth in the Hispanic population and the Latin influence on American culture was creating a growing demand for high-quality Hispanic cheese. Since then CEO Mark Braun has led the way to building a state-of-the-art cheese manufacturing facility in Kent, Illinois to meet that growing demand.

An important characteristic of the factory is that it has achieved the Safe Quality Food (SQF) level 3 quality certification, which means it meets the most rigorous safety and quality standards in the industry. The SQF program ensures restaurants and other buyers that Hispanic Cheese Makers products have been processed, prepared and handled according to the highest possible global food safety standards.

“The owners invested a lot of money in this factory and the equipment, and they continually improve it,” Nava says. “And we only use RBT-free milk in all of our products.”

The result of this meticulous effort is a line of high quality authentic cheese that has won 15 medals in the U.S. Championship Cheese Contest, American Cheese Society Competition, and the World Championship Cheese Contest in recent years.

Extensive Line

The production line-up at Hispanic Cheese Makers covers every segment of Mexican, Caribbean and Central American cuisine.

For example, the company’s Cotija sales have been growing rapidly.

“Cotija is on fire,” Nava says. “It’s been added to the menu in Latino dishes such as elotes, enchiladas, chilequiles, and also other cuisines. It’s very similar to Parmesan, but zestier, and we make the best in the country.”

Another category that has seen expanding sales is Hispanic melting cheese, Nava says. For example, the semi-soft Queso Oaxaca is highly popular because of its stringy melting characteristics and great taste; consumers look for it in both its traditional ball form and increasingly in a shredded format. And the company’s quesadilla cheese is perfect for quesadillas, enchiladas, and other dishes that require a creamy delicious melting cheese.

Para Frier cheese, which can be pan fried or deep fried, is widely used in Puerto Rican, and Dominican dishes, as are the company’s Blanco cheeses.

To round out the line, Hispanic Cheese Makers also produces fresh crumbling cheeses, such as the Fresco and Panela. Queso Fresco is the most popular Hispanic cheese in the US for good reasons: It is a fresh semi-soft cheese that is slightly salted and creamy with a mild smooth flavor. It crumbles easily and is perfect for many Mexican dishes or as an appetizer or ingredients in salads.

Aside from the cheeses Hispanic Cheese Makers also offers Mexican and Central American cremas to their customers.

“The cremas are used as garnishes and in many Latino dishes such as enchiladas, tacos and chilaquiles,” Nava explains. “The cremas have a tangy, creamy taste, so they’re different from mainstream sour cream.”