Menonita is a very common Mexican semi soft cheese that is referred to by many names. The cheese is also called as Queso asadero, Queso menonita, Campresino Menonita, Oaxaca Cheese, Chihuahua cheese etc. The cheese is basically the same semi-hard cheese that is of Mexican origin and it is frequently used in Mexican cooking. The cheese is pale white in color, and has a semi hard texture and is provided in blocks or rounds of cheese.
History of Menonita Cheese
The exact history of Menonita is not known but most gourmands’ state that the cheese was first made by the Mennonites who lived in Chihuahua, Mexico. The first Mennonite settlers who came to Mexico were encouraged to settle in the northern parts of mexico to increase agricultural cultivation of the region. The Mennonites were expert farmers and extremely frugal and hardworking. They were also expert dairy farmers and they are still credited with the cheese. It’s not unusual to find stalls still in Mexico where the locals sell their cheese. The cheese is also called as Chihuahua as it was the first city colonized by the Mennonites who lived there. Now commercial production of the Menonita cheese is common all over Mexico and the entire world and it is a very popular cheese in Mexico.
Culinary Uses of Menonita
Menonita is a very easy cheese to use in cooking. Menonita is mild in taste to a mild cheddar or Monterey Jack but it is very commonly used in Mexican Fundido or fondue and other Mexican recipes.
Cuisines Using Menonita
Mexican cuisine does use the Menonita in quite a few of their local dishes. Another odd variation that is noted is that the local Mennonites who made the cheese included the cheese in their regional German-derived cuisines too. As a result, there are two distinct varieties of dishes that are prepared with the same cheese.
Popular Menonita Cheese Recipes
Menonita is a cheese that has an ideal melting point for cooking. As a result, there are several local recipes that use the cheese in their day to day cooking. A few of the more popular dishes include the following
- Queso Frito con Salsa de Epazote y Tomate Verde or fried cheese with epazote and tomatillo sauce
- Crema de Queso or local cheese soup
- Rajas con Queso or strips of chile with cheese
- Queso Fundido con Chiles y Champiñones or local Mexican cheese fondue
Apart from the local Mexican cuisine, the Memnonites of the region who were of german descent also had several recipes that included their own cheese.
- Mennonite German Summer Salad Recipe uses the cheese and is served with black rye bread
- Cuernitos Menonitas is another dish where baked horns of pastry are filled with the cheese
- Caldo de Albóndigas or chihuahua mennonite meatball soup may have the cheese in the meatballs
Nutritive Value of Menonita Cheese
Menonita has a very high fat content of 51%-55% and this makes it a very melt-able cheese. A single slice of 100 gms of Menonita will have about 105 calories. This cheese is also exceptionally high in calcium and phosphorus
Menonita Cheese Buying/Storing Tips
Menonita can be bought online but it comes in two varieties. The fresh variety has a milder nuttier flavor while the older aged version is sharper in taste. The cheese is available in different forms and under different names due to its commercial production by different factories in Mexico.