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#1
Posted July 13th 2004, 6:55pm
I got some at Morelia's and it's a wonderfully pungent grating cheese made from cow's milk. The cow part was all I could get out of the deli guy, given my bad Spanish. But it has an interesting flavor/smell.

Babelfish translated sincho as "sincho"; no help there.

Google turned up all Spanish sites until I added the word "cheese", then it turned up nothing. Anyone?
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#2
Posted July 13th 2004, 7:41pm
Well here's a place in Venezuela that serves it - http://www.buscacaribe.web1000.com/cuisine/cachapera/.

It seems that "sincho" is similar in meaning to "llanero" which is a word to describe what we'd call a cowboy. So I would think it's "cowboy cheese". I'm really hoping someone else out there has some more info.
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#3
Posted January 9th 2005, 12:47pm
Queso de Sincho

Yesterday evening I stopped by one of the local carnicerias to pick up a couple of pork chops. The carniceria I visited is called El Becerrito ('The Calf') and stands on the eastern side of Western Ave. between Polk and Taylor. At the meat counter I noticed a newly posted sign announcing the availability of queso de sincho and as the shop's proprietor was weighing and wrapping up the chops, I asked him about this cheese. The information I got from him and subsequently have gotten through internet searches only goes a little bit beyond what MM and DK have already mentioned above but may be of interest to them and others.

First off, the name appears to be properly queso de sincho rather than queso sincho, so then sincho seems to be a noun rather than an adjective, but what the precise meaning is I could not find. As DK says, the term queso llanero seems to apply at least to some degree to cheeses that also can be called queso de sincho. Cheeses referred to by both names are, so far as I can tell, a commonplace in Venezuela. According to my friend at El Becerrito, this cheese is made throughout Mexico, though I have no idea whether that same name is equally widespread. Internet searches in Spanish gave a few instances of the name being used in non-locatable texts from Mexico. In the case of the specific cheese I came across, the point of origin is the state of Guerrero, and it was imported in the form of a large wheel kept back in a cooler out of sight from the public space of the carniceria. Being an imported cheese, it is a relatively very expensive item in this store, as the proprietor of El Becerrito rather apologetically explained, costing about $8/lb.

According to my source, queso de sincho is, as MM indicated and flavour bears out, made of cow's milk. It is aged to a hard, slightly crumbly texture and is, not surprisingly, rather salty and well suited to being used as a grating cheese. The flavour of the specific cheese I bought was, however, also rather sour and eaten simply in chunks not likely to become a great favourite of mine. But the owner of El Becerrito himself had told me that, while eaten that way it was good, this queso de sincho is best consumed in a fried state. Following his advice, I fried a couple of slices (though slightly crumbly, it does hold together well enough to be cut in slices) in a pan with a little olive oil. Amata and I ate the slices just wrapped in pieces of tortilla and agreed that in this state, the queso de sincho was indeed very tasty and to my palate much nicer than in the raw state. Specifically, the pronounced sour element was somehow vastly reduced in the frying.*

Antonius

* Why that happens, I do not know, but the same reduction of sourness was also observed by us when we fried slices of a slightly turned Syrian fresh cheese we recently bought. Perhaps it is merely a question of the frying process causing caramelisation and the sweetness taking over, but the effect is not one of sourness masked by sweetness as much as reduction of sourness.
Last edited by Antonius on March 1st 2005, 11:40pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Alle Nerven exzitiert von dem gewürzten Wein -- Anwandlung von Todesahndungen -- Doppeltgänger --
- aus dem Tagebuch E.T.A. Hoffmanns, 6. Januar 1804.
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#4
Posted January 9th 2005, 1:24pm
Antonius,

Thanks for helping to clear up one of my many food-related mysteries! I think the cheese I got at Morelia was slightly less than $8/lb., though I find it humorous that the proprietor was apologizing for this, as I have no problem paying $15-20/lb. (locally) for good cheese.
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#5
Posted January 9th 2005, 2:23pm
Michael:

I agree: $8/lb really isn't that much for an imported specialty cheese; indeed, now domestic Munster costs almost that in the big groceries.

The apologetic tone of the proprietor of El Becerrito was probably motivated in part just by the fact that most foodstuffs and especially Mexican foodstuffs in his store are relatively cheap or very cheap and in part also perhaps by his sense that the relatively high price of the imported cheese might dampen my enthusiasm for the item I was inquiring about. El Becerrito is nothing more than a barrio grocery of the humble sort, having some real virtues and a few problems too (e.g., tired vegetables due to slow turnover), which I can usually circumnavigate without too much trouble. I suspect Amata and I are the only regular non-Mexican customers who actually buy Mexican products there and not just Twinkies, potato chips and soda, and I am always treated in most friendly fashion by the owner and staff. I think my interest in the queso de sincho will only further strengthen my status there as welcome curio as well as welcome customer. I really enjoy the personal relationships one can build in such small businesses.

Thanks for the original post and bringing this cheese to LTHers' attention. Do you know or could you find out what state the queso de sincho sold at Morelia is from? Also, where is that store?

Antonius
_______________________________________

Alle Nerven exzitiert von dem gewürzten Wein -- Anwandlung von Todesahndungen -- Doppeltgänger --
- aus dem Tagebuch E.T.A. Hoffmanns, 6. Januar 1804.
________
Na sir is na seachain an cath.
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#6
Posted January 9th 2005, 3:49pm
Just a further note about El Becerrito, the closest food store to us in our neighborhood:

Veterans of the Westernathon may remember El Becerrito as the place where they stood around eating barbacoa de chivo and chicharron, across the street from and a little north of the Western Avenue Shrimp House. This was in March of 2003, before my Chowhound time, but I read about the whole overwhelming Western Avenue experience in this post by Mike G and the subsequent followups.
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#7
Posted January 9th 2005, 9:37pm
Antonius,

I live nearby Morelia and am there about once a month, although I haven't seen this cheese there since. I will make a note to seek it out on my next visit.
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#8
Posted January 10th 2005, 10:39am
This is a rather timely revival of thread for me. When in Tulsa over the holidays, I was at a nice Mexican market and noticed queso de sincho for sale. The name struck me as unfamiliar, and I meant to look into it, but promptly forgot.
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#9
Posted January 10th 2005, 12:13pm
Aaron Deacon wrote:This is a rather timely revival of thread for me. When in Tulsa over the holidays, I was at a nice Mexican market and noticed queso de sincho for sale. The name struck me as unfamiliar, and I meant to look into it, but promptly forgot.


Which reminds me:

I can never mention enough, how (perhaps the best) source for Mexican cheeses is the flea market. For instance, there is a stand at the weekend only flea market at Divison/Cicero that has all sortsa Mexican cheeses as well as mole mixes, membrillo and other good stuff to eat. They are VERY generous with the samples, so you can really educate yourself on Mexican cheeses. The sampling works great as we always over order and never finish what we've bought. It is a very good reason to go to the flea market.

Rob
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