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.*
* 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, 10:40pm, edited 1 time in total.
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.