After burning out on corporate life, I decided to follow my passion and make cheese, starting Gringa Dairy and selling the first queso fresco made at my urban dairy in April 2013. The journey to make the cheeses of Mexico has (and continues to be) a joyful one and I am thrilled to be hearing from a growing number of Mexican chefs and expats how authentic they find my products to be! It is a honour to be bringing something of a cuisine I love and respect to the UK.
Our milk comes from Whiteheath Farm in Middlesex. While we are making our cheese in an urban environment, I can’t shout enough about the importance of understanding where our food comes from and supporting British farmers!
All my cheeses are made by hand using pasteurised milk from a single farm located less than 25 miles from our dairy.
- Queso Fresco is a fresh, crumbling cheese that is less salty than feta and less dense than halloumi (but can be used like either). It is mild and used in a huge number of Mexican dishes.
- Queso Chihuahua is a melting cheese (also called mennonita as it was brought to Mexico by Mennonites) and is thought to be one of the cheeses that inspired Monterey Jack in the USA.
- Queso Oaxaca is much like a “farmier” mozzarella. It is believed this cheese was brought to Mexico by Italian immigrants and, over time, it morphed into the lovely, absolutely Mexican, cheese it is today.
- Queso Cotija is known as “Mexican parmesean”. A salty cheese used to garnish grains, salads and ever popular elotes.
One of the major challenges with making Mexican cheese in the UK is that many of the methods used in the traditional recipes are, alas, illegal (or so discouraged, they might as well be illegal) in this country. And even if we could,say, leave milk out overnight to acidify without being immediately shut down, the milk itself is still quite different. While the breeds of cows are pretty similar in the UK and Mexico, their diet in Mexico is primarily corn and overall quite dry. Our cows are fed on wet (and you know just how wet!) grass in the summer and silage in the winter. This makes a huge difference in how the milk tastes– so you can just imagine how enormous the impact is on the taste of the cheese! So, a lot of time and effort goes into crafting the “recipe” for each cheese to taste like it does in Mexico. Simply put, our approach is to blend traditional and modern techniques to make the most authentic tasting cheese available in the UK.
Is there a specific kind of cheese you would really like to see? Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As you would expect, our goal is to make delicious, authentic cheese. It is equally important to us to do this in a way that is ethical, sustainable and just plain nice. I am passionate about collaboration with other small businesses as well as fostering open and honest relationships with customers, suppliers and partners. We test all our actions against the rule of only operating in ways that sustain our planet, our communities and our strong belief in mutual respect and fair play. Oh, and we strive to have a big laugh at least once a day…
We have received a lot of assistance from Sustain to figure out how to dispose of our whey in a sustainable way (pun intended, of course) and we feed the lovely pigs at Priors Farm. We are also ardent supporters of The Pig Idea, a project driving to end the EU ban on feeding pigs catering waste.
We are extremely proud to have been granted SALSA + Cheese certification (supplier 5322) in April 2016!
Visiting the Dairy
We do not have shop or open hours at the dairy, so cash and carry must be arranged in advance. I can also arrange team building events or tastings on site. Please contact us at email@example.com.
Established and Aspiring Cheesemakers
We have benefited from the amazing openness in the UK cheesemaking community and want to continue the tradition! Please do not hesitate to reach out to arrange a visit or chat about cheese.
As for placements,we are hiring both dairy assistants and tasting event stars!! If you are passionate about cheese or cheesemaking, take a look at the job descriptions. I am also open to taking on interns. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org