The Cheese Shop

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One of the most mysterious and auric cheeses for those from São Paulo is the cheese from Serra da Canastra, from Minas Gerais. “I never saw, nor ate, I only hear about it” as our dear Zeca Pagodinho would say in relation to the infamous and little eaten caviar. Everywhere in the city there is talk of such Canastra cheese and little and rarely is found, since a 1958 law prohibits the marketing of cheeses made with raw milk outside the state in which they were produced, unless they have more than 60 days of life. Well, the cheese arrived in SP, but it disappeared on the same day. This is the case for so many other national cheeses that do not circulate in Brazilian territory due to this legal limitation.
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The pleasant surprise for those who live in São Paulo is A Queijaria, an initiative by Fernando Oliveira, a store entirely dedicated to national cheeses, which completes a little more than a year.
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Located in a charming corner of Vila Madalena, it is a real delight for the eyes and palate of lovers of Brazilian cuisine and culture. There are around 50 types of Brazilian cheeses, as far as I can count, and certainly almost all must be new to the taste of those who taste. Despite having a small part of French cheeses made by a French woman who lives in Brazil, all the rest of A Queijaria is oriented towards the artisanal manufacture of Brazilian cheeses.
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We sat down, talked to the seller, who explained a little about each cheese and offered us to try many of them. What was just a curious visit turned into a late afternoon washed down with Wäls craft beers, many cheeses, customers who were arriving, picking up their glass of wine at Mendozitos (wine kiosk attached to the Cheese Shop) and falling into the community conversation and an account with many different cheeses brought home (be careful!)
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I didn’t know most that I brought home, except for Serra da Canastra, but I also don’t remember the name and what was it, because we put everyone on the table, called some friends and smeared ourselves with these cow and goat delicacies .
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The only thing I’m sure of is that I’m going to go back, buy a few different ones, have a few more beers and repeat this cycle whenever I can.
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The next time you think about going to the grocery store that has some mountains in the logo and buying a brie and feeling well taken care of, turn around in your mind, go to Vila Madalena and stuff yourself with artisanal Brazilian cheeses. I guarantee you, they are WELL better!
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POST AND PHOTOS BY PAULO CUENCA
For more information about A Queijaria, click here!

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