The History of Costa Rica’s Palmito Cheese

Anyone who reads my blogs is bound to notice that I love to write about the country’s culture, especially its variety of delicious foods.

One rewarding experiences for expat retirees living in Costa is the opportunity to savor the country’s many tradition foods. One such food is Palmito cheese. It is usually sold in round balls that are about the size of a softball and consists of different layers which can be peeled off. Probably the closest thing we have in the States is “string cheese.”

As the story goes Palmito cheese was originally created in Cutris which is one of the 13 districts of the Cantón (like a county) of San Carlos. In fact, more than 50 percent of the total production of milk in Costa Rica comes from the San Carlos area, so it comes as little surprise that Palmito cheese was created there. At first, it was difficult to sell this type of cheese, so the factory where it was originally made was moved to La Palmita de Naranjo. The cheese then began to be called “Palmito” after the place where it was made. Actually the real name of the cheese in Spanish is queso arrollado, which literally means “rolled cheese.”

In Costa Rica there are festivals throughout the year to venerate almost every type of local food. Recently, a 500 pound ball of Palmito cheese was made at the Lácteos Crisley factory in honor of this product. Two thousand five hundred liters of milk were needed to elaborate the gigantic ball of Palmito cheese.

Free samples of the cheese along with home-made tortillas and coffee were passed out to the public at Ciudad Quesada’s (Another name for San Carlos) main park.

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