Fresh Mexican Cheese Made by the Zafra Family in Brooklyn
Jamie Feldmar of Edible Brooklyn has the story on the Zafras family, and their cheese contribution to the people of Brooklyn. The descriptions of these authentic Mexican cheeses are enough to get us on a bus to the city:
All across New York, people from south of the border feast on queso fresco and queso hebra—aka queso Oaxaca, mozzarella’s Mexican cousin—made fresh here each morning by the talented fingers of the Zafra family. The smooth, salty cheese is as good as anything you’ll find in a California cantina or a Mexican cocina, but it’s not the family’s first—or last—contribution to Brooklynites with an appetite for authentic Mexican fare. Queso hebra is like a lovechild born of mozzarella and string cheese—a smooth, mildly flavored ball that you can shred into endless little threads (“hebra,” in fact, translates as “strand” or “thread”). It melts, but doesn’t brown, perfect in quesadillas, where it oozes with a salty tang from between griddled corn tortillas, in a cemita sandwich, where it adds a supple tenderness to the mountain of meat, or showered lavishly atop tlayudas, open-faced flatbreads smothered in refried beans, avocado and fiery shredded meat that are iconic in Oaxaca and, increasingly, Sunset Park.
Photo by Vicky Wasik