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It was our first meeting after lock down, Bia, my Brazilian friend who lives in Galway, gave me a small container with a smiled emoji on it and words: Feito com amizade / Made with friendship. Inside was a white, delicate requeijão reminiscent of creamy cottage cheese or ricotta. But for me, this taste was totally new.
Requeijão – it is a creamy cheese that Brazilians usually spread on a warm toast every morning. However, this delicate and creamy cheese with interesting consistency is versatile product. It can be adding to sauces, casseroles and even potatoes.
I immediately fell in love, especially that Bia made it from natural products without preservatives at home.
Made with love
I was impressed why I decided to write about it. After a few days, I met Bia for a coffee and she told me how it happened that she started to produce requeijão. It seems she was motivated to do it by LOVE.
– During lock down, I was cooking more. Also I was making the dinners for my husband, which he can take to work, because on weekends, the canteen in his company is closed. I have wondered what he would like to eat most and I observed that he loves white cheese. So, I remembered requeijão, popular cheese in Brazil and I looked for recipes to try to do it myself. When I made my first cheese I left the container at my friend’s door and waited for what she would say. I wanted someone to check it first. And she was delighted. Another friend was also happy because she liked that my cheese does not contain starch, as usual in Brazil.
Bia, but how it is possible to make this cheese at home?
– It is actually easy. The ingredients are: milk, lime, butter and a little salt to taste – salt is also a preservative here.
First I cook milk, and when it boils, I add lime and then have to wait 10 minutes for separate whey from the grain. Then I drain the whey in a strainer and add the butter to the curd. Next, I mix the curd and butter in a blender by adding a little more milk. All products should have the same temperature, and also in the room, where we produce the cheese should have a similar temperature. The mixed creamy mass I put straight into a glass jar and to the fridge for a few hours. Of course, cheese can be eaten straight away, but it tastes best when left in the fridge. I always choose the good quality of milk and butter for my cheese.
Watch how Bia make requeijão 🙂
The process of making requeijão is like a ritual
Everything has to be done in sequence and also I have to wait for the milk to boil until the limon separates the curd. So this is such a patience process. It also happened to me that the milk boiled over and I had to start all over again. I am learning to look after the milk and I am getting patient. This is sometimes like therapy as well. Since I make this cheese I am more calmer. When I start my work I turn on relaxing music and light on an incense sticks. I feel good. The all process takes around 30 minutes, sometimes longer.
Glass Jars and recycling
Always, I try to keep my cheese in glass jars. Because I can sterilize well the jars by putting them in a hot oven for 15 minutes. In my opinion the taste of cheese from a jar is much better than from plastic. I can also recycle with glass jars what is so important to me. If someone orders cheese and then returns the jar to me, the cost of the next one will be cheaper.
I never thought in my life that I would sell anything
Yeah! I am selling my requeijão in Galway now. I have most Brazilian customers who know this cheese well. But, I would like to have the Irish and other nationalities clients, too. I try to advert my product better. Marketing is a new thing to me, but it is also a challenge to learn things that I did not know before.
Bia named her brand Bom Bia. It is an amazing connection of Portuguese and Irish language. Bom – in Portuguese means good, while bia in Irish means food. So – Good food, but not only because Bom Bia also refers to Bom Dia – Good morning! In Portuguese or in other languages, the adjective good is used very often, for a good friend, a good beginning, good feeling.
My moment with Requeijão
I am happy to host the Brazilian requeijão under my roof and especially that it is a product of my friend. A jar with a green-and-blue woolen ribbon and a little paper ticket: Bom Bia requeijão caseiro / Bom Bia homemade requeijão pleases my eye when I look in the fridge. In a while I put it on the table, take blue plates, cut tomatoes and cucumbers, coffee and tea are ready. We have a beautiful breakfast with my husband. The sandwiches with fresh bread and fresh requeijão. The cheese is so delicious that we empty half a jar at once.
I already know that I will order another jar of requeijão from Bia. I cannot imagine buying cream cheese in a supermarket, since I have Bia’s cheese, completely natural.
Bom Bia to everyone!
Photos by Lucimara Vanini and Maciek Doczyk. Video made Duh_bubs.
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