You probably never heard of this cream cheese, but the Catupiry Brazilian Cream Cheese reigns. It’s one of the few Brazilian foods. The trademark became the most important reference for the product (like Xerox or Google). Catupiry comes from the native Amazonian language, “Tupi-Guarani”, and it means excellent.
Developed in 1911 by Mario Silvestrini, an immigrant from Ravenna, Italy, he, and his sister Isaira opened a tiny little store in Minas Gerais. Since 1949, the cheese has been manufactured in Bebedouro, in the region of São Paulo, where they receive four million liters of milk per month transported from many different farms.
Catupiry is made from fresh cow milk that is warmed mixed with yeast, heavy cream, sour cream, and salt.
I remember buying Catupiry nestled in a small wooden box when I was a little girl. Still, in recent years, the company changed the packaging to a plastic container instead. Today, Catupiry cheese is exported to Japan, Canada, the United States, and many countries in Europe.
In terms of cooking techniques, Catupiry is cream cheese, but more than anything else, it’s a brand. Its taste evokes the taste of cream, soft and rich, a little like St. Andre, a little like butter, but mostly like itself. Burnished in golden color, it has a dense, silky texture, is slightly sweet, and remains a key ingredient in totemic Brazilian dishes.
There are other types of cream cheese in Brazil, though we refer to them as Requeijão. Those are used to spread on a piece of toast, like we apply Philadelphia cream cheese in the U.S, for example. Most requeijão has a much thinner consistency than Catupiry Brazilian Cream Cheese.
To any Brazilian, catupiry goes well with a world of foods. You can eat it plain or simply spread it on a piece of bread. Still, Catupiry Brazilian Cream Cheese is mainly appreciated when paired with proteins, stews, or savory baked goods. Few proteins capture the heart of catupiry as chicken and shrimp. In the world of vegetables, I think of hearts of palm and broccolis. And we cannot forget carne seca (Brazilian jerk meat).
I’ve been thinking about how to infiltrate catupiry in desserts in the past few months. The cheese has rarely extended to the dessert tray, other than Romeo and Julieta—the classic combination of Goiabada com Catupiry (guava paste with catupiry). But it’s not a bad idea. In fact, it’s a great one. Catupiry is, after all, a cream cheese, and cream cheese makes a significant contribution to the American pastry. So why not try it?
This led me here: Catupiry Blueberry Tart. I don’t know if this will become a trend, but let me tell you, right here, it worked well.
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