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Good Milk Makes Good Cheese

Mónica Pons Eduardo Epifanio

Even on vacations, we can learn something new. We were welcomed at a venue open for visitors near La Junta in order to appreciate the process of making cheese.

La Junta Cheese Factory

The good pastures of the fields of La Junta offer excellent food for cattle and, therefore, the cows produce excellent amounts of milk. It is natural, then, to learn that good craft cheese is made here.

We had the chance to visit a craft factory just 15 kilometers from La Junta. Going northwards along the Southern Road, we came across the sign that indicated the location of this venue. At the entrance, some cows were pasturing freely on the green field. They welcomed us unperturbed.

La Junta Cheese Factory

Christian Gallardo, its owner, welcomed and escorted us during our tour. As we entered the facilities, we saw a large tub of stainless steel which contained about 600 liters of milk undergoing the first step of the process: pasteurization.

That raw material came from the venue’s own mechanic dairy farm. The process of pasteurization removes the positive and negative bacteria through abrupt changes in temperature by steam pressure.

We heard about the rest of the process from Christian himself: “The next step consists in adding rennet, which curdles the milk to manage coagulation. This mixture is curdled until a small and homogeneous grain is managed. Then the whey is removed and the grain is dried by adding hot water”.

Then, brine is put in and the mixture is divided in two: one part is processed to obtain chanco or semi soft cheese. Oregano or pepper is added to the rest of the mixture to make flavored cheese.

La Junta Cheese Factory

We moved onto another area, where the molds are prepared for the mixture to be pressed during 24 hours. After that period, the wheels of cheese are ready for the final drying process on the racks located in a dark, ventilated and dry area.

The entire process is parallel to the lactation period of these cows, which are fed with natural pastures. Forage turnips or cabbages kept in silos replace the pastures during the winter.

The factory is a model of organization. It is very clean and neat, and the entire family works there. Nothing is wasted. They whey is also consumed by the calves and heifers to complete their nourishment.

Production is certified by the sanitary authorities and sold at the local and regional markets.

It is a good excuse to visit the factory while on vacations, especially if there are children in the family. Almost as if it was a game, they will learn how the cheese they eat everyday is made. Moreover, adults will enjoy buying some healthy delicious souvenir to take back home.

Contact

Quesos La Junta - Christian Gallardo

Carretera Austral Kilómetro 285, (6010000) , La Junta, XI Región Aisén del General Carlos Ibáñez del Campo
Cel: +56 976484350
Welcome Chile - Outings in La Junta
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Location

Useful Data

Bear in mind

Ask about open hours, as it changes according to season.
Open from August to May.

Contact

Quesos La Junta - Christian Gallardo

Carretera Austral Kilómetro 285
(6010000)
La Junta
XI Región Aisén del General Carlos Ibáñez del Campo
Cel: +56 976484350


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