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Catupiry® is a brand of soft cheese manufactured in Brazil. Though it isn't easy to find this cheese outside of Brazil, a limited amount of it is exported to some countries. The cheese has a mild flavor and is commonly used as an ingredient in both savory and sweet dishes. The name comes from a word in one of the native languages of Brazil and means excellence.
The flavor of Catupiry® is similar to, and a little stronger than, that of cream cheese. It is made from cow's milk that has been mixed with sour cream, salt, and cheese cultures, though the exact proportions of these are a company secret. The cheese cultures, including lactic ferment and a mixture of bacteria, transform the liquid milk into cheese and give it some of its flavor.
In terms of texture, Catupiry® is a creamy and very soft cheese. It is easy to spread and not firm enough to be effectively sliced. This texture makes Catupiry® useful as a spreading cheese and as an ingredient in a number of dishes.
Making Catupiry® is similar to the process of making many other types of cheeses. Fresh milk is collected from dairy farms, pasteurized to kill unwanted microorganisms, and then homogenized to keep the cream from separating as the cheese ferments. Cheese cultures are then added to the milk, sour cream is stirred in, and the mixture is allowed to sit until the bacteria transforms the fresh dairy products into cheese.
In 1911, Mario Silvestrini, an Italian immigrant to Brazil, founded the company that makes Catupiry®. The cheese first became popular in personal cooking and then later in restaurants. It's versatility has allowed it to be incorporated into many different recipes, often as an alternative to cream cheese or sour cream. The cheese is usually packaged in round containers that were made from wood when the company was first founded. Now, however, Catupiry® can also be purchased in plastic sacs or piping bags.
In Brazil, Catupiry® is often used as a topping on pizza, giving this dish a distinctive flavor. A popular dessert known as Romeo and Juliet, is made up of this type of cheese and a paste made from guava. Catupiry® cheese is used in many other recipes as well, and seeing the phrase "com catupiry" in a recipe is not uncommon in Brazil.