Cacique Hispanic Products

Packages of Queso from Cacique Hispanic Products

Authentic, Family-made in the USA

Realfoodtraveler is all about celebrating authentic, regional foods. But, every once in a while, our editors come across a formerly regional company that produces wonderfully authentic products that has made it big. And that’s Cacique Hispanic Products.

Melted Quesa Quesadilla

Quesa Quesadilla is a great melting cheese. Here it’s paired with some Cacique Pork Chorizo. 

Cacique (the name means “the very best” or “the ultimate authority”) was founded in 1973 by Mexican immigrants Gilbert and Jennie de Cardenas. Gilbert brought knowledge of traditional cheese making with him from Mexico and he began making and selling old-world cheeses like queso fresco (fresh cheese). Over the years, this family-owned company grew, added employees and other Mexican products, including sour creams, yogurts, and the spicy Mexican sausage, chorizo. Their guiding principles of included using fresh, natural ingredients and traditional recipes never changed. Today, you can find Cacique products in many grocery stores cross the United States.

Pita Bread with Chorizo, crema, tomatoes and fresh lettuce

Chorizo, crema, tomatoes and fresh lettuce make a great stuffer for pita bread.  

Why do we recommend choosing products like Cacique? Because realfood is all about using authentic ingredients appropriate for the dishes. Many of us have made enchiladas or tacos with Monterey Jack or Cheddar cheeses. Try using real Mexican cheeses and you’ll taste a real difference. You can, of course, use Cacique products in non-Mexican dishes too. Their Ranchero Queso Fresco is a great substitute for feta cheese; their panela can be used in place of mozzarella. We suggest first becoming acquainted with Cacique products with Mexican dishes. Their website www.caciqueusa.com offers some terrific recipes.

These are some of the Cacique products our RFT editors sampled:

Ranchero queso fresco and Cacique queso fresco — both of these are fresh cheeses made with milk, rennet, and sea salt. Queso fresco is a crumbly cheese that will also melt when heated. It’s great on tacos or where ever you use feta cheese.

Panela — Another fresh cheese, panela is a mild cheese that resembles mozzarella only with more complex notes. At RFT, we served panela with Spanish Iberian ham and buttery crackers and found it superior to mozzarella.

 

Sour Cream from Cacique Hispanic Products

Quesa Quesadilla — This pale yellow cheese, one of the RFT editors’ favorites, is a wonderful melting cheese. The flavor is buttery and nutty and it has a lovely creamy mouth feel. Like the name implies, Quesa Quesadilla makes great quesadillas. We also melted it with Cacique chorizo and with eggs and it was equally good.

Cojita — One of Cacique’s robust cheeses, cojita has a dry, crumbly texture and a more pronounced flavor than its milder cousin, queso fresco. This is a good topping cheese. We used it as a finish for traditional carnitas tacos and found it added a nice accent.

Crema Mexicana and Crema Mexicana Agria — If you haven’t discovered Mexican cremas, you should and the ones made by Cacique are excellent. Unlike American sour cream that have a gelatin-like texture, Mexican table cream or sour cream (agria) are pourable. This makes it easy to use them as a topping on enchiladas, tacos, or other dishes. It also makes it easier to control the portion. Cacique’s table cream, Crema Mexicana, is slightly sweet, rich, and creamy and would make an excellent addition to fruit, soups, or salads. Their sour cream, Crema Mexicana Agria, has a bit more tang and would make a great addition to flautas, chili rellenos, baked potatoes, or where ever you use sour cream. Both types of crema are terrific for turning down the heat on spicy dishes.

 

Pork and Beef Chorizo Cooking in Pan

Pork and Beef Chorizo — Unlike sweet Spanish chorizo, Mexican chorizo is spicy and Cacique’s offerings are full of flavor and heat – a little goes a long way to spicing up a dish. Both Cacique’s Pork and Beef Chorizos are removed from the casing for cooking and cook up crumbly. s. While both are spicy and flavorful, the pork has intense flavors; the beef is mellower. Because chorizo naturally gives off a lot of fat, in some dishes we drained some of the fat before using in other dishes. One of our RFT editors added a bit of Cacique Pork Chorizo to a fish soup and it added just the right touch to make the dish complex without being too hot.

Another editor paired pork chorizo with Cacique’s Queso Quesadilla and stuffed it in a pita pocket for a quick lunch. Yet another editor added a bit of the beef chorizo to liven up scrambled eggs.

 

Chili in Blue Bowl

Real bottom line: If you want to kick up your Mexican dishes a notch with authentic products, you can’t do better than Cacique. Readily available in U.S. grocery stores, you’ll find Cacique’s line of cheeses, creams, yogurts, and meats both delicious and affordable. —Reviewed by BH

Cacique’s website www.caciqueusa.com offers some terrific recipes, including some from Food Network Celebrity Chef/Restaurateur Aaron Sanchez.

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  • Ren

    Cacique Crema Mexicana obviously you’ve never tasted it, bought it based on this review and was utterly disgusted, chemical fresh …but not organic ….how they get it pour able…..just add water, simple , id rather take THICK butter or sour creme over this watered down unpleasant stuff, who in there right mind would put the Crema Mexicana on fruit…it tastes like watered down riddled with metal butter and is not sweet but rancid tasting oh and there is a burn with it too …..something you wont find in a quality grade a sour creme or butter guar gum and carrageenan pork chorizo, is greasy even draining it and blotting with paper towels, , no taste but your mouth gets cased in oil and there is a burn and it kills anything else put in the dish concerning flavor. if the Cacique Crema Mexicana were truly made of cream and milk dont you think it would at least have some calcium in it….being that it is naturally found in milk, and cream is made from milk?

    • http://realfoodtraveler.com Bobbie Hasselbring, RFT Editor

      Hi Ren,
      Thanks for your comments. Sorry you didn’t like Caique Creama Mexicana. Our editors did, in fact, extensively taste the Crema as we do all the products we review. This product does not contain water. It contains grade a cream and milk; carageenan, a natural thickening agent made from red seaweed; whey protein concentrate, the protein that remains after milk is curdled and strained after cheesemaking; and xanthan gum (aka agar), a natural thickener derived from plant sources. As for pork chorizo, any Mexican chorizo tends to be high in fat and a bit spicy. It is a good idea to drain it well on paper towels. I use it sparingly as it is high-fat and highly flavored, but it adds an interesting flavor to many foods. If you’re not crazy about Mexican chorizo, I recommend trying Spanish chorizo, which is much milder.

      As a food writer and someone who samples a wide range of food products, I know that palates range widely. Not everyone likes the same tastes. In fact, I’m often with other food writers who say, “Oh, I love this” and I’m thinking, “I don’t like this at all.” In addition to differences in tastes, ethnic flavors like Mexican Crema may take some people time to get used to. Mexican Crema isn’t like American-style sour cream and it isn’t meant to be. But rather than suggesting the product label lies (It doesn’t. The product contains exactly what it says, including grade A cream and milk) or that our editors at realfoodtraveler aren’t doing their job (by writing that “obviously you’ve never tasted it”), I suggest you take a deep breath and enjoy the experience of sampling different flavors. Please don’t contribute to the over-heated vitrol that has become part and parcel of the internet. It’s not helpful or appreciated. Obviously, you don’t care for Cacique products and you are disappointed. I suspect the company would happily refund your money. Just go to their website caciqueinc.com/ and use the contact us section. Good luck. — BH, RFT Editor

  • Sherry

    So you did have the chorizo? I bought some but only stopped to look at the ingredient list after I got home. I really should have done it at the supermarket because salivary glands and lymph nodes (the pork cheeks don’t bother me as much) kinda creep me out and I can’t help but wonder if it’s edible (or if knowing what it’s made of won’t make me want to throw it back up anyway)…

    • http://realfoodtraveler.com Bobbie Hasselbring, RFT Editor

      Hi Sherry,
      Your email had me laughing. Thanks for sending it. In the U.S., we are so squeamish about things like organ meats and other “internals.” Interestingly enough, we don’t think anything about putting all kinds of toxic chemicals from pesticides to thickeners to preservatives and dyes in our food. Now those things aren’t edible and can cause serious illnesses. In most places around the world, people eat all of parts of the animals they butcher — from nose to tail so to speak. Some cultures use things that seem icky to us like blood (you’ve probably heard of blood sausage). It’s all edible and good for you — not to mention it’s both ethical and “green” to use as many parts of the animal as you can. Regarding your question about the Cacique Chorizo, yes, indeed, realfoodtraveler.com editors did sample it and we liked it. Add a little (it’s spicy) of it to eggs or other dishes and it really adds a nice accent. Enjoy! — Bobbie, RFT Editor

  • Gregg

    I stumbled upon this review wondering what other people thought of the cacique pork chorizo I tried today. I wasn’t especially put off by the ingredient list. I did think it was disgusting when I tried it though. It oozed out of the package and turned to mush and clear red grease after cooking. I love hash, liverwurst, and greasy ‘squeeze bag’ style breakfast sausage… so I’m not a snob. This, however, oozed out with the consistency of thick cake frosting and got even mushier and nastier when cooked – pumping out gobs of red grease.

    After reading your review, I read numerous others for this Cacique pork chorizo. The other references nearly unanimously agreed with my opionions – many stating how it doesn’t even resemble what one would expect when buying chorizo.

    So from reading this review and your ‘Real Full Disclosure’ page, I wanted to ask if Cacique is one of the pay for click sponsors of your site, and if your review reflects your honest opinion.

    • http://realfoodtraveler.com Bobbie Hasselbring, RFT Editor

      Hi Gregg,
      Thanks for your email. No, Cacique Hispanic Foods is not one of realfoodtraveler sponsors or advertisers, but thanks for asking. We do try to give your our honest opinion and we know that, especially with food, people have varying opinions and experiences. Sounds like your experience with Cacique’s chorizo was different from that of our editorial panel’s.

      We agree that pork chorizo, including Cacique’s, tends to be greasy, which is why it’s only an occasional ‘treat’ in my own diet. I fry it off and spoon it onto a paper towel to sop up the excess grease. That way I get all the chorizo flavor without so much choizo fat. Thanks for writing and let us know if you come across a choizo that you like better we should review. Cheers! — Bobbie, RFT Editor

  • Elizabeth

    HI! My mom used to buy authentic chorizo in my hometown where there was a huge Mexican community. She used to mix it with ground beef for enchiladas, which I loved. So when I say Cacique beef chorizo for $.99 a tube I bought several, not knowing exatly how I was going to use them. I stuck them in my freezer and it was not until I went to brunch with chorizo breakfast tacos that I became inspired. I can hardly go a day without a dollop of beef chorizo on a tortilla with cheese and some pico de gallo. I was also taken aback by the ingredient list, but I reasoned the same way you did. And I am person who likes that grisle on the chicken breast and I also eat oxtail soup…So, I cooked it up, and have learned a process to drain most of the fat from the the sausage. I just love it ti death. I have also been someone who eats chicken hearts. (Not liver, because I don’t like liver of any kind). So I make 2 tubes of beef chorizo at a time, so it’s ready when I want it, and drain it really well and stick it in the fridge. I get my chorizo at afeway, and they have all three kinds, as well as their own in house chorizo. Because Cacique is so inexpensive, I have not tried their in house brand, but I will just to compare. Kudos to your review!

    • http://realfoodtraveler.com Bobbie Hasselbring, RFT Editor

      Hey Elizabeth,
      Thanks for your email. Hmmmm, chorizo on a tortilla with cheese and pico de gallo sounds delicious. You’re definitely right that chorizo adds a wonderful deep, spicy flavor and is a great addition to meats like ground beef. And, you’re also absolutely correct that the fat from chorizo needs to be well drained. Let us know what you think of the Cacique brand of chorizo and any other recommendations you might want to share with realfoodtraveler.com readers. Cheers! — Bobbie, RFT Editor

  • Chef Wander

    Cacique’s beef chorizo is simply hideous. Why am I posting here?

    My wife bought a tube of it knowing that I love chorizo in things like bratwurst and gastropub recipes so she picked up a tube as an impulse purchase. I was excited to try cooking my own chorizo outside of a casing or getting it in a restaurant dish. I made the apparent mistake of throwing it in a pan that had some melted butter still in it. The immediate reaction was on of disgust from the odor of this product. It can’t be described in words, but I’ll try to explain why it was so immediately off-putting. I was almost deathly ill with a series of viral infections this winter and while trying to get some food down I happened to cook up a really horrible frozen pizza sold under the Target house brand. I don’t recall what the style was but chances are it was some sort of “barbeque” flavored meat combo. The taste was literally vomitous, not to mention how bad the crust was, etc. Perhaps you or someone you know has gotten turned off to a particular type of liquor after getting sick on it; well, imagine that — only with food. I was really surprised to note the unmistakable odor coming from this product as it cooked on the stove, just like the Target brand pizza I tried to eat when sick. I was immediately turned off before even taking a sample taste, but the curiosity and desire to have “real” chorizo overpowered that disgust. I reasoned that the butter in the pan ruined the chorizo. No matter how long i cooked it it remained a liquidy disgusting mess. That batch, intended for an egg dish, was thrown away.

    Later I tried using the remainder of the chorizo tube on a clean pan to see what I did wrong, and the result was the same. The smell has no redeaming qualities, and due to my recent run in with the bad pizza, made me nearly sick again. There was the familiar red dye-like appearance of the oil oozing out of the shredded meat blob. This time I tried blotting it with about 8 stages of paper towels. Finally it got to the point where the red oil wasn’t immediately soaking a clean paper towel so I served the result on crispy tortilla shells with melted mexican cheese mixture on top. Even with the other two quality food constants the “chorizo” still made the result not worth eating. The result wasn’t as disgusting as before due to blotting out all of the mystery paprika oil, but it was surprisingly blah, mostly a salt aftertaste with no character and certainly not the exciting spice profile that I’m accustomed to with normal store-bought deli chorizo links or restaurant chorizo flavoring. The review above indicated that “both Cacique’s Pork and Beef Chorizos are removed from the casing for cooking and cook up crumbly. Well, the beef does NOT cook up crumbly. It is a liquid mess. I wouldn’t be so adament about reviewing this product if I hadn’t been so excited to try it by description.

    What an extreme disappointment. I will never again give the Cacique brand the time of day due to this horrible experience.

    • http://realfoodtraveler.com Bobbie Hasselbring, RFT Editor

      Hi Chef Wanderer,
      Sorry you didn’t like the Cacique Chorizo. Our experience was quite different. Perhaps we’ll have to buy another tube of it and try it again. We recently encountered some chorizo that’s house made by one of our local Mexican restaurants here in Oregon and, hands down, it was so much better than any product you can find in the grocery stores. Unfortunately, the restaurant doesn’t sell it except in their own dishes. Like you, I love authentic chorizo. I think I’m going to start prowling the Mexican stores and butchers in my area to find a brand that more closely resembles this delicious restaurant chorizo. If you find a brand you really like, please share it with us. Thanks so much. — Bobbie, RFT Editor

  • Matt

    I’ve tried the pork Chorizo before, and I unfortunately had very similar experiences to the negative reviews. That said, the other half just proudly brought back another tube of this product from the grocery store, before I could inform her that the last batch I tried to fry up is spicing up a landfill somewhere. I am from Britain, and holidayed in Portugal most of my life, so I may be accustomed to a more Spanish/Mediterranean style of Chorizo, rather than this apparently Mexican style Chorizo.

    In the interest of not putting another 10 ounces of an animal to waste, I’m going to try and incorporate this into a chili over the next week, and report back. Perhaps my hopes of having a big European meat chow-down was misguided, and this product may be of more use as a supplementary ingredient.

    • http://realfoodtraveler.com Bobbie Hasselbring, RFT Editor

      Hi Matt,
      Cacique Chorizo definitely is not like the wonderful Spanish chorizo, It’s Mexican-style chorizo, which is spicier and fattier. If you use this product, I recommend a small amount (since it is spicy) and frying it off, draining, and blotting much of the fat off with paper towels. Let us know how you do with the chili and if you find a chorizo product you like better. Thanks. — Bobbie, RFT Editor

  • Alison

    After opening my beef chorizo and trying to cook with it… I had to google it to find if It was just me. Thank God I’m not. The reviews are spot on. This sauasage was not crumbly. It slid thru a spaghetti strainer. I added it to spaghetti sauce in attempt to add flavor, it did, but nos my stomac hurts. :(. With Cacique you get what you pay for. I most likely never buy this product again. Completely dissapointed. Sad that I was on a budget and had to experience this.

  • Angelina

    I am an American kid who was lucky enough to have summer vacations in Mexico in a beautiful pine trees and waterfall puebla. I loved the Mexican cheese and Crema Mexicana in their recipes. It was one of the things I missed all year until I went back. I am thrilled they really now available through Cacique. I use the cheese on my shredded beef, hand made shells, tacos and to make mashed beans as well as a few other items. I especially love the Crema on canned peaches and crepes. I would love to see some other uses for those products.

    • http://realfoodtraveler.com Bobbie Hasselbring, RFT Editor

      Hi Angelina,
      Thanks for the great email. Yes, we love Cacique products, especially their crema. I agree with you that crema is wonderful on lots of things and is so much easier to use than regular sour cream. For more suggestions about how to use crema, check out the recipes on the Cacique site http://caciqueinc.com/recipes — Cheers! Bobbie, RFT Editor