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Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Will Yucatán’s love for cheese beat out its fear of COVID-19?

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Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.
People in Yucatán certainly love queso de bola, but will they show up to a food festival while the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage? Photo: Courtesy

Not even the COVID-19 pandemic can get in the way of Yucatán’s love for Edam cheese — or queso de bola, as it is known locally. 

On Aug. 14 and 15, a festival dedicated to Yucatán’s favorite cheese will be held at Plaza Paseo Canek from 2 to 10 p.m. 

The event hosted by Yucatán Foodie will house 25 stalls featuring over 100 different dishes and desserts, and will not be charging an entrance fee. 

Event organizers have been quick to point out that they will be following all sanitary protocols, to protect vendors and patrons from COVID-19. 

The announcement of the event was met with mixed reactions on social media, with some expressing great excitement, while others were of the opinion that the event would drive new COVID-19 infections. 

Before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, festivals dedicated to Yucatán’s favorite foods such as chicharra (pork rinds), chile habanero, and cochinita pibil seemed to happen every week. 

Earlier: Snack time: The best of Yucatán’s botanitas

Queso de Bola is of Dutch origin but became extremely popular in Yucatán in the early 20th century.

There are several stories of just how this came to be, including one of a Dutch shipwreck that first brought the delicacy to Yucatán’s shores. 

Queso de bola is the main ingredient in several traditional Yucatecan dishes, particularly queso relleno — prepared with a hollowed-out queso de bola and filled with ground beef, pork, spices, and olives. 

No self-respecting Yucateco would ever turn down a serving of Queso Relleno. Photo: Courtesy

Also very popular are marquesitas — a wrapped crunchy waffle crepe, stuffed and topped with shredded queso de bola. Marquesitas can be found being sold by vendors at parks, plazas, festivals, boardwalks, and in just about every other public space.

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