The year 2011 marks a significant milestone in the extremely successful career of a Brazilian brand of cream cheese (requeijão) called Catupiry. It was 100 years ago, in 1911, that Mário and Isaíra Silvestrini, an Italian immigrant couple living in the state of Minas Gerais created Catupiry and launched it into the Brazilian marketplace, where it has flourished ever since.
As detailed in a post from last year here on Flavors of Brazil many Brazilians aren't even aware that Catupiry is a brand name - they assume that it's the name of a type of cheese - like mozzarella or ricotta. The word can be found on thousands of restaurant menus and in the recipes of untold numbers of cookbooks without capitalization or note that the word is trademarked.
Catupiry is used to stuff pastéis (the plural of pastel), esfirras, spread on pizzas, put into sandwiches, melted into cream sauces for shrimp, chicken and fish. It's even simply spread on a freshly-opened baguette and enjoyed unadorned.
Currently headquartered in São Paulo, Catupiry produces an enormous quantity to fulfill Brazilian's taste for this low-acid cream cheese. Really enormous. According to the company's website, each day they receive 200,000 liters of whole milk from up to 1500 individual dairies, and each day they turn that milk into 50 tons of cheese. That's a mountain of cream cheese - in their hundredth year, the folks at Catupiry are set to produce over 18,000 tons of cheese.
Catupiry cheese is pleasant, there's no question. And it's bland - something no one can object to. But the Brazilian adoration of Catupiry is a bit of a mystery to us at Flavors of Brazil - maybe you have to have been weaned on the stuff to love it the way most Brazilians do. Whatever the reason, Catupiry is likely to be celebrating a very successful 200th birthday in 2111. In the meantime, Happy 100th Birthday, Catupiry!