The melty surprise at the bottom of your mug
Colombian cuisine seems to be ruled by the idea that simpler is better, so rather than spice up our hot chocolate, we do something no one else does: we fill it with cheese. Yes, you read that right, cheese. In fact, this is such an important part of the tradition, we have a saying for it: chocolate sin queso es como amor sin beso, chocolate without cheese is like love without a kiss.
For this to work, you can’t just use any old cheese. Usually, you’d go for queso campesino or queso doble crema, two types of Colombian cheese. They’re perfect because of their consistency, and because they melt without fully losing their shape. This is important because what you do is drop blocks of cheese into the hot chocolate, drink casually while you wait for them to melt, and then fish them out with a teaspoon. The warm, semi-melted cheese perfectly complements the frothy beverage and fills your belly and your soul with comfort.
If you can’t find either of these cheeses, you can use buffalo mozzarella or queso oaxaca (which is, ironically, Mexican). If the chocolate is being served in an afternoon luncheon, it is usually also accompanied by bread.
Over the years, I’ve offered -- OK, fine, forced -- many people to try Colombian hot chocolate with cheese. I’m pleased to report that, despite skepticism, most people actually enjoy it.