Tuesday, April 27, 2010
I've just discovered that this same process happens in Brazil, and that a type of cheese that I often see in recipes and on restaurant menus is not, in fact, a type of cheese at all, but rather a trademarked product name the use of which is legally restricted in theory to the owner of the trademark. The cheese is called Catupiry® , a rich and smooth cream cheese with a flavor that recalls Brie or Camembert. Brazilian cookbooks and online recipe sites are full of recipes for dishes such as "frango ao catupiry" or "carne de sol ao catupiry", none of which capitalize the word catupiry nor acknowledge that catupiry is a brand of cheese, not a type of cheese.
Catupiry, the trademarked brand that is, was developed in 1911 by Mário e Isaíra Silvestrini, an Italian immigrant couple, in Lambari, Minas Gerais. They chose the name Catupiry because it means "excellent" in the Tupi-Guarani language of certain Brazilian Indian tribes. In 1934 production was moved to the city of São Paulo. Up to the present the exact recipe for Catupiry has remained a secret, though it is clear that Catupiry cheese is a processed cheese, like all cream cheeses.
Although a commercial product, Catupiry has been taken to heart by the Brazilian public, and a dish or recipe that contains Catupiry has a certain cachet that other cream cheeses can't duplicate. São Paulo, which considers its pizzas better than anywhere else in the world, considers "pizza ao catupiry" one of the summits of the pizza-making art.