Family recipes can be passed down through the generations, like the secret to the gravy for grandmother’s smothered chicken or how to get the perfect consistency for the fluffy frosting for mom’s famous devil’s-food cake.
Castillo’s grandmother, Rosa Carvajal, was a single mother supporting 12 children in Maturin, Venezuela, the capital of the state of Monagas. She made empanadas and arepas that she sold to the neighbors, and cheeses produced from the milk of the cows she raised.
A hallmark of Venezuelan cuisine is a wide range of fresh white cheeses often named for different regions of the country, such as queso guayanés from the Guayana region of southeast Venezuela.
Rosa Carvajal passed along those recipes and her cheese-making skills to her daughter, Estefania Carvajal, the fifth of her children.
Caravajal, in turn, married, raised four daughters, and had a small farm where she kept 10 cows and made cheese, which she sold to neighbors.
Castillo grew up watching her grandmother and her mother make cheese.
At Mrs. Rosa Foods, Castillo and her sister, Julia, along with Castillo’s partner, María Rosal, and Rosal’s brother, Carlos, produce nine varieties of fresh cheese and a range of other Venezuelan foods, such as cachapas, empanadas and arepas.Castillo trained as an attorney in Venezuela but came to the United States in 2017, seeking asylum, fleeing persecution in her home country. Rosal arrived in 2018.Nostalgic for the flavors of home, she and Rosal cooked the dishes they remembered. While they could find many ingredients they needed, they could never find […]📖 Read more on the RECIPES: Savor the flavors of Venezuela at home!