21st Annual Feria del Queso Tonantzintla 2022 Held in Puebla
On August 5, 6 and 7, Puebla celebrated the twenty-first edition of the traditional Tonantzintla Cheese Fair in the municipality of San Andrés Cholula, Puebla. This long-running cheese festival was canceled in 2020, and due to pandemic restrictions, significantly modified in 2021. Dairy producers, cheesemakers and touristic operators all enthusiastically welcomed the return of the festival which was back in full force last weekend attracting over 10,000 visitors.
Each year, the Feria de Queso in Cholula brings together more than 30 local dairy producers. The mission of the festival is to preserve the unique identity and the traditional cheesemaking traditions of the region.
Many of Mexico’s unique handcrafted cheeses are in danger of being forgotten as the large dairy conglomerates take over the majority of the market share. This fair seeks to increase awareness of the artisanal cheeses that have been traditionally made in this region of Mexico and to help directly reactivate the economy of the community’s producers.
Artisanal cheeses, made from raw milk in the traditional ways cannot be sold in major grocery stores and are really only sold and consumed within the region in which they are made. This significantly limits the potential economic benefit and erodes the motivation for these farmers to keep producing these unique Mexican cheeses.
Agricultural fairs and gastronomic festivals such as the Feria de Queso help to keep consumers aware of all the options available to them as they search for unique and traditionally made products.
The Feria de Queso was held this year on August 5, 6 and 7 on the esplanade of the auxiliary of Santa María Tonantzintla. Over the three days of the cheese festival, visitors were able to taste and purchase many different varieties of cheese, as well as farm-made butter, yogurts, creams, candies and desserts. It was reported that over 10 thousand people attended the event.
In addition to the exhibitions from dairy producers and cheesemakers, the Cholula Cheese Fair brought together local artists and regional artisans all eager to display and promote their work including the colorful talavera pottery famous to Puebla. Throughout the weekend, guests also enjoyed concerts, folkloric dance presentations and other cultural activities.
Things to do in Cholula, Puebla if you attend the Feria de Queso
Cholula is one of Puebla’s 10 “Pueblos Magicos”. If you can make the trip, this is a beautiful place to explore and there are many other attractions to investigate outside of the festival.
There are two volcanos in the region that cannot be missed, Popocatépetl and Iztaccihuatl. If you are an adventure seeker, Visiting the Iztaccíhuatl – Popocatépetl National Park is one of the best things you can do while in Cholula! These volcanoes are the second and third highest peaks in Mexico, and some of the highest in North America. They offer amazing views and are accessible by tour on foot or even on horseback!
The Grand Pyramid of Cholula (Pirámide Tlachihualtépetl) is a must-visit attraction in the region. Archeologists say that this is the largest pyramid in the world in terms of volume with a total of 4,500,000 cubic meters. It is larger…but not taller…than the Great Pyramid of Giza.
While in Cholula, tour the Casa del Caballero Águila, a 16th-century building named for the striking bas-relief that crosses its entrance. Admire the Temple of San Francisco Acatepec in San Andres Cholula, which stands out for the talavera mosaics that cover its façade.
Visit the Temple of Santa María Tonantzintla renowned for its ornate Baroque plasterwork from the 18th century featuring indigenous figures, brown angels fruit and ears of corn.
Another historical site is the San Gabriel Franciscan Convent. Built by Franciscan monks in the 16th century, the church and friary sit on top of an ancient site dedicated to Quetzalcóatl. The complex is dedicated to the Archangel Gabriel and is one of the largest Franciscan friaries in Mexico.
There are several excellent museums as well. Don’t miss, the Museum of the City of Cholula. Here you will find 2,300 pre-Hispanic and colonial pieces and a collection that includes ceramics and jewelry found during the excavation of the Great Pyramid of Cholula.
In the Talavera Museum Alarca you can trace the history of talavera pottery from the 16th century to the present day. The collection features more than 300 works from renowned artists including Vicente Rojo, Juan Soriano, Sergio Hernández, Francisco Toledo and Javier Marín. This museum is thought to have the most relevant collection of talavera in Latin America.
If you missed the cheese festival this year, organizers are already making plans for 2023. This is one of the longest-running cheese festivals in Mexico and should definitely be on your list of festivals to visit. Not only will you love the cheese but the history, the culture, the architecture and the amazing Poblano cuisine are all sure to impress.