Cheese and dairy products in general are one of my favorite things to eat. So when I learned via Querétaro’s robust tourism board of a nearby farm that combined cheese-making with a barnyard animal petting zoo, it seemed like a no-brainer. The fact that it was basically a simulated visit to the Midwest was just an added bonus.
Finca Vai is located about half an hour east of the city of Querétaro (just past the airport), or about 2 hours north of Mexico City. We were a little concerned as to whether it would be easy to find in the Queretaran countryside, but I should have had more faith:
I love me some well-organized tourism, so I was pleased to see that tours were indeed run as regularly as promised: each hour between 11AM – 3PM on weekends, and by appointment during the week ($35 pesos/head). Their website even offers an agenda! We started off learning about the cheese making process– this part was a little slow for us adults, but I think the kids in the group were entertained. The tour guide demonstrated the old-timey method, stirring a massive vat of murky-looking “milk”. In a move that would make a semi-professional magician proud, the guide drew our attention to something on the opposite wall while her assistant popped out from behind a door and dumped a bunch of yellow sponges into the vat. Turn back around kids!! Cheese curds have already formed!!
After we learned about how wet yellow sponges instantaneously turned into plastic-wrapped cheese, we moved on to the cheese maturation zone!
Finally it seemed that we had learned enough to be allowed to EAT THE CHEESE. They sat us down in a cute little roofed area with hay bales for chairs– a nice farm-y touch.
We got to sample 4 kinds of cheese on little branded Finca VAI plates:
I recall being a fan of the reblochon, as well as of the smoked provolone that they sold in the gift shop. After the tasting, we were off to discover the source of these cheeses: barnyard animals!!
The baby animals had their own little pens & were awaiting our arrival:
And with that, our cheesery tour was over. We had the opportunity to spend more money in their store, so we snapped up some smoked provolone for the road:
Would I recommend the Finca VAI tour to others? If you have kiddos, I think this would be a great spot to bring the kids for an afternoon. The tour is very child-friendly, lots of opportunities to participate/answer questions/etc. (well, particularly if your child speaks Spanish). And what kid doesn’t love petting farm animals!
For adults, the tour can be a little slow, but we were still entertained by the visit to the countryside + supporting a local business. That said, if you’re interested in sampling some cheese but aren’t a fan of sheep and cows, there’s a great alternative in nearby Tequisquiapan at the Museo del Queso y Vino. The word “museum” might be a slight overstatement, but it does deliver on Finca VAI cheeses!
Check out the Museo just off the square in downtown Tequisquiapan at Salvador Michaus 3 in the centro.
And as for Finca VAI, there’s a vague map on their website, but I’ve also tried to map its general location on Google + directions from Mexico City. Enjoy your visit & México’s nascent cheese tourism industry thanks you for your patronage.
Disclosure: I am being compensated for my work in creating content as a Contributor for the México Today Program. All stories, opinions and passion for all things México shared in my blog are completely my own.