Saturday, June 15, 2024

Chiapas town sets new Guinness World Record with giant cheese

Eighty workers from 10 cheese producers came together in the southern state of Chiapas on Thursday afternoon, to break the Guinness World Record for the largest ball of quesillo — commonly known as Oaxaca cheese, or string cheese.

The finished product weighed 558 kilograms (1,230 lbs.), made with 6,000 liters (1,585 gallons) of milk and took four hours to complete.

Guinness stipulated that the cheese must be shared between workers after the record attempt. (Dámian Sánchez/Cuartoscuro)

The event was supervised by a Guinness World Records adjudicator, who stipulated that the crew would have to maintain hygienic conditions throughout, produce a final product that was at least somewhat ball-shaped and finish in no more than eight hours.

The cheese ball nearly doubled the previous world record of 350 kilograms (772 lbs.), set in the neighboring state of Oaxaca.

The new record was broken at Campo Milenio in the municipality of Pijijiapan, on the Pacific Coast about halfway between Chiapas’ borders with Oaxaca and Guatemala. 

After the record was certified, attendees were allowed to take home portions of the cheese in containers and plastic bags.

Chiapas cheese maker
The last record was set in Oaxaca, but the Chiapas cheese ball was nearly double its size. (DAMIÁN SÁNCHEZ/CUARTOSCURO.COM)

Carlos Alberto Albores Lima, mayor of Pijijiapan, said the goal was 600 kilograms, but when the cheesemakers got on roll, “we got excited and we almost reached 700. But then a moment came when the cheese flexed downward … We lost 100 kilos from the top weight, but in the end, we achieved the record.”

Earlier in the week, test runs that produced cheese balls of 100, 200 and 400 kilograms were conducted.

Pijijiapan is well known for its quesillo. Cheese producers there export around 20 to 30 tons per day to Southeast and Central Mexico, and the mayor said that much of the cheese stamped as “Oaxaca cheese” or “quesillo” throughout the country is actually produced in his municipality of 51,200 people. The town is located in a dairy farming area with approximately 800 cheese factories, some of which have up to 200 employees, he said. During the Covid-19 pandemic, many were on the brink of closure.

“Here is where [the distributors] buy it [and] put the stamps on it, and it goes to the center of the country,” he said.

“The truth is, here we have the best cheese factories,” said Pijijiapan resident Victoria Gómez González, who lives next to a cheese factory. “I cheered them on.”

“They deserve it,” said Anthony Alvarez. “They make the best cheese in the world. Congratulations.”

With reports from Milenio, Diario del Sur and Cuarto Poder

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