Minas is a type of cheese that has been traditionally produced in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais. It comes in three varieties, named Frescal (fresh cheese), Meia-cura (slightly matured cheese) and Curado (matured cheese). A fourth variety, branded Queijo Padrão (standard cheese) has been developed more recently and can be found in nearly all supermarkets and grocery stores in Brazil.
Minas cheese is made from cow's milk according to traditional recipes. It used to be matured naturally in open air or, much less often, over a cooker to dry with the heat.
Frescal cheese (as the name implies) is served quite fresh, about 4–10 days after preparation, still white and tender. Good frescal must be juicy, soft, slightly granulated (instead of rubbery), with a mild taste. It is not good for cooking, except with beef or pork (the juice helps change the taste of it). It can be used to make sandwiches.
Curado cheese is ready for consumption when the juice has evaporated and the cheese has solidified and acquired a yellowish tint. Good curado cheese must have a white core, punctured with tiny bubbles of air, slightly more granulated than frescal and with a stronger taste, tending to bitter. It is excellent for cooking, being used for a huge variety of dishes of all types, including Pastel de Queijo and the famous pão de queijo (cheese rolls).