Good cheese is hard to come by in La Paz. You can buy ‘Cheddar’ and ‘Gouda’ but you’ll be disappointed at the plastic consistency. You can fry tasty queso criollo (like halloumi), but it doesn’t melt which makes a lot of cheese recipes impossible.
But, if you’re willing to pay for it, there is Flor de Leche. Run by a Belgian, located in Achocalla (just outside of La Paz), and producing organic, European-style cheeses and dairy products, Flor de Leche is sold in all the supermarkets here. And, you can visit their factory in Achocalla. Even better, they have a restaurant there which serves fondue and raclette.
Hell, I didn’t even know what raclette was until I saw the table next to me. But that saturday lunchtime, sitting on a lawn eating a big pot of melted cheese, I could be forgiven for forgetting I was in the middle of the altiplano. Except that the fondue came with little potatoes as well as bread and salad. Unlimited potatoes, bread and salad. It was good. Really good. The perfect way to get a cheese fix in La Paz.
After stuffing ourselves on fondue (which was meant for two but easily fed the three of us), we asked our waiter if we could see where they made the cheese. Although no one was working in the factory at the weekend, he got the keys and opened up the processing areas to show us. It was pretty cool seeing lots of cheeses floating in the dark.
Flor de Leche
Contact: (591-2) 2890011 it’s necessary to make reservations
Open: Saturday and Sunday
Cost: Fondue / Raclette 150Bs, Pizza 75Bs
Directions: No.4 Calle 4 de Abril. From La Paz or Zona Sur, take a bus to Mallasilla, get off at the roundabout and change buses to Achocalla (it might be the same bus you’re on, so ask the driver). You can also get a bus direct from El Alto. Stay on the bus as it goes past the lake in Achocalla and look out for a small wooden sign on the left. Flor de Leche is a few minutes down the alley.