“If you pass by Época de Quesos (Cheese Times), you cannot miss visiting Tandil”. Such is the fame achieved by this old grocer’s that not visiting it is a real gastronomic sin…
At first sight, the old corner looks like a kind of pulpería or almacén de ramos generales that the passing of time has thrown into oblivion. We just need to cross the door in order to notice that we are in the paradise of cheese lovers.
They are the great protagonists of the site and come to life in any of their sizes, colors, shapes and flavors, also contributing with an irresistible aroma, a unique image where it is impossible to separate the present from the past.
The feeling becomes evident. Not only cheese and salami are sold here, but also history. Rodrigo and Victoria, Teresa’s children, along with their employees are in charge of assisting customers by making them taste the delicacies prepared at the four tambos that work for them.
Like a kind of pulpería
The paradise of cheese lovers
An irresistible aroma
Corner was not chamfered
Come to life in any of their sizes
Even the differences among the various kinds of cheese and their classification according to soft and hard pastes are taught. And obviously, they assure proudly that “all this place is the result of mum’s work and sacrifice”. Mum is Teresa Inza, one of the biggest and most creative dreamers that inhabit the beautiful city of Tandil.
Thus, we go around her house almost without noticing it and the tour becomes informal. Each of us walks at their own pace, admiring the little rooms, the patio and a beautiful matera recently opened to the public. Some nostalgic visitors are surprised to see objects and relics, such as the old cookies cans or apéritif bottles forgotten by time, hanging from the walls.
A photograph placed next to the cash register shows what the site used to look like many years ago and, as soon as they see it, they realize that there is no point in hurrying up inside that place.
The story began with the arrival of Ramón Santamarina. Around 1850, this young Spaniard came to Argentina and it was then that carts would leave from Buenos Aires to the Independencia fort (what today is called Tandil). These carts brought food and manufactured products, as well as people, and on their way back to Buenos Aires, they returned with feathers and cow leather to export them to Europe.
Ramón Santamarina used to make this trip twice or three times a year. After years of work, he managed to become the owner of his first cart, but the trips were not an easy undertaking. There were no roads but only the tracks of other carts and, also, the constant attacks from the Indians and the floods of the Salado River which would put an end to many arrieros’ lives when they attempted to cross it. Thus, during these trees, our friend realized that it was necessary to create posts to make a stop during the journey.
First, One Post
The Posta del Centro is one of them and it was raised in 1860. The place would then lodge horses and arrieros, who apart from resting, would talk and play cards in the main room, where the beverage shop would work.
By 1920, the Diez family had acquired the corner and the place became a general grocer’s which used to work under the name Almacén del Centro until it closed its doors in 1970. Those were other times, when people would trust something they do not nowadays: a man’s word. Thus, people would buy things on credit and that was controlled by means of a notebook called “de almacén”, which the customer had.
From 1970 to 1990, the place was closed and only two old ladies shared the corner till they both passed away. The Municipality of Tandil declared this house a historical monument, as it was the only house in the city whose corner was not chamfered. In 1990, Teresa Inza decided to look for a place to sell her products. After recycling it for almost one year, Época de Quesos was born at the same time an old personal dream came true.
We Close When We Leave
The night comes and I believe it is the moment to abandon Época. A long row of tourists waits to reach the counter and taste some of the recipes Teresa has been jealously keeping for more than thirty years …
And all of them are willing to wait. A filleted sign reads “We open when we arrive and we close when we leave” and it is quite true, because even if the moon has been looking at us from above for a while, no one seems to forget about the idea of tasting a piece of cheese …
Pablo Etchevers Pablo Etchevers
Contact of the excursion or tour
Época de Quesos
San Martín y 14 de Julio (7000) Tandil, Buenos AiresTel: +54 249-4448750
See more points of interest in Tandil