In Chile we are no stranger to collusion, where different businesses price fix to set higher prices for all. In fact, several large pharmaceutical chains here in Chile were found guilty of price fixing (or colluding to fix prices), and had to give discounts to drug purchasers over the next few months. In the end, I though it was more a slap on the wrist than anything else, and didn’t much benefit, because I don’t often buy a lot of medicine.
But what does this have to do with cheese? Cheese is punishingly expensive in Chile, especially imported cheese. You can easily pay $6.50 (US) for a medium-sized chunk of cheddar cheese. Parmesan is pricey and often near spoiled at the supermarket (at least where I live), and blue cheese, when available, tops the charts for price.
Enter Quesos Arturito. This is my evidence that the supermarkets are raising the prices of products unnecessarily. Take, for example cream cheese. Cream cheese, in a brick, whether Philadelphia brand, Sta Rosa or any other brand, in the supermarket costs a minimum of 1900 and up to 2300 pesos. That’s more than four dollars, people. And it doesn’t do handstands or spread itself on your bagel automatically. It just sits there. And yet, at Quesos Arturitos, they manage to get us cream cheese (another brand, but really the same quality) for 990 pesos, or two dollars.
Shall I go on? Queso de cabra (aged goat cheese) costs 1750 the quarter at Quesos Arturito. At the supermarket, it’s 3,000 a quarter, give or take. Blue cheese is 990 for 100 grams, and about 1600 for 100 grams at the supermarket. Clearly the supermarkets are in cahoots to keep the prices high. Luckily, Quesos Arturito wants to save me from all that. And good prices on capers, butter and other deliciousness. They also have salame, but I don’t buy or eat that.
For every cheese (or anything else) I have purchased, this place always beats the price. By vast amounts. And lest you think I’m some kind of cheese snob, I want you to know that I also bought Heinz Ketchup. In the glass bottle. And if you were wondering, 990 pesos. Two dollars.
Disclaimer a) I don’t buy queso mantecoso or the other typically Chilean cow’s milk cheeses, because I don’t like them.
Disclaimer b) Sometimes they give me a free taste of the reggianato, but I think that’s just because I buy it, not because they know I’m a powerful cheese blogger. Hmmm, next career move, cheese blogger?
Cheese blogger, sure. I mean, there’s an entire book out there on the subject: http://www.amazon.com/Cheese-Primer-Steven-Jenkins/dp/0894807625/
What’s the address of Quesos Arturito? Next time I’m in Chile I’ll try to visit them.
Yummm, I’ll have to visit this place! It looks like a great way to break out of the fresco-chanco-mantecoso triad.
Hear, hear! I will help you shout Arturito’s praises. Supermarket cheese here all tastes the same…..well, actually, there’s no taste. Just gummy and white.
@ Carlos Duclos…Arturito’s is in the back of La Vega on the right-hand side, second-to-last stall. They also have a store on that street that runs behind La Vega. Don’t know the name of the street. It’s worth a visit.
Quesos Arturito lo mejor del sector, a un paso de la Vega central, y muy cerca de Juanito Ollas ,la mejor comida internacional a un precio popular !!!
You had me at the photo of the blue cheese. Great find. I think a trip to La Vega is in order this weekend!
Arturito is the bomb, the cheese bomb! Love it when the list for the supermercado gets smaller and smaller.
Yay for cheap(er) cheese!
Amen! If you go to the Arturito directly behind La Vega Central, its the cheapest. They have one side for retail, one side for wholesale. You can buy the cream cheese even cheaper, like 750-800 pesos, if you buy it by the box. It does last you know. In the OK Market by my place, it sells for 2990 pesos a pop!
New life goal: become a cheese blogger. Seriously though, I’ve heard such great things about Quesos Arturito and need to get my act together and go already!
The cost looks a bit steep to me (considering that its from a supermarket)
Cheese prices are steep in Chile, thought I’m not sure why. We pay a lot for consumer goods and imported consumer goods, and food and imported food. But when you want it, and are lucky enough to be able to afford it, it really hits the spot!