By now, you’ve probably heard about the possibility of a pending Velveeta "shortage," which like the Sriracha "shortage," has caused a bit of a panic online.
Unlike the Sriracha issue, which I think could cause a bonafide if temporary lull in supply, I’m just not buying Kraft’s claim that there might not be enough Velveeta to go around in the next few weeks. It’s a highly processed product from a manufacturer that has meticulous control over production and a very clear understanding of demand.
The cynical me thinks that this is just an elaborate set-up for a Super Bowl commercial, but even if so much Velveeta is sold in the next few weeks that there is a shortage (marking a successful subversive marketing campaign on Kraft’s part), Austinites have a way better option when it comes to queso.
It can be hard to make a creamy queso without Velveeta, but that’s exactly why I liked the Austin-based Original Tex-Mex Queso so much. Its taste and texture reminded me of really excellent restaurant queso, the irresistible kind that you just can’t stop eating that’s thick, but more smooth than gooey.
For the past two years, the product has been one of the best-selling quesos at area Central Markets, but just this fall, the company was able to expand into more than 130 HEBs around the state.
The even better news is that, unlike Velveeta, Original Tex-Mex Queso is based on an old family recipe that they’ve updated to use all-natural cheeses, including Monterey Jack and American. They also make a seasonal variety with Hatch chiles that will likely be available again later this year.
The queso, which costs about $4.49 for 12 ounces, is sold in the refrigerated dairy section of stores, and you can find out more about the product at texmexqueso.com.