pixel

La Cava de Marcelo
By Martina

La Cava de Marcelo: Happy Cows Make Great Cheese

By Martina
Photos by Bill Veale Graphics

La Cava de Marcelo

Are you hankering for a new Baja adventure less traveled and close to home? If you love natural and aged cheeses, paired with a fine wine in a beautiful setting, put La Cava de Marcelo on your Baja can’t wait to do list.

It is a twenty-five mile drive east of Ensenada, on a winding road through the foothills, until Valle Ojos Negros opens up like a dry basin extending into startling green fields. This is the valley of the cheese makers. It is said that there are at least 15 ranchos in production, however only La Cava de Marcelo welcomes visitors.

It all started with happy cows one hundred years ago. A young Swiss-Italian immigrant bought the land in this valley and later became a Mexican citizen. He chose the German Holstein cow for milk production because of its flavor over the Swiss Jersey cow. M.R. Ramonetti used this meticulous formula for the production of the best quality of aged cheeses. It is a matter of the correct blending of all of nature’s factors and the soil itself. So, in the end the flavors carry the unique characteristics of the area. Marcelo Castro is the fourth generation of cheese makers and has carried his great-grandfathers all-natural recipe into today. There are no hormones added and Marcelo does not compromise flavor by pasteurizing. However, a state of the art milking machines and stainless steel processing vats have been added.

La Cava de Marcelo

The fragrance of alfalfa and healthy cows float out on the breeze as the smart and articulate staff take you on a tour of the barns and milking area, as well as the small spotless processing plant. The cows actually know when it is their turn to be milked, so besides being happy cows they are also smart. There is a special process and time of feeding, during each day, and the cows know it. When they have done their duty and given of their milk, they are put out to pasture where clover is found. Fresh alfalfa and clover, as well as hay, all add to the flavor of the cheeses.

A hush greets you as you are guided down several flights of stairs deep into the earth. There is an ancient feeling in the flagstone lined walls where the temperature and moisture never varies. At this stage in the aging process a consistent temperature is vital. Tables are set up surrounded by glassed-in shelves, holding hundreds of cheese rounds in different stages of aging. A large round of natural wood is the table’s centerpiece with the seven cheeses placed in order for tasting. The first four are the fresh cheeses; beginning with the natural flavor, then followed by a choice of basil, pepper or rosemary. These are followed by three aged cheeses of six months, one year and three years. To cleanse the palate, you may want to pair this tasting with the rich flavor and mellow finish of Romanetti 1911; a blend of Zinfandel, Cabernet and Petite Sirah. La Cava de Marcelo The lovely young guide informs us that each of the hundreds of cheese rounds have to be "flipped" once a day. It seems, without flipping the cheese, it will not stay in its form, but start to ooze out into a pancake. It was a wild thought and before I did the math, I asked, how many times a round of 4-year old cheese had to be flipped and I wondered out loud if there was an actual job title called Cheese Flipper? Laughing, our guide said it was actually a great job to have on very hot days during the summer months.

In this pastoral setting with its expanse of manicured lawns and old pepper trees shading the picnic tables, makes for a relaxing afternoon. There is a natural grace that comes with a family owned business, where visitors feel very welcomed and there is no rush to leave. Marcelo and the staff are ever present and their attention is refreshing. There is an intriguing lunch menu that includes such things as fresh marlin and duck tortas. Of course there is the ever present cheese and wine. The day ends with all senses being filled and refreshed. You are guaranteed to leave happy and it started with the happy cows.

La Cava de Marcelo

Directions: Dropping into the Ojos Negros valley you will come to a Pemex station, proceed past the turn off to Ojos Negros for 2.5 miles and watch for a sign to left turn. Continue for 4.4 miles. This is a nice paved road for a distance and will turn into graded gravel for a couple of miles. Contact them for details. They are open Thurday - Sunday at 1pm.

If you are unable to make the trip all the way into the valley to see the happy cows, Marcelo has a restaurant in Ensenada, Casa Marcelo. One local says, "Casa Marcelo is really a little slice of La Cava de Marcelo."

Martina's email: mteomaya(at)gmail.com

4.7 162 Reviews
  • user logo
    Paul Niehouse
    From logo

    Extremely easy to acquire a policy. Many options available. Reasonable rates.

  • user logo
    don letson
    From logo

    Great renewal process, if only south Dakota would do the same for car registration.

  • user logo
    Rivera Jose
    From logo

    Quick easy to navigate website

  • user logo
    Kenneth Trass
    From logo

    Getting a policy was simple, Provided more than provider for price comparison.

  • user logo
    robert kepper
    From logo

    They are very good . There website doesn't show you need a title to bring a vehicle across the border.I was stopped and told I had to...

  • user logo
    Supercalifragilistic Expialadosious
    From logo

    Thank God I had a safe trip but it did have me at peace knowing I was fully covered. The staff were friendly and very helpful.

  • user logo
    Jennifer Toups
    From logo

    Baja Bound is and has been my go to Mexico insurance company. The website is extremely easy to use, keeps all your info for a quick...

  • user logo
    richard carr
    From logo

    fast replies and great price!

  • user logo
    Matt B
    From logo

    I always use Baja Bound to source my insurance while traveling to Mexico. Fortunately, I have not had to file any claims. I do appreciate...

  • user logo
    Mehdi Fahid
    From logo

    I reapplied for my Baja Bound Mexican car Insurance yesterday and I spoke to Ms. Shauna. This lady processed my application quickly and...

  • user logo
    Jeff Bunker
    From logo

    Great coverage options . Price buy and print policy , very quick and easy , highly recommend them when driving in Mexico

  • user logo
    Ryan Frisby
    From logo

    We use them every time we travel to Mexico. Luckily we have not needed their services yet but getting insurance through them is quick and...

  • user logo
    Mariano Velazquez
    From logo

    Baja Bound is #1. They make getting Baja Mexico insurance a pleasure.

  • user logo
    RaMon McBride
    From logo

    I have not had any claims thus far so rating is based on ease of purchase.

  • user logo
    Jose Paez
    From logo

    Had a great experience getting insurance at Baja Bound, before I always stoped at the border to purchase my insurance, not anymore. By the...

  • user logo
    Jeff Brandt
    From logo

    so far so good, however I have read good things about them

  • user logo
    Rail1riders
    From logo

    Quick, easy, well designed website and not just for Baja. Good rates for temporal residente gringos. We’re now living in Jalisco. Printed...

  • user logo
    Larry Cottingham
    From logo

    Great service, very helpful people there.

  • user logo
    Luis Cortes
    From logo

    Easiest way to purchase insurance when traveling to Mexico. I have used their service for the last 7 years and it only gets easier and...

  • user logo
    Gabe Matthews
    From logo

    Where do i start..... you dont know you have good insurance until you have to actually use it. I have had Baja Bound INS for over 5 years...

  • user logo
    Jolene Bibian
    From logo

    Shauna at Baja Bound was AWESOME!! We had specific questions about how to quote the policy based on our vehicle type and she was super...

  • user logo
    Lourdes Montoya
    From logo

    Easy, fast, and affordable.

  • user logo
    j dougher ty
    From logo

    Great service, EZ and reasonbably priced. Been using Baja Bound for many years now. Great company and people!

  • user logo
    jos en elly balemans - wouters
    From logo

    We were trying to get an insurance for our RV in Mexico, we come from Europe and we drive with Belgium license plates. I tried a lot of...

  • user logo
    Richard Schweiger
    From logo

    Very professional, very helpful, great policy, I couldn't be happier with Baja Mexican Insurance, the friendly smiles and ease of it all in...

  • user logo
    Benjamin Driebe
    From logo

    Absolutely fantastic, I already forgot her name because I have a terrible memory but the woman that helped me on the phone was wonderful,...

  • user logo
    Esther Valencia
    From logo

    Super easy to purchase just the coverage you need when crossing the border in your own car. I especially appreciate the fact that I was...

  • user logo
    Kelly Carney
    From logo

    Yara is very helpful and explains everything. Love working with companies like this.

  • user logo
    JUSTINE SERRANO
    From logo

    I purchased insurance through them & CHUBB for our trip to San Felipe. Unfortunately, we had to cancel due to our vehicle having an oil...

  • user logo
    Susana Judd
    From logo

    Easy, quick and fair prices. Easy to deal with if needed.

  • user logo
    masa SAL.
    From logo

    Good seevice have use baja bound for many years good price....

  • user logo
    Rebecca Newell
    From logo

    Great service!

  • user logo
    Benny Marquez
    From logo

    Great company and they use CHUBB which is a top notch insurance company.We got our policy online 30min before crossing the border and were...

  • user logo
    Adrianna Dorsey
    From logo

    Great company, great prices, and even better customer service. We've lived in Baja for 7 years and have used them for the past 6years....

  • user logo
    Angie Rodriguez
    From logo

    I wish every company was as easy to deal with as Baja Bound. I ended up staying in Baja longer than expected and it took a 3 minute phone...

  • user logo
    Kierian Kuklok
    From logo

    I have been a customer for years and when I really needed them they stepped up in every way. I had a freak accident to my car and they...

  • user logo
    Marilyn Moore Gianetti
    From logo

    Easy to renew, offers the best coverage for me to feel comfortable while driving in Mexico.

  • user logo
    Larry French
    From logo

    By far the best service for Mex insurance in Baja. They are personally there for you if you have problems south of the border.

  • user logo
    Jason Ware
    From logo

    Easy to buy Mexico car insurance from and good service

  • user logo
    Jay Ross
    From logo

    Super easy to sign up for insurance for both our Truck and Four Wheel Pop-Up camper. We had no issues while driving south of the boarder......

  • user logo
    Edilver Martinez
    From logo

    Our go to Baja car insurance, everytime we take a visit down south . Usually it's for a day trip either for a quick getaway with the family...

  • user logo
    Art Eugenio
    From logo

    I've had Baja Bound insurance for more that ten years now with thousands of miles logged in Baja. Fortunately, I've only had one fender...

  • user logo
    Slumdog Gump
    From logo

    Changed some money. Good rate and friendly people.

  • user logo
    keith berkley
    From logo

    Been going to baja for 45 years. This is best insurance company i have come accross.

  • user logo
    Chyla Nava
    From logo

    Great, easy to use service. I haven't had to file a claim (and hope I never have to) but the online portal is very easy to use, and it's...

  • user logo
    Christian Minor
    From logo

    Team were on point, provided inside information, prices were great and they had my proposal already in the system when I called back....

  • user logo
    Robert Goody Good Real Estate Mesquite Nevada
    From logo

    Thank goodness never had to use this. Great interactive website to huy.

  • user logo
    Ryan Perkio
    From logo

    I have been using BajaBound Insurance for 15 years - multiple trips per year. Their website is easy, their coverage is great, and the...

  • user logo
    Louis Schneidman
    From logo

    I had an awesome experience with Baja Bound. Family owned and highly personal, top notch customer service. I have total peace of mind...

  • user logo
    Darrin Baxter
    From logo

    I recently purchased insurance for my trip with Baja Bound because of their reputation and reviews. Easy enough to purchase and print...

  • user logo
    John I. Mitchell
    From logo

    Professional and affordable.

  • user logo
    richard colman
    From logo

    This is an update to my previous review. Baja Bound, unbidden on my part, reached out to me to assist. They coordinated a contact with...

  • user logo
    Roberto Garcia
    From logo

    Easy and fast in less than 10 minutes you could have insurance for Mexico. I have used them for about 8 years already.

  • user logo
    Nicolas Dervé
    From logo

    Very good ans very fast. We hope all will ben good if we need it.

  • user logo
    Tracy Moore
    From logo

    Very easy, quick, and professional

  • user logo
    George
    From logo

    Excellent customer service

  • user logo
    Tony Vigil
    From logo

    My wife and I were in Baja the 1st week of October. Insurance through Baja Bound was quick and easy. Thank you

  • user logo
    benjamin bakke
    From logo

    Easy insurance for peace of mind

  • user logo
    Kyle Spahn
    From logo

    I have used Baja Bound for years. Very easy and affordable.

  • user logo
    Blake Glassco
    From logo

    I will never drive south of the border without Baja Bound in my center console. I was in an accident a couple hours south of Ensenada and...

  • user logo
    Mike Dahl
    From logo

    Signing up for policies is super easy. Never had a claim and hope I don't have to. But the service and process was fast and good.

  • user logo
    JohnPaul Gemelli
    From logo

    Baja Bound could not have made it an easier ... also, I made a mistake and called them having to leave a message ... but, they called back...

  • user logo
    Stephen Graham
    From logo

    Super simple, inexpensive, easy to work with, amicable and great communication

  • user logo
    Tudor Thomas
    From logo

    Baja Bound makes buying insurance for going south of the border as easy as it gets. The website is the easiest I have used and the staff...

  • user logo
    Jeff Dippel
    From logo

    Honestly their app is so fantastic and saves all my info I can literally buy the same insurance for my Baja trips in less than 45 seconds...

  • user logo
    Cesar Lopez
    From logo

    Very convenient, great price !!

  • user logo
    Sengoz N
    From logo

    SERIOUS.

  • user logo
    Charles Gee
    From logo

    Incredibly fast and painless. Paid about $180 for a month of coverage. It was easier than going on line.

  • user logo
    Steve Bender
    From logo

    Have never needed to use the insurance fortunately but the website always works great. Can buy a policy in about a minute.

  • user logo
    Kellye Pummill
    From logo

    Fast and easy!

  • user logo
    Howard M Elster
    From logo

    2nd year with Chubb. No problems

  • user logo
    Juan Zuniga
    From logo

    I just would like to know if you guys are going to update the fastpass direction any soon, during the month of January the lane changed to...

  • user logo
    robert
    From logo

    If you are going to Mexico Baja Bound is excellent. Buy online, good price, good quality. Fast and efficient.

  • user logo
    Phil Noble
    From logo

    If you’re looking for Mexican Insurance that you can trust and feel good about while traveling in Mexico, you’ve found the right place....

  • user logo
    Joey Digiovanni
    From logo

    Easy to work with 😉. Always courteous and helpful. Have used them for all trips to Mexico. Easy website to navigate

  • user logo
    Maria Elena Smith
    From logo

    Easy and affordable.

  • user logo
    Daniel “Dan M” Markofsky
    From logo

    Third time working with Baja Bound and they made it easy! Thanks!

  • user logo
    Cyndee Congrove
    From logo

    Great customer service, quick, friendly staff helpfully answered all questions, very patient with my learning curve on a new product. Would...

  • user logo
    Teresa Stricker
    From logo

    Great service and prices!

  • user logo
    Juan Zavala
    From logo

    Excellent

  • user logo
    Seismic Waterfinder
    From logo

    Very excellent service, needed insurance for Mexico, price was fair. The custumer service rep was Yara

  • user logo
    Mike Oveson
    From logo

    Baja Bound made it SO EASY to purchase insurance for our one week trip to Tijuana. I would definitely use them again for future trips and...

  • user logo
    Jeff G
    From logo

    Went down to TJ June 11 2020 No problems going into TJ but the way back was a ordeal 6 hours in line to get back into the USA but no...

  • user logo
    Colin
    From logo

    Super-easy and instant. Very happy with initial purchase.

  • user logo
    Jan Muhammad
    From logo

    I need a tourist visa for maxico I'm from pakistan help me sir

  • user logo
    Dennis Rogers Viejo Loco Chingon
    From logo

    Mexican Insurance made easy, I have used Baja Bound Mexican Insurance for all most 5 years, price and ease is great, luckily I have never...

  • user logo
    Mark Sokol
    From logo

    Easy to obtain, good quality, auto insurance for Mexico.

  • user logo
    Gary Counts
    From logo

    So convenient and easy to navigate thru the online process. I'll never use any other Mexican insurance service!

  • user logo
    Jose Feliciano
    From logo

    Hola exelente serbicio rapido ya no pierdo tienpò esperando en Ningun otro lado ...lo ago. En linia cuando voy de Camino y ya .... ...

  • user logo
    Andreas Hansen
    From logo

    Was planning to go to Mexico, but unfortunately my bike broke down. Got very friendly and fast service from Rigo. A full refund within back...

  • user logo
    len buckholtz
    From logo

    SIMPLE, STRAIGHTFORWARD. OLD GUYS LIKE THAT. WILL DEFINITELY USE IN 6 MONTHS IF STILL RUNNING AROUND THE WILDS OF BAJA.

  • user logo
    Edward Ramos
    From logo

    Great service, quick response time.

  • user logo
    Nereyda Torres
    From logo

    Me gusta la asuguranza porque la puedes comprar por un dia y te asegura en Mexico por el tiempo que vas ya sea hasta por mes (Translated...

  • user logo
    Refugio I. Rochin
    From logo

    Excellent online and by direct phone. Spanish and English with proven response to questions. Website is very informative about driving in...

  • user logo
    james whitmer
    From logo

    Best insurance I've had so far

  • user logo
    John Ellis
    From logo

    A very easy to use website and good selection and rates. In the 10 years I have travelled in Baja, this is the only site I have used.

  • user logo
    Pim Handgraaf
    From logo

    Great company. unlike their competitors, Baja Bound answers the phone and you're talking to a real person. Highly reccomend!

  • user logo
    Isi Soto
    From logo

    Easy to get and the price is right

  • user logo
    Aj
    From logo

    Reasonable prices and we thought best chance to actually get results if we needed them.