Picon Bejes-Tresviso PGI
The production area covers villages in the district of Liébana in the south-west of the Autonomous Community of Cantabria: Potes, Pesaguero, Cabezón de Liébana, Camaieño, Castro Cillorigo, Tresviso and Vega de Liébana as well as Peñarrubia.
The different types of milk are used in proportions that vary according to the season, although the Regulatory Council recommends the ideal blend for obtaining balanced fat and protein content. Coagulation is by lactic acid, with the exact amount of starter being added for the process to take place at 22-26ºC (71-78ºF) during a minimum of one hour.
The resulting curds are cut gently to the size of hazelnuts, then left to stand for 15 minutes after which the whey is drained off until the curds are dry. They are then squeezed, forming balls 1-2 cm (½-¾”) across. These are then transferred to molds but are not pressed, allowing Penicillium mold to develop in the gaps. After 2-3 hours, the molds are turned and left to stand for 24 hours.
Salting is carried out using dry salt, in a proportion of 2-3% of the weight of the cheese. The first day, one side is salted, the second the other, and on the third day the mold is removed and the sides are salted.The cheese is then aired for 12-18 days at a temperature of 15-18ºC in storage rooms where air currents help it dry out.
It is then transferred to natural limestone caves for ripening, usually in the local area and at altitudes of 500-2,000 m (1,640-6,561 ft). Inside these, the temperature is 5-10ºC (41-50ºF) and relative humidity is between 85-95%. The caves must have vents that facilitate the development of “penicillium” inside the cheese and “Brevibacterium linens” on the outside.
Ripening takes at least two months, starting from the date of coagulation and including the necessary turning and cleaning to give the cheese its special characteristics.
The Regulations do not allow alteration of the natural characteristics of the rind by, for example, coating it with wax, paraffin wax, plastic substances or colorants. The traditional use of sycamore maple (Acer pseudoplatanus) leaves is allowed.
The flavor is well-developed, intense, penetrating and very buttery, and the aroma is reminiscent of fresh mold.
The drum shape is flat on the top and bottom and 7-15 cm (2¾-6”) high. The weight and diameter may vary. The rind is soft, thin, creamy and gray, with yellow-green patches. The paste is compact, with eyes, and creamy in consistency but may be crumbly, depending on the length of curing. The color is white, with greeny-blue patches and veins. The percentage of fat in dry matter must be no less than 45% and moisture 30%.
– Spanish Ministry of Agriculture
– Regulatory Council, Picon-Bejes-Tresviso PDO
Consejo Regulador de la IGP Picón Bejes-Tresviso
C/ Héroes 2 de Mayo, 27
Tel: (+34) 942 269 855
Fax: (+ 34) 942 269 856