These cheeses are defined more by the way they are made than by the milk used. There are soft-paste cheeses that are left unpressed precisely so that the penicillium mold, which is what defines and characterizes them, can develop naturally in the gaps in the curds. The cheeses are first brushed with the mould then left in a cool, very damp atmosphere so that the mold can gradually penetrate, forming the characteristic blue veins.
All Spanish blue cheese comes from the same geographical area in the Picos de Europa mountain range in north-central Spain or, more specifically in the triangle formed by the provinces of León, Asturias and Cantabria, a natural paradise for cheese-making. The many natural caves in which the cheese is stored while ripening offer ideal conditions for spontaneous generation of the mold. Some of these cheeses, such as the famous Cabrales, are the Spanish contribution to the top-ranking blue cheeses, standing alongside Roquefort, Gorgonzola and Stilton.
Blue-veined cheese made essentially from whole, raw cow’s milk or from a mixture of two or three types — cow, sheep and goat’s milk. Ripening lasts for a minimum of two months and takes place in natural cave.
A balanced flavor, varying in intensity depending on the type of milk used. It must not be overly salty, nor bitter nor intensely astringent. It has medium piquancy, especially when made from pure sheep´s or goat´s milk or mixtures. It has a pronounced, persistent aftertaste. The aroma is penetrating and intense, varying according to the type of milk used, with the most intense aroma coming from goat´s milk. The lactic family predominates although, since in this cheese the essential micro-organism is Penicillium, lipolytic activity leads to the liberation of very complex compounds. The smell is clean and pleasant, with a touch of piquancy and nuttiness reminiscent of hazelnut, almond, etc. The texture should be even throughout, with very fine, almost imperceptible graininess. Continue Reading
A ripe, high-fat cheese, with a natural rind, made from cow´smilk (from the Friesian, Asturiana de los Valles, Alpine Brown breeds and crossbreeds of them), sheep´s milk (from the Latxa, Carranzana and Milschalfe breeds and crossbreeds of them) and goat´s milk (from the Alpine-Pyrenean, Picos de Europa, Murciano-Granadina and Saanen breeds and crossbreeds of them) or from mixtures of two of these three types of milk. The cheese is lightly smoked and has a light bloom of greenish-blue penicillium close to the edges.
The main, but mild flavor is of smoke, with a slight pungency. In the mouth it becomes buttery, with a lingering aftertaste of hazelnuts.
The aroma is a little smoky, but clear and penetrating, becoming more intense in riper cheeses. The color of the paste is white or yellowish-white, with a light bloom of greenish-blue penicillium close to the edges. The outside color is unusual. Smoking gives the cheese a reddish-brown color that then takes on red, green and blue tinges from the molds that form during ripening in caves or cellars.
The interior appearance is loose, with holes. The paste has a hard or semi-hard consistency. It is firm but, when cut, crumbles. Eyes are small and unevenly distributed. Continue Reading
Blue cheese made from cow, sheep or goat´s milk, or mixtures of two or all three of them, from the Tudanca, Swiss Brown and Friesian cattle breeds, the Latxa sheep breed and the Pyrenean and Picos de Europa goat breeds. Curing lasts a minimum of two months and takes place in natural caves.
The flavor is well-developed, intense, penetrating and very buttery, and the aroma is reminiscent of fresh mold. Continue Reading
Blue cheese, made from cow and goat´s milk, sometimes with sheep´s milk in addition to or instead of the goat’s milk. Ripening lasts at least two months for cheese made from raw milk, and one and a half for those made from pasteurized milk.
Intense flavor, slightly lactic, salty, piquant and a little spicy-hot. It has a caramelized aroma and buttery texture that melts in the mouth. Beaten cheeses have the same aroma and flavor, but the texture is creamy, becoming more so as the temperature rises. Continue Reading