Foods and Wines

These are probably the most representative of Spanish cheeses. Sheep have always played an important role in Spain. For more than seven centuries, Spain exported wool all over Europe through its powerful sheep-raising organization – La Mesta – which dominated agriculture until well into the 19th century. The large flocks covered huge distances in search of fertile pastures during the cold winter months, with the result that sheep now feature in almost all parts of Spain, especially the central plateau. This is their real ecosystem, with very cold winters and hot summers. With the decline of the wool trade, sheep began to be used more for their milk and, to a lesser extent, their meat.

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Today, Spain produces large amounts of sheep’s milk resulting in a large range of high-quality cheeses. They tend to all have the same shape and the standard marking on the rind of the imprint of the esparto grass straps traditionally used to squeeze out the whey. But there are some important differences, and the breeds differ — Merino, Latxa, Churro, Manchego – each of them adapted to a different territory and very much a part of the local grazing traditions. In addition to the well-known Manchego cheese, some outstanding ewes’ milk cheeses come from Extremadura – Torta de la Serena and Torta del Casar — both of which use thistle flowers as plant rennet.

 

Flor de GuíaFlor-de-Guía-do

Flor de Guía cheese: Whole milk or semi-skimmed, made primarily with Canary Island sheep’s milk, in which the milk is coagulated using exclusively vegetable rennet derived from the thistle flower (cynnara spp.).
Media Flor de Guía cheese: Whole milk or semi-skimmed, made primarily with Canary Island sheep’s milk, in which the milk is coagulated using more than 50% vegetable rennet derived from the thistle flower (cynnara spp.).
Guía cheese: Whole milk or semi-skimmed, made primarily with Canary Island sheep’s milk, in which the milk is coagulated using animal and/or vegetable rennet and/or other authorized fermenting agents. Continue Reading

 

IdiazabalIdiazabal-do

Pressed, hard cheese made from whole, raw sheep´s milk from the Latxa and Carranzana breeds, with a minimum ripening period of 60 days.

Tasting notes

A penetrating, clean aroma, reminiscent of ripe sheep´s milk. Depending on the time of year, the milk production area, the techniques used and the ripening period, the aroma has different degrees of piquancy, acidity and sweetness. In smoked cheeses, the smokiness in the paste should not be too pronounced.

The flavor is intense, full and balanced. Its clean consistency, with a marked taste of ripened sheep´s milk and a hint of the natural rennet are characteristic. The piquancy is slight, the sweetness and acidity are very slight to medium. There is no bitterness, the saltiness is of medium intensity and the smoky flavor is light to medium in smoked cheeses. A prolonged, pronounced aftertaste follows.

The cheese is compact, with medium elasticity and fairly firm. Grains can be detected when the cheese is chewed but it is not lumpy. Moisture is lost during ripening so, the longer this takes, the less elastic, more crumbly and harder the cheese becomes. Continue Reading

 

ManchegoManchego-do

Pressed cheese made from whole milk from Manchego sheep, and ripened for a minimum of 30 days for cheese weighing 1.5 kg or more, and 60 days for the remaining formats.

Tasting notes

A characteristic aroma and slightly sharp, intense flavor that becomes slightly piquant in well-ripened cheeses. The Manchego sheep´s milk gives a pleasant, unusual aftertaste. The texture is firm and compact. Continue Reading

 

RoncalRoncal-do

Pressed cheese made from whole sheep´s milk from the Rasa and Latxa breeds and F-1 Latxa X Milchschaf crossbreeds. Ripened for a minimum of 4 months.

Tasting notes

A pleasant, intense aroma. The flavor is strong, pronounced, slightly piquant, well-defined and buttery on the palate, with a blend of well-developed, sheelp´s milk flavors and a persistent aftertaste. Continue Reading

 

SerenaSerena-do

Soft to semi-hard cheese made from whole, raw milk from the Merino sheep breed, and cured for a minimum of 20 days.

Tasting notes

Characteristic aroma of sheep´s milk, with an intense, slightly bitter flavor and not at all salty. Buttery and persistent on the palate, with a slight piquancy in very ripe cheeses. The texture varies from creamy to spreadable. Continue Reading

 

Torta del CasarTorta-del-Casar-do

Cheese made from raw milk of sheep from the Merino and Entrefino breeds. Natural plant rennet is used for coagulation and ripening takes at least 60 days.

Tasting notes

Intense aroma and well-developed flavor with a touch of bitterness from plant rennet. Melts in the mouth and has very little saltiness. The texture varies from soft to spreadable. Continue Reading

 

ZamoranoZamorano-do

Pressed cheese made from the milk of sheep of the Churra and Castellana breeds, and ripened for a minimum of 100 days.

Tasting notes

Characteristic, intense, well-developed aroma and flavor. The aroma is reminiscent of the sheep´s milk the cheese is made from. Persistent in the mouth, with mainly sharp and salty flavors, plus a touch of piquancy. The texture is firm and compact. Continue Reading

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