The Cantabrian coast, from Galicia to the Basque Country in northern Spain, is known as Green Spain. It is a long, narrow strip stretching over 1,000 km (620 miles) and measuring about 100 km (62 miles) wide. Its climate is cool and rainy and the typical landscape is one of green valleys and mountains. This makes a very suitable ecosystem for cattle, of which there are over 15 breeds, including some local breeds. Their milk is used to make a wide variety of cheeses, produced in many different ways, with different shapes, sizes, curing methods, etc.
The main livestock in this ecosystem is the cow. But cows’ milk cheeses are also produced in other parts of Spain, such as the island of Menorca (in the Balearic Islands), the Pyrenees, etc. Although dairy cattle are also to be found in other regions alongside other livestock, it is not so relevant for cheese making as in the north.
A soft, full-fat cheese made from pasteurized whole cows’ milk of the Friesian and Asturiana de los Valles breeds.
The flavor is slightly sharp, and just lightly salted or even bland. The texture is creamy and fairly dry. The red cheese has a strong, piquant flavor, which becomes pasty and astringent as it is swallowed (‘pitu’ is a colloquial term in the Asturian dialect for the pharynx). The aroma is characteristically mild, becoming more marked with ripening. The consistency of the paste starts off being soft and spreadable but, with ripening, it gradually becomes harder and one of main characteristics of this cheese is its crumbliness, making it impossible to cut clear through it. Continue Reading
Cheese made from raw or pasteurized cow’s milk from the Rubia Gallega, Friesian and Parda-Alpina breeds and cross-breeds, with a minimum 6-day ripening period.
Arzúa-Ulloa cheese: a milky aroma, reminiscent of butter and yogurt, with shades of vanilla, cream and walnut, mild strength. The flavor is basically milky, slightly salty with medium to low acidity. It has a smooth, low to medium moist texture; not very firm and with medium elasticity. It is soluble and melts in the mouth.
Arzúa-Ulloa farmhouse cheese: the physical and analytical features of this cheese are the same as described above.
Arzúa-Ulloa aged cheese: a very intense, milky aroma, with a distinctive strong smell of slightly rancid butter. It has a penetrating and sharp smell. The cheese has a salty flavor, with low acidity and medium to low bitterness. It is predominantly buttery, with slight vanilla and nutty notes that can fluctuate between the center and the rind. It has a distinctive sharpness. The aftertaste is bitter, with hints of butter and vanilla. Continue Reading
Full-fat, mature cheese made from whole, unpasteurized cow’s milk. The milk used for producing the protected cheeses comes from cows of the Asturiana de la Montaña o Casina, Asturiana de los Valles and Frisona breeds and crosses between them. The cheese is made by enzymatic coagulation and the semi-hard or hard paste is kneaded.
The paste is firm, semi-hard to hard, a yellowish color, with no eyes, although it may have small cracks. It is crumbly when cut and has a buttery texture on the palate. It has a homogenous and plastic consistency, with a strong, powerful aroma. The cheese is a dark creamy yellow color with whitish shades. Each producer’s own seal is stamped with a die into the top of the cheese.
The flavor depends on the production process, especially on the number of times it is kneaded in the kneading machine: if kneaded heavily, it has a bitter, spicy, strong flavor, an acquired taste for palates unused to it, and with the penetrating, rustic aroma of butter seasoned by time. If the cheese has been kneaded less heavily, the flavor is the same, although less intense. In all cases, it has a strong, full-bodied, persistent, spicy flavor, slightly bitter at the back of the mouth, with a strong aftertaste. Continue Reading
Unripened or ripe cheese, made from cows’ milk from the Rubia Gallega, Alpine Brown and Friesian breeds reared locally.
The unripened cheese does not have a distinctive rind. The paste is white, grainy, soft, rather like clay to the touch, creamy, and melts in the mouth. The flavor and aroma are slightly sharp, similar to those of the milk the cheese is made from. The cured cheese has a light rind, and the paste, from yellow to bright yellow, is sometimes hard and always more firm than buttery. The flavor is slightly piquant and lactic, with a characteristic aroma. Continue Reading
Pressed cheese made from pasteurized, whole milk from Friesian cows, with a minimum ripening period of 45 days.
A mild, pleasant, sweet flavor with a fruity, penetrating, slightly nutty aroma. Soft, creamy texture. Continue Reading
Cheese made from whole milk, mostly cow´s milk but occasionally mixed with sheep or goat’s milk, from Tudanca, Swiss Brown and Friesian cows, Latxa ewes and Pyrenean and Picos de Europa goats. Ripened for a minimum of fifteen days.
Mild in flavor, acidulate and buttery, with a characteristic aroma. The smoked variety has a more-developed, acidulates, cured flavor, with the typical smoky aroma. Continue Reading
Pressed cheese made from whole cow´s milk from Friesian, Menorcan and/or Brown Swiss cows, occasionally with a maximum of 5% of sheep´s milk from the Menorcan breed of sheep. Ripened for a minimum of 21 days.
The flavor is generally mildly acidic. The young cheese is mild, the semi-cured has a slight flavor of butter and nuts, especially hazelnuts, and medium persistence in the mouth. The flavor of the cured cheese is complex and intense, with touches of aged wood, tanned leather or the ripening chamber. Its piquancy increases with maturity, and persistence in the mouth is long.
The cheese has lactic aromas, with a slight reminiscence of butter and a characteristic acidity, all of which increase during ripening.
The young cheese is soft and elastic, the semi-cured cheese is firmer and easy to cut, and the cured cheese has a firmer, harder, less elastic texture. When well-ripened, it may be crumbly or flaky when cut. Continue Reading
The flavor is very mild, between sweet and sharp. The aroma of fresh cream has a slight sparkle and the texture is firm, creamy, and very buttery and melts in the mouth. Continue Reading
San Simon da Costa
Smoked cheese made from raw or pasteurized cow’s milk from the Rubia Gallega, Parda-Alpina and Friesian breeds and cross-breeds, with a minimum 30-day ripening period. It has a distinctive shape, like a large spinning top, with a flat base and a pointed tip.
It has a typical aroma and flavor, with a smoky note from using birch wood. The cheese texture is fine, fatty, semi-hard, semi-elastic and dense; it has a creamy yellow color and cuts smoothly. Continue Reading
The aroma and flavor are reminiscent of fresh cows’ milk and/or butter. The flavor is mild, not pungent, without acidity or excessive bitterness, and may include touches of vanilla and walnut as well as light notes that are not present in the aroma. This may lead to a smell of cream, vanilla and walnut. The cheese has high deformability and adhesiveness, medium creaminess and solubility, light elasticity and friability in the mouth, light granularity, medium moisture and medium to high fattiness. Continue Reading