Saturdays are my day for stopping by one of my favorite local foodie shops and looking around. I took my friend Terri today and we both gazed in awe at the cheese window.
I picked out an aged Manchego cheese from Spain…and also got some Speck ( a salt cured and smoked ham) and some marinated olives.
It made the perfect lunch. I have been trying out some new cheeses each week, and I’ve learned I tend to lean towards the aged cheeses, especially those with a little bite of sharpness and saltiness.
This aged Manchego fit both bills. I loved it.
Did you know that cheeses have requirements? Much like wine, certain cheeses have conditions on them as to where it is produced and what kind of milk it’s made from.
According to Wiki:
To be designated as Queso Manchego, the cheese must satisfy the following requirements:
- It must have been produced in an area that is restricted to designated parts of the provinces of Albacete, Ciudad Real, Cuenca and Toledo that lie within the La Mancha region.
- It can only be made with the whole milk of sheep of the Manchega breed that are raised on registered farms within the designated area.
- The cheese must have been aged for a minimum of 60 days (30 days for cheeses weighing up to 1.5 kg) and a maximum of two years.
- The cheese must be produced by pressing in a cylindrical mould that has a maximum height of 12 cm and a maximum diameter of 22 cm.
Manchego cheese can be made from pasteurised or raw milk; if the latter, it may be labelled as Artesano (artisan). The only permitted additives are natural rennet, or another approved coagulating enzyme, and sodium chloride (salt)
I love the rich peppery bite of this cheese. It can be grated and used salads and the like, but I prefer it just simply sliced with some meat and olives. That way I can savor the deliciousness of the flavor.
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