Manchego cheese is the most important and well-known sheep's milk cheese in Spain. It's cylindrical shape is very characteristic and defined due to the traditional use of esparto grass molds, which imprint a zigzag pattern along the sides of the cheese. The small wooden boards used for pressing the cheese imprint a wheat ear pattern on the top and bottom surfaces. Today's industrially produced cheeses have the same engraving.
Springbank Cheese handles true Queso Manchego, made from the whole, pasteurized milk of the Manchega sheep raised in the "La Mancha" region, a vast high plateau that is more than 600 metres above sea level, located southeast of Madrid, which encompasses the provinces of Toledo, Cuenca, Cuidad Real and Albacete. Manchego cheese has a long historic and literary tradition, as it was mentioned by Cervantes in the legendary Don Quixote of La Mancha. The designation "Queso Manchego" is protected under Spain's Denominación de Origen regulatory classification system and the cheese has had Protected Denomination of Origin (Denominación de Origen Protegida - D.O.P.) status since 1984. To qualify for such prestigious European Union status, the cheese must be produced in specifically designated parts of the four La Mancha provinces, made with the whole milk of sheep of the Manchega breed that are raised on registered farms within the designated area, be aged for a minimum of 60 days (30 days for cheeses weighting up to 1.5 kg) and a maximum of two years, and produced by pressing in a cylindrical mold that has a maximum height of 12 cm and a maximm diameter of 22 cm.
Manchego has a firm and compact consistency and a buttery texture, and often contains small, unevenly distributed air pockets. The cheese varies in colour from white to ivory yellow and the inedible rind from yellow to brownish beige. The flavour is distinctive - well developed but not too strong, creamy with a slight piquancy, and leaves an aftertaste characteristic of sheep's milk.
Springbank Cheese carries two varieties of Queso Manchego. Curado, aged from three to six months, is semi-firm and has a sweet nutty flavour. A good eating cheese, it melts well and is often used in quesadillas. Veijo, aged for one year, is firm with a sharper flavour and a rich deep pepperiness. Its intense taste and crumbly texture make it perfect to eat as is, perhaps with a slice of bread, or as tapas. It also grates well. As the focal point of Antipasto, either variety can be served with olives, sun-dried tomatoes or crusty bread, and is equally enjoyable as a snack or dessert with fruit or fruit tarts.
Beverage Pairings: Manchego pairs well with a robust red wine (Rioja) or a dry sherry (Fino). The aromatic intensity of a Manzanilla wine is also an excellent foil.
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Time for delivery: 1 to 2 weeks
This is a pasteruized sheep's milk cheese.