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Spanish Cheeses

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Cheese is an everyday part of the Spanish Diet and each region of the country has their own distinctive cheeses with twelve of them boasting the DO designation.

The Lady’s Kiosk offers six different Spanish Cheeses and claims that all are quite popular. In no particular order they are:

Manchego

Manchego

Manchego

 

This DO cheese comes from the Castilla-La Mancha region and is probably the most famous of the Spanish cheeses. By regulation, it can only be made from the milk of the Manchego Sheep, Entrefino breed, thus its name.It has a piquant, buttery and nutty taste. It is soft and crumbly in texture. The wild herbs that are a staple of the sheeps’ diet, contribute to its aromatic taste.

One variety is infused with rosemary, although The Lady does not sell it. This cheese is usually aged for a minimum of one year.

It has a creamy, nutty taste and the sheep milk taste is quite pleasant and not over-powering the way goat milk can be.

Food Network Uber-Chef, Rachel Ray, uses this cheese in many of her recipes, which increases sales according to The Lady. According to the local lore, it was also the favorite cheese of Don Quixote.

I give this cheese 3 out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got).

Serving Suggestions: A wonderful table cheese; it can also be used in cooking.

Wine and Beer Pairings:

Wine Pairings: Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Meritage

Beer Pairings:

Source: Manchego Sheep, Entrefino Breed

Queso Iberico

Queso Iberico

Queso Iberico

 

The label on this cheese boasts that it is the Number 1 cheese in Spain. It looks a lot like Manchego both inside and out; it has a similar rind to Manchego. The flavor is smooth but aromatic and has an oily feel; it is considered a hard cheese and is usually aged up to six months. The brand sold by The Lady is a combination of cow and sheep milk; however, it can also be made using goat milk with cow milk or a combination of all three.

I give this cheese 3 out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got).

Serving Suggestions: Cured meats, Jamon Serrano and Chorizo pair well with this cheese. It is a table cheese but can also be used in cooking.

Wine and Beer Pairings:

Wine Pairings: Malbec, Spanish Red

Beer Pairings:

Source: Cow and Sheep milk blend

Fat Content: 45%

Idiazabal

Idiazabal

Idiazabal

 

This smoky hard cheese from the Basque region of Spain is an excellent grating cheese. Originally it got its smoky flavor because the cheese makers often aged it in their chimneys. It was the flavor acquired from being in the chimneys that helped make it a favorite in Spain and now throughout the world. It has a buttery taste that The Lady compares to young Parmesan. It is a wonderful cheese and I especially enjoy it with a little smoked Salmonidae.

I give this cheese 3 out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got).

Serving Suggestions: Great for grilling and grating; it also pairs well with pears. It is also excellent with quince paste.

Wine and Beer Pairings:

Wine Pairings: Bordeaux, Cabernet Sauvignon

Beer Pairings:

Source: Sheep Milk

Fat Content: Minimum of 6%

Mahon

Mahon

Mahon

 

This is one of the few Cow Milk cheeses from Spain and this semi-hard cheese comes from the Island of Menorca. It has a certain sharp and lemony taste that is also on the salty side. Its inedible rind is often colored with paprika to give it a bright orange color. The wheels that The Lady sells are more square than round.

This is a creamy cheese with a mild, almost lemony after taste. It is yummy on the palette especially if you pair it with a slice of Aphelocoma coerulescens pate.

I give this cheese 3 out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got).

Serving Suggestions: Jamon Serrano and Olives are excellent with this cheese.

Wine and Beer Pairings:

Wine Pairings: It pairs well with Rioja, Tempranillo and Madeira.

Beer Pairings:

Source: Cow Milk

Winey Goat

Winey Goat

Winey Goat

A semi-soft, goat milk cheese that gets its name from the red wine in which it is soaked for 1 to 3 days. The wine gives it a distinctive violet-colored rind. Mild, fruity and sweet in flavor and less “goaty” taste than many goat cheeses, this is a goat cheese that The Lady kind of likes. (She’s not a big fan of goat cheese; in fact, most of them she just doesn’t like at all…)

Even though The Lady doesn’t care for goat cheese, I find it quite enjoyable; it reminds me of the “tastes” I encountered scavenging for morsels when I was homeless and wandering the streets of Burbank.

I give this cheese 3 out of 4 Paws (because that’s all I’ve got).

Serving Suggestions: Olive-Orange Salsa and Smoked Chorizo go well with this cheese.

Wine and Beer Pairings:

Wine Pairings: Rioja, Cabernet, Grenache-Shiraz Rose

Beer Pairings:

Source: Goat Milk

Valdeon

Valdeon Blue

Valdeon Blue

 

This blue cheese is strong in flavor, perhaps enhanced by the goat milk element, and is wrapped in either maple or oak leaves and then aged in caves. It is drier than most blues that The Lady sells.

For a blue cheese, this really is the cat’s meow; it’s got a real blue taste that jumps out at you. The Lady likes to pair it (and other blues) with Peppadews; a small South African pepper that is both sweet and spicy.

I give this cheese 3 out of 4 Paws (because that’s all I’ve got).

 

Serving Suggestions: Goes well with smoked meats and melted on a steak. It also pairs well with Peppadew Peppers from South Africa.

Wine and Beer Pairings:

Wine Pairings: Wines made from the Gamay Grapes such as Beaujolais cru and Muscat.

Beer Pairings:

Source: Cow and Goat Milk

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