ACS CCP® Sheri Allen has the Sunday Blues:
Today’s Blue Cheese of the Day is Cabrales. I vividly remember the first time I tasted this cheese and Wow! It packs a punch! I was hosting a training session for my customers in AZ in 2009. The trainer conducting the session brought Cabrales to let everyone taste.
It’s no secret that I love blues. I grew up with blue cheese dressing as a staple. There was a restaurant in Tempe that made a homemade Roquefort dressing that I adored.
Cabrales, also known as Quesu Cabrales, Queso de Cabrales or Cabraliego, is a PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) awarded, Spanish semi-hard, fatty blue cheese, prepared within the administrative region of Cabrales Council and some towns in the Upper Peñamerella region. Both these areas are located at the foot of the Picos de Europa Mountains in Asturias.
The cheese is a mixture of raw cows, goats and sheep’s milk aged for between two and four months in natural formed limestone caves. Chilly and humid conditions in the caves facilitate the growth of bluish-green penicillium mould on this highly prized cheese. Unlike other blue cheeses injected with penicillium, Cabrales cures from the outside of the cheese to the inward.
A finished Cabrales can be characterized by its strong, penetrating aroma and sharp, acidic, slightly salty taste. It pairs well with red wine, fresh figs, salami, sweet sherry and dry sausages. The cheese is treasured as a base for sauces, for melting over grilled or roasted meats and goes well along with baguette slices, crackers, or fruit.
Earlier, a traditional Cabrales was sold wrapped in moist leaves of Acer pseudoplatanus. But today regulation requires the cheese be sold in a dark-green-coloured aluminum foil with the stamp of the PDO Queso de Cabrales.
The milk is first heated and curdled by the addition of rennet. The whey is removed from the curds, which are then packed into cylindrical molds called arnios, salted and left to cure and harden. After the initial curing period of around two weeks, the Cabrales is then aged a further two to five months in natural caves in the limestone mountains of the area. The cheeses are placed on wooden shelves known as talameras, where they are periodically turned and cleaned. Relative humidity in these caves is typically 90% and the temperature is a cool 7–13 °C (45–55 °F), conditions favoring the development of penicillium molds that produce blue-green veins throughout the cheese.
Made from unpasteurized cow’s, goat’s and sheep’s milk
Country of origin: Spain
Type: semi-hard, artisan, blue-veined
Fat content: 45%
Texture: creamy and firm
Rind: mold ripened
Flavour: acidic, salty, sharp
Congratulations to our 2017 ACS CCP Exam and Conference Winners: Kelley Jewell, Tyler Frankenberg, ACS CCP® Hazel-Rue Woodies and ACS CCP® Matt Bellingham. Thanks to the generous donations from cheese lovers everywhere, we are thrilled to send these four worthy recipients to Denver this July!!! You can read all the details here.