Farmstead Manchego, a Special Spanish Cheese
Manchego is the most popular Spanish cheese. It was named after La Mancha, the region where it's produced, which is also known for the famous character, Don Quixote.
Queso Manchego is the most popular Spanish cheese. Named after La Mancha, the region where it's produced, that is also the home of Miguel de Cervantes' famous character, Don Quixote, this sheep's milk cheese received the DOP seal in 1996, and is often used in traditional tapas in Spain.
The Manchego region includes four provinces: Albacete, Ciudad Real, Cuenca and Toledo. All stages of fabrication for this cheese must be carried out in this region.
This special hard cheese from Spain comes in a wheel form, and has a non-edible rind with a very unique pattern. In fact, Manchego cheese was traditionally made by pressing the curd into esparto grass baskets, which left a distinctive zig-zag pattern on the rind.
The aging time for Manchego can range from 60 days to two years.
What does Manchego cheese taste like?
Manchego is strong and slightly pungent. Generally speaking, it’s a full-fat cheese, but as with many other cheeses, Manchego's taste, color and consistency varies with the passing of time - from mild to a sharper, slightly more pungent flavor.
Manchego Cheese: Uses and Pairings
Manchego cheese can be used in many different ways. You can serve Manchego on a cheese board, along with other Spanish cheeses with different textures and ages (such as Torta del la Serena and Mahon). Or you can serve Manchego with honey and walnuts.
Pair the Manchego cheese with a good Tempranillo wine. Its lively red fruit notes counterbalance the strong flavor of the cheese. In fact, Manchego goes well with red wines that have a good amount of acidity, or with a rather sweet sherry. If necessary, you can dry the Manchego triangles with a clean, dry cloth before placing them on the cheese board.
Manchego Cheese: Recipes
You can make wonderful tapas with this cheese. Just place a piece of Manchego on a slice of bread and bake. Then add some red fruit jam and serve hot. Manchego can be served with olives, sun-dried tomatoes, crusty bread or replace a more common Cheddar in a gourmet sanwich.
And now a typical Spanish recipe with Manchego: thinly slice the cheese and then marinate it with olive oil to enhance its flavor even more.
Manchego is also good for grating or melting.
Where to buy Manchego cheese? In the Sensibus Shop! We have a a six-month old version, a rather young cheese that has a perfect balance between bite and creaminess.