They say that there is nothing more satisfying than a glass of a good wine. Nothing that is, save when it’s paired with an equally satisfying cheese. Whether you prefer it as a snack on a platter, to spread on a warm loaf of bread or as part of a decadent recipe, cheese adds that special touch to any dish.
Spain boasts over one hundred different types of cheese. Hard as it was, here is our selection of a few of its most emblematic cheeses…
Our first choice is Spain’s most internationally recognized cheese, Manchego. It hails from La Mancha region in central Spain. The region was also Don Quixote’s hometown and under Spanish Denominación de Origen regulations it can only be produced from sheep bred in this area. It is usually aged from two months (fresco – more mild flavour) to two years (Viejo – sharper taste). We recommend ordering some when you go for tapas.
Idiazábal is another type of cheese made from sheep’s milk; this has a slightly smoked flavour. It is also under the Denominación de Origen and is produced in the Basque Country and Navarra. When it comes to cheese from Navarra, the most popular is without doubt Roncal. It became Spain’s first cheese under Denominación de Origen protection and has a sharp, almost buttery taste. Enjoy it as the locals do with a glass of red wine from Navarra.
For a stronger type of cheese, we propose Cabrales from Asturias. Similar to a blue cheese, Cabrales has a strong flavour and is made from a mixture of cow, goat and sheep milk.
If you prefer cheese with a lighter, creamier taste, opt for Tetilla. Native to Galicia, it is perfect to spread on bread or crackers and should be accompanied by white Albariño wine (also from Galicia). Torta del Casar is another type of cheese ideal to spread or dip. To enjoy it you should cut apart the upper crust of the cheese (as if it were the cover/lid) and spread the softer cheese inside onto the bread. Made from sheep's milk, its flavour is a bit stronger. For best results, we recommend you add chopped pieces of meat, caramelized onion and cook in the oven for approximately 15 minutes.
Though cheese is good to have on its own, it is great when you are able to add it to your favourite dishes. In this case, Mahón from the Balearic Islands is ideal. Made from cow’s milk, it is extremely versatile with a buttery and slightly salty taste.
Again, these are only a few examples of the many flavours that you will find during your trip. Remember, they are also great souvenirs (if you can stand the smell).