A native of Spain, Manchego Cheese is an ancient and delicious cheese. If you want a cheese that does not give flavor, but history as well, Manchego is for you.
Short History of Manchego Cheese
Have you ever heard of Don Quixote? A famous man tilting at windmills. He is definitely the hero of one of the greatest novels of all time. This novel was written by Miguel De Cervantes and it was set in the La Mancha, a region in Spain. This is pertinent to the Manchego cheese, as it’s also where it was first produced.
As a matter of fact, there’s a board in this region that keeps a very close eye on the cheesemakers. It is to certify that the Queso Manchego is made from the Manchega sheep’s milk and aged for about 60 days or so. This board can only be the one to put a special D.O sticker on it, which certifies the cheese’s authenticity.
The entire process of regulation has existed since the 1980s, yet the cheese has been made for longer than that. It was mentioned in the Don Quixote novel, which was written in the early 1600s. On the other hand, you can find three varieties of Queso Manchego. It all depends on the amount of time they’ve been aged.
Three Types of Queso Manchego
- Manchego Fresco- it is a fresh, white variety of the cheese, which is only aged for about a couple of weeks. This is somewhat hard to get outside of Spain, and technically, it is not a real Manchego. However, it still boasts a smooth and richer flavor. You only have to make a trip over there and eat it.
- Manchego Curado- aging takes about 3 to 6 months. A semi-solid cheese with yellowish-white, boasting milk and nutty taste. As per texture, it’s also smooth and creamy, which makes an excellent addition to cheese fondue. If you want a cheese that complements to all types of flavors, this cheese is for you.
- Manchego Viejo- it is actually aged for about a year and somehow a bit on the pricier side. It has this rich yellow color, very solid and comes with a complex flavor. The flavor itself is intense and pepper with sharp edges. It is definitely a cheese for the main course.
Where to Find Manchego Cheese
So, where can you actually get this cheese? Do you need to go directly to Spain? Well, to tell you honestly, if you have all the money and time in the world, then, by all means, do so. However, if you want it now, feel free to visit gourmet supermarkets or even delicatessens, because they may have it in stock. To make sure that what you’ll get is authentic, always look for the herringbone pattern on the cheese rind, the wheat ear pattern on the top side and of course, the official D.O tab on the bottom of the wheel. There’s nothing better having a good taste of the authentic Manchego cheese, it’s going to be life-changing!