Manchego cheese is called the cheese elaborated in the region of La Mancha, made from Manchega breed sheep’s milk, with a minimum maturation period of sixty days. Manchego cheese is made with pasteurized sheep’s milk and artisan Manchego cheese, with unpasteurized sheep’s milk, from livestock registered under Spain’s Denomination of Origin.
They are classified in semi-cured (up to 6 months) and cured (more than 6 months) depending on their degree of maturation. The greater the cure of the cheese, its texture is firmer and drier and its flavour more intense.
Manchego cheese is the product of a harsh and extreme climate, which favours the growth of a very rustic vegetation, food of a curious and ancestral breed of sheep, which are subjected to a very strict morphological and sanitary control. These features result in a unique cheese in the world.
Manchego Cheese can only be made in the region covered by Designation of Origin, which includes part of the provinces of Albacete, Ciudad Real, Toledo and Cuenca. The Milk must come exclusively from Manchega sheep and be free of medicines and impurities.
The rind is hard, which is of pale yellow or blackish-green in colour, in case the moulds developed in the surface during maturation is not cleaned. It bears the imprints of the moulds or “pleitas” on its lateral surface and the “flower” on its flat side. The cheese is firm and compact, varying in colour from white to ivory yellow, and may have small, unequally distributed holes.
Distinguishing a real Manchego cheese is very easy: it must have “Queso Manchego” on the commercial label and the distinctive European logo, bear a numbered back label attached and, on the opposite side, a casein label embedded in the rind with the words “D.O.P. QUESO MANCHEGO” and a series of five digits and two or three letters.
Foundation of the Regulatory Council of the Manchego Cheese Denomination of Origin
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