By Jerry Del Priore
What makes Manchego cheese different?
Unlike cheeses made from cow’s milk, like Mozzarella and American cheese, Manchego, also known as Queso Manchego, is made from unpasteurized sheep’s milk from the Manchega breed.
The length of aging Manchego cheese determines its taste, texture, and color. Official Manchego cheese is usually aged between 60 days and two years, but can be aged for less time, such as three months.
The History of Manchego Cheese.
The Manchego cheese is produced in the La Mancha region of Spain. Its history dates back to pre-Christian times, to when the Iberian civilization was still in a relatively primitive Bronze Age, according archaeologists.
What are the different type of products?
The Semi Curado – Young Manchego cheese is aged approximately three months and features a supple and moist consistency, plus the flavor is fruity, with tangy, sharp notes.
Curado – Manchego cheese is aged for six months and delivers a caramel and nutty flavor, with a distinct acidity.
Viejo – Manchego cheese is aged for a year and is crumbly in texture while the interior of the cheese displays a butterscotch color. Additionally, the cheese has a sweet, lingering taste.
There’s also the delicious Truffle Manchego cheese wedge.
What Type of Foods and Wines Pair Well with Manchego?
Manchego goes well with fruits, nuts — including almonds, hazelnuts and walnuts, crackers, crusty bread, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, fig spread or lightly drizzled with extra virgin olive oil.
Hey, why not all of the aforementioned mouth-watering options?
Plus, Manchego and sherry wines make an excellent pairing, as does a Cabernet Sauvignon.
It’s important to point out that Manchego cheeses do not melt well due to its high protein and butter fat content, producing an oily effect, not making it a perfect match for a cheese burger (unless you like a soggy bun).
Instead, you may want to add sun-dried tomatoes (oil drained, of course) and shred the cheese on your burger after it’s grilled or baked for that added taste factor.
Where to buy Manchego cheese?
You can purchase Manchego cheese online at SuperMarketItaly.com — from the Manchego cheese wedge (aged six months and on sale at $9.99) to the tasty Truffle Manchego cheese wedge ($24.99).
You can also find Manchego cheese at amply stocked grocery stores everywhere.
It’s important to note to keep a sharp eye out for brands that clearly mark La Mancha origin on the label to indicate a quality, authentic product, not a poor substitute.