Manchego [mahn-CHEH-goh] If you recall one of Spain’s famous icons Don Quixote, the Man of La Mancha, then it may not surprise you that Spain’s most popular cheese, Manchego, is also from the central plains of La Mancha. Made from sheep’s milk, this cheese can be enjoyed at several stages of ripening but an aged, raw-milk Manchego is the quintessential Spanish sheep’s milk cheese.
Origin: Castilla-La Mancha, Spain
Milk: Raw or Past. Sheep Rennet Type: Animal Age: 14 months
Look: distinctive criss-cross pattern on the rind points to the traditional use of esparto grass belts to shape fresh curd.
Feel: firm, slightly oily on the surface at room temperature
Smell: sweet and sheepy
Taste: after a year of aging it becomes sharp and nutty with hints of caramel
Pairs well with: Traditionally paired with Rioja or Tempranillo blends
Tastes good with: Marcona Almonds, Quince Paste, Dried Figs, Chorizo, Olives