Where: Toledo, Castile-La Mancha, Spain
Milk: sheep, raw
Shape: med.-sized rounds, 6-7lbs
Flavor: tangy, salty-sweet, dry grass
The best known Spanish sheep’s milk cheese, Manchego’s production has been strictly regulated for most of three decades. Only whole milk from Manchega sheep is allowed to become this beloved cheese made in designated regions.
A typical pairing of Manchego with quince paste and marcona almonds.
As our exploration of cheese has continued over the years, my wife and I frequently center on sheep’s milk cheese being our favorites, with Manchgeo near the top of the list. The variety tasted this week is aged twelve months; it’s drier and more balanced in flavor than a young specimen. The flavor is salty-sweet, tangy, with reminders of the dry bush and grasses from hot summer’s grazing.
Manchego is a quick melter, excellent for cooking, adding tang to a sandwich, or alone on a board. Very nice paired with hearty breads.
Wine: Staying in the country, pair with bright and crisp white albariño or a nice tempranillo with some age on it.