Leave a comment

Cheese Review: Roncal Artesano

Love Manchego? I do- even the more generic, bulk-made versions. It’s still a delicious, sheepy, satisfying cheese. There are those who poo-poo Manchego, of course, in favor of the recent explosion of smaller-batch, farmstead, artisan traditional Spanish cheeses… and one that is often raised up as a better alternative is Roncal.

Cheese: Roncal Artesano

Who: Various, under the control of the University of the Seven Val de Roncal Villages

Where: Val del Roncal, Spain

Milk Type: Lacha and Rasa-Araganesa sheep, raw

Texture: firm to hard

Rind: natural

Shape: ~2-6lb rounds
Flavor: straw, salt, green olives, dry brush, butter

Roncal Artesano

Made from unwritten, guarded recipes by hand in traditional manners, Roncal draws its milk from sheep that are seasonally moved from pasture to pasture. From high in the Pyrénées of Navarra, made in in just seven villages in the Roncal Valley, the process yields a cheese that is highly variable, unlike the factory homogenization of much (not all!) Manchego.

Roncal can be more, or less salty.

Obviously it’s sheepy. Brought up to room temperature it develops that lanolin-ish sheen and the characteristic nose of wooly ruminant.

The nose, and the flavor may also evoke dry straw, hot, dusty dried wild aromatics and perhaps a bit of green olive, especially a saltier round. It’s an excellent cheese for eating plainly. If  you find that sheeps milk cheeses are about as strong a flavor as you like, Roncal would make a good ending to a mild Spanish-centered cheese board along with Marcona almonds, Castelvetrano  olives and a good fruit spread. I find it an excellent bridge in the middle of the board to more robust and challenging flavors. I’d like to try it as a prelude to Cabrales. Pair it with a good Spanish red, perhaps a well-aged Tempranillo/Rioja.

Unbroken round of Roncal

Experience the flavor of the Navarra… I have little idea what he’s saying 😉


What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

The Cheese Making Years

The Adventures of Anne Hastings in the World of Cheese

Secondary Culture

cheesy adventures in the world of milk, cultures, and mold

Finger, Fork & Knife

I'm Kate and Finger, Fork and Knife is where I record the recipes that excite, nourish and inspire me. I focus on wholesome, high-nutrition, home-cooked food - recipes that satisfy and delight. Welcome!

The House Mouse

One girl's journey through the cheese world

Salutation Recipes

I'm trying to keep a log of all the things we cook which taste really lovely. You know what it's like: you tweak and tweak a recipe until it's barely recognisable and then wonder how you used to make it. And it will also save a lot of time and bits of paper when it comes to sharing those recipes with friends.

Saucy Pans

Food Reviews and Recipes around Bristol & Cardiff


The blog


Walk and Bike in France. www.icietlanature.com


"It's so beautifully arranged on the the plate - you know someone's fingers have been all over it." - Julia Child

A Crust Eaten

Living life one plate at a time

%d bloggers like this: