A Pairing Guide: Cheeses of Spain
The cheeses of Spain may not be as well known as those from France & Italy, but Spain's talented cheese producers make a delicious variety of cow's milk, sheep's milk and goat cheeses that are becoming increasingly available in the U.S.
Here are 6 wonderful varieties that will make a great cheese plate for your next dinner party or special family meal.
Manchego is a sheep's milk cheese produced in La Mancha is a popular Spanish cheese in America. It's a semi-firm, nutty flavored cheese that's available in a few varieties, from young and mild to aged and slightly sharp. Pair with a full-bodied red wine (Rioja).
La Serena is a soft sheep's milk cheese with a sharp, earthy flavor and a rich creamy texture. It can be served as a "dip" by carefully slicing off the top and allowing people to scoop out the cheese with chunks of crusty bread. Pair with a full-bodied red wine (Tempranillo).
Mahon is a semi-firm cow's milk cheese produced in the Balearic Islands. It has a salty, somewhat sharp flavor that conveys its windswept Mediterranean island origin well. Pair with a full-bodied red wine (Tempranillo).
Monte Enebro is a soft goat's milk cheese made by only one producer, Rafael Baez. This distinctive, creamy cheese is coated with a combination of ash and mold, which helps it develop a complex, slightly acidic flavor. Pair with white wine (Albariño).
Idiazabal is a lightly smoked sheep's milk cheese from the Basque region of Spain. It has a hard texture and a sharp, nutty flavor with just a hint of smoke. Pair with a full-bodied red wine (Rioja).
Valdeón is a blue cheese made from both cow's and goat's milk. The cheese is wrapped in chestnut leaves for aging, which imparts a complex, mellow flavor and a soft, creamy texture. It's much more mildly flavored than Spain's better known blue, Cabrales. Pair with a full-bodied red wine (Rioja).
--- This entry originally appeared on MyGourmetConnection and has been updated for the ZEST blog