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The Queso Manchego PDO is a product based on whole sheep's milk from the Manchega breed.
The milk is brought to 4°C and coagulated with animal rennet and other authorised enzymes; it is then heated to a temperature of 28-32°C for 45-60 minutes. The curds are broken and the product shaken and heated again to 40°C. Then dry salting or brining, moulding and pressing take place. The cheese is then seasoned for at least 60 days.
Appearance and Flavour
Queso Manchego PDO has a cylindrical shape and flat faces with a hard, yellow rind and spike-shaped imprints on the surface. The paste is compact and the colour varies from white to yellow with a few holes. The taste is full and persistent, the aroma of sheep's milk with spicy and intense hints, with a toasted aftertaste and of dry hay.
The Queso Manchego PDO covers the area known as La Mancha, in particular the provinces of Ciudad Real, Toledo, Cuenca and Albacete, in the Autonomous Community of Castilla-La Mancha.
In the area of La Mancha the inhabitants have been dedicated to the production of cheeses for a long time. Queso Manchego PDO is mentioned in historical documents and literature like El Ingenioso Hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes and also in 1892 the Diccionario General de la cocina (General Dictionary of the Kitchen) which cites sheep's milk products and among them Queso Manchego PDO.
Queso Manchego PDO is best kept in the refrigerator, wrapped in Clingfilm or tin foil. It is a very versatile food thanks to the different levels of seasoning, which makes it suitable as an appetiser, a starter or a dessert with dried fruit or honey. It goes wonderfully with fairly new red wines according to the maturation. It is perfect with CDO wine from La Mancha.
The product is sold as Queso Manchego PDO and produced in two types: the Queso Manchego Artesano, handmade with raw sheep milk, and the Queso Manchego, made with pasteurized milk. The product is sold whole, sliced or vacuum-packed in three types: half seasoned, seasoned and aged.