Cabrales PDO is a cheese made by artisans from the whole milk of cows, sheep or goats raised in the production area. During the process, the three milks can be combined or used separately.
The Production area of Cabrales PDO is located in the area of Cabrales and some municipalities in the Peñamellera Alta area, in the district of Asturias, in the region of Asturias.
The curds are produced between 22-26°C adding the natural rennet. After the breaking of curds, the paste is put into cylindrical containers where it stays for 2-4 days. The top part is salted first, then, after 12 hours, also the bottom is salted. The product is left to rest for 15 days, and then transported to natural grottos in the mountains where it is left to season for a period between 2 and 5 months, in which the penicillium develops and produces the greenish-blue colour.
Appearance and Flavour
Cabrales PDO has a cylindrical shape with flat sides. The rind is thin, white and oily. The aroma is intense and slightly spicy, and more accentuated when it is made of pure goat or sheep's milk.
The origin of Cabrales PDO can be traced back to at least the 17th century, the age of the first written accounts. The cheese was recognised as a legal product of the area at an agricultural exposition in Madrid, in 1857.
Cabrales PDO is best kept wrapped in waxed paper in the refrigerator, in the least-cold compartement and never in the freezer. It should be eaten fresh, half seasoned and fully seasoned. When the cheese becomes too dry, it is possible to soften it by adding a quantity of cider. It is used in many recipes, as a dessert it is exquisite combined with a small glass of Jerez (sherry) and as an appetiser with a glass of cider or red wine.
The product is sold as Cabrales PDO. The cheese is wrapped in a special food paper which bears the image of the sycamore leaves used in the past to wrap the product.
Seasoning in natural grottos gives Cabrales PDO a particular colouring ranging from blue to green, due to the mould which develops thanks to the presence of penicillium, a particular fungus, well known in the food industry and specifically in cheese making.