Cheese is a very complete food, which provides several nutrients to our body, such as quality protein, fats, vitamins and minerals. But in the world of cheese, there are plenty of different varieties, with different methods of preparation, different raw materials, different treatments… And one of the best-known varieties in the world is Manchego Cheese. You know it, right?
What is Manchego Cheese?
Although sometimes it can lead us to make mistakes, manchego cheese is not simply the cheese produced in La Mancha. This is only a half-truth.
Manchego cheese is backed by a Protected Designation of Origin that regulates the production and distribution of this type of cheese. That means, that not all cheeses can be labeled as “manchego cheese” even though they have been produced in Castilla La Mancha. In order to name a cheese as manchego cheese, it must meet some requirements that respect its Designation of Origin.
Characteristics of Manchego Cheese
The most important requirement that all the certified manufacturers must meet is that the cheese must be made only and exclusively with “manchega” sheep milk. It can not contain any other type of milk.
The milk must also meet the following analytical requirements:
Fat Content: A minimum of 6,5%
Protein: A minimum of 4,5%
Dry extract: A minimum of 11%
Cryoscopic point: ≤ to -0.550 ºC
Absence of medicinal products
It is also convenient to say that manchego cheese can be made with both pasteurized and raw milk, as long as the above requirements are met.
In addition, as its Designation of Origin tells us, the cheese must be produced in the designated area, which in this case, is a zone inside Castilla la Mancha, but not the entire territory.
However, manufacturers of manchego cheese are free to elaborate their cheese in different cures and with different milk treatments.
What is the cure for Manchego cheese?
The minimum ripeness of manchego cheese is 30 days, if it has a weight of 1,5 kg or less, and 60 days for the other formats. However, depending on its maturation, the manchego cheese can be:
- Semi Cured: Maturity minimum of 3 months
- Cured: Maturity minimum of 6 months
- Old: Maturity minimum of 12 months
How to distinguish manchego cheese?
If you are thinking of buying a manchego cheese, you have to look at 2 distinctive signs to make sure that is an authentic manchego cheese.
The first sign is the label of the “Consejo Regulador”, which must be displayed with its logo, numbered and serialized, ensuring that all the quality controls have been met.
A casein plate will also appear on the back of the cheese, where the term “Manchego” can be read. The casein plate of manchego cheese acts as your id card. In fact, this plate has been recently modified. Below, you can see the original casein plate that had been used since this designation of origin was granted back in 1.985.
The new casein plate has a circular crown shape so that any wedge can be identified by this emblem.
In addition, if the cheese is made with raw milk, the word “artisan” or “artisanal” may appear.
So, if you follow these simple indications, you will be able to quickly distinguish Manchego cheese from the rest of the market cheeses.
How to preserve manchego cheese?
Manchego cheese is an exceptional delicacy that needs certain care for its correct conservation.
If you need to keep it for a long time, you can wrap the cheese in transparent film or in a closed container, so that it does not dry out or crack. And then, store it in the refrigerator, preferably in the lower part, near the vegetables and fruits.
Whole cheese pieces can also be preserved following this method. You can wrapped them in transparent film and store them in the lower part of the fridge. In this case, it is advisable to turn the cheese over every 8-10 days.
If you put the wedges of cheese in hermetic containers, you will get a more lasting preservation. A piece of advice:
Store manchego cheese in an hermetic container with a piece of dry bread. The bread will absorb moisture protecting the cheese from mold growth or excessive drying. Just remember to change the bread when it is coated with mold.
If it is winter, and the temperature outside is low, you can leave it out of the fridge, but it is not usually normal, since this is a type of cheese that needs cooler temperatures.
And if you want to keep the cheese for much longer, one option is to place it in olive oil. This way, you will be able to keep the manchego cheese for much longer and in optimal conditions.
Once you are going to consume it, remove the cheese from the fridge at least half an hour before consuming it, so that is tempered and you can appreciate all its nuances. If it is cold, you will not be able to fully enjoy one of the best varieties of cheese in the world.
How to combine manchego cheese?
Manchego cheese lends itself to many uses. It is so tasty that you can consume it alone, or include it in a cheese board. It can also be used in salads to give them a singular touch.
The best companions of a manchego cheese are the nuts and the quince, and a good red wine, to get a unique experience.
Another way to enjoy manchego cheese for those who like cooking, is to cut it into cubes, cover it with beaten eggs and bread crumbs, then fry it and get a delicious appetizer.
Now, you know all the information about manchego cheese and sure you want to try these tips you just read, and in our store you can find all varieties of manchego cheese that will delight your palate.
- Manchego semicured cheese
- Manchego cured cheese
- Extra matured manchego cheese
- Manchego cheese cured made with raw milk
- Manchego cheese semicured artisan and organic
- Artisan cured raw milk manchego
Choose the one you like the most!