Serra da Estrela is the king of Portuguese cheese and has been made for centuries by shepherds in the mountains of Serra da Estrela in the Beira region. The cheese is entirely hand-made, in the literal sense of the term, as the curds are broken up by hand and not cut up with an implement as is usually the case. Serra da Estrela is so soft that it is almost spreadable. It has a rich, perfumed intensity as a result of the superb grazing, and the sweet, slightly burnt coffee character of the sheep's milk comes through on the finish. The affinage takes 30 to 40 days.
Other cheeses from Portugal: