Made from pasteurized or unpasteurized sheep's milk
Country of origin: Spain
Region: La Mancha
Colour: pale yellow
Flavour: fruity, nutty, sweet, tangy
Aroma: grassy, pleasant
Synonyms: Queso Manchego
Alternative spellings: Manchego Curado, Manchego Semi Curado, Manchego Viejo
The Manchego cheese is produced in the La Mancha region of Spain, which is also home to Don Quixote. It is made from pasteurized sheep's milk. It is one of the popular cheeses from Spain and comes under the PDO (DOP) guidelines.
The traditional use of grass moulds leaves a distinctive, characteristic zigzag pattern on the Manchego cheese. Authentic Manchego is only made from the Manchego sheep's milk. Manchego cheese is made from both pasteurized and unpasteurized milk. The farmhouse version is produced from unpasteurized milk, while the industrial version is produced from pasteurized milk. The Corcuera family was the first to make and commercialize Manchego cheese in Castilla La Mancha.
The rind is inedible with a distinctive, traditional herringbone basket weave pattern. A typical ear wheat pattern is pressed onto the top and bottom wheels of the cheese. Manchego cheese is available in wide varieties.
Fresco: Fresh cheese aged for two weeks. The flavour is rich, mild and is rarely available outside Spain.
Semi Curado: Semi-firm cheese aged around three weeks to three months. It is supple and moist with a fruity flavour and tangy notes.
Curado: Semi-firm cheese aged for 3-6 months. The flavour is caramel and nutty.
Viejo: Firm cheese aged for 1-2 years. The flavour is sharp with a crumbly texture. It has a rich, deep pepperiness to it.
Manchego cheeses are best paired with sherry. Cheeses similar to Manchego are called 'Machego like cheeses', but the producers cannot legally name the cheese as Manchego.