Spanish Blue Cheese
The cheese of Northern Spain
Spain's traditional blue cheese all come from the north, as do some buttery, soft cheeses. The green valleys and humid meadows that stretch around the coastal regions, and Galicia, Asturias, Leon and Cantabria in the north-west, all benefit from abundant rainfall. This means that there is plenty of land on which to graze dairy cattle, and small herds of sheep and goats too. The crags of the Picos de Europa mountains, with their unique eroded limestone landscape and some of the deepest gorges and caves in Europe, offer their steep pastures to hardened shepherds.
Picos de Europa Blues
The farmers of the Picos de Europa mountains have moved their cattle herds around these rich pastures for centuries, diversifying into mixed herbs including sheep and goats. The milk from any combination of these animals can be used to make the cheese - although cow's milk has predominated over time. The cheeses were originally pressed and salted by hand and wrapped in sycamore leaves so they were easier to handle, as their rind became slippery and sticky during maturation in the region's natural, damp mountain caves, rich with the Penicillium roqueforti mould which would penetrate the cheese and give it its distinctive blue-green veins.
Some, like Gamoneu, are made in tiny quantities, and are often only found within the Picos de Europa mountains.
BRINDISA PICOS BLUE
Valdeón Picos Blue IGP | BUY NOW
The Valdeón Picos Blue is a pasteurised blue cheese made from a blend of approximately 90% cows' and 10% goats' milk, and animal rennet.
The Picos Blue is a semi soft blue cheese created in the Picos de Europa mountains of northern Spain.
Bold and salty, the uniqueness of this cheese lies in the manufacturing process. This includes a long maturing in cold, damp cellars to produce a granular texture and blue mould filled cavities. Similar to Roquefort, with an equally powerful aroma.
It is delicious by itself, as part of a classic Spanish cheese board, or used in salads, quiches, with red meat, on toasts, and in dips and sauces. It is also a great cooking cheese with a nice melty texture.
Taste profile: Fresh and earthy aroma with hints of blue. A buttery, melt in the mouth texture, with nutty and a sometimes spicy flavour.
Valdeón Picos Blue | BUY NOW
The Valdeón (Picos de Europa IGP) is a pasteurised blue cheese made from a blend of approximately 90% cows' and 10% goats' milk. This highly recognisable maple leaf wrapped cheese, has a creamy aroma, a buttery melting texture and nutty, savoury, sometimes spicy flavours. It is delicious by itself or used to cook with.
HOW TO SERVE BLUE CHEESE
As well as serving these blue cheeses as they are, throughout Brindisa kitchens we use them a great deal in salads with walnuts and beetroot, or endive; in sauces for cuts of Basque beef, or to add to a pumpkin soup.
A pleasantly sharp appetiser to activate your tastebuds!
Valdeón Blue Cheese, Marcona Almond & Quince Paste Sandwich
Valdeón blue cheese, Marcona almonds & quince sandwich, add a boost of energy to your lunch.
Blue Cheese, Panceta and Pear Soup
A very rich soup you can enjoy as a meal or as a starter.
HOW SPANISH BLUE CHEESE IS PRODUCED
Cheeses are matured in deep, damp limestone caves for a minimum of two months, and each cave has natural running water, a south-facing opening and an exit to allow the soplados (breezes) to flow through and create the blue veins without the need to pierce the paste. The cheeses are a slightly irregular round shape and can be identified easily, as these days they are wrapped in sheets of deep green foil to evoke the sycamore leaves that were originally used.