Manchego Cheese is the Spanish cheese by excellence, but inside this variety there are different types of manchego cheese.
If we make an academic definition of manchego cheese, we will say then that it is a pressed paste cheese made with sheep’s milk of the Manchego breed with a minimum maturation of 60 days and a maximum maturation of approximately 2 years.
In this article we want to tell you about the different types of Manchego cheese that exist, the characteristics that define it and some curiosities.
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Organoleptic characteristics of manchego cheese
There are different types of manchego cheese, but all have common organoleptic characteristics that in some cheeses are more pronounced than in others.
As you know from Gómez Moreno Family we make manchegos cheese and we will tell you the characteristics of its crust and cheese paste.
These cheeses have a crust with a hard consistency and free of parasites.
The rinds usually have an ivory white or greenish-blackish colour in the event that the surface of the cheese is not cleaned of the casts developed during maturation.
Finally, the appearance of the crust of manchego cheese presents on the side surface the impression of the casts type “pleitas” that give that traditional appearance, and the mould type “flower” on the flat faces of the cheese.
The paste of manchego cheese
The paste of La Mancha cheeses is characterized by having a firm and compact consistency.
The color of the cheese paste can change from a white color, to an ivory-white hue.
The characteristic smell of manchego cheese, which surely by now you imagine, is lactic, acidified intense and persistent, evolving to spicy nuances in the most cured with a long global persistence.
The taste of these cheeses is lightly sour, strong and tasty, which turns into spicy in very matured cheeses. Manchego cheeses leave a nice and unusual residual taste, which is given by manchega sheep’s milk.
Manchego cheese paste is characterized by having small eyes distributed in the cheese irregularly, although in some cases it may lack them.
Finally, manchego cheese paste has a texture with low stretch , with a buttery and floury feeling, which can become grainy in very mature manchego cheeses.
Making of manchego cheese
As for the way of making it, we have two types of manchego cheese, the manchego handmade cheese and the manchego industrial cheese.
Handmade manchego cheese
It is the cheese that has been made with milk from manchega sheep, that is, the milk used for its preparation has not been subjected to any type of heat treatment. It is the traditional way of making manchego cheese and also the most technically complex as it requires a material of the highest quality to make an optimal production.
Manchego handmade cheese has greater complexity, greater nuances and more character than its brother made with pasteurized milk. Manchego cheese made with milk retains the classic notes of wild herbs and pastures eaten by sheep in their daily grazing.
It is made with pasteurized milk from manchega sheep. It is the type of manchego cheese that is most maked and marketed worldwide.
This type of cheese is characterized by a “sweeter” flavor and less acidic notes than raw milk, with less complex and more standardized nuances. This makes it cover a larger range of potential customers since its flavor is more suited to all types of tastes.
To be approved by the Regulatory Council of the Denomination of Origin Manchego Cheese, both types of manchego cheese have to pass the same analytical and microbiological controls.
Manchego cheese types for maturity time
Another second category of manchego cheese types are those that we classify according to the maturation time. So we have the semi curado DO Manchego- raw milk, the curado DO Manchego- raw milk and the Añejo 12 months DO Manchego – raw milk.
To continue we explain the characteristics of these types of cheese.
Semi curado DO manchego
It is the manchego cheese that has a minimum maturation of two months (60 days) and a maximum maturation of 5 months (150 days) approximately.
Its taste is sweet and creamy with notes of nuts. The itch should not appear at any time of tasting.
This type of manchego cheese has a minimum maturation of 6 months and a maximum of 11 months.
Its colour is darker and ivory-white with stronger notes, long persistence, excellent aftertaste and some spiciness at the end.
This type of manchego cheese is also known as “Old” or “Reserva”.
It is a cheese that has a minimum maturation of 12 months, and in this maturation is characterized by having lost all moisture, which makes it have a very intense and spicy taste.
The añejo 12 months DO manchego paste is ivory-white and tends to crumble due to the lack of moisture.
Finally we have a third classification of types of manchego cheese and is the one that separates them by their appearance.
So we can find manchego cheeses with ivory-white or painted brown colour. These cheeses have a clean, mould-free rind. This crust treatment allows better maintenance and vacuum packaging key to the export of this product.
On the other hand there are the cheeses to which the crust has not undergone any anti-mould treatment and appear with the natural mould in the bark and brushed which gives them different nuances to the previous ones.
Where to buy the Manchego cheese?
Like any product with denomination of origin, manchego cheese is sold in La Mancha, although since Gómez Moreno Family for years we have wanted to blends tradition and modernity with our online manchego cheese shop.
In www.tiendadeques.com you can find all types of manchego cheese you are looking for, in addition to other cheeses made by our cheese factory, which although without bearing the denomination of origin seal are cheeses recognized in national and international competitions for their quality.
How does a manchego cheese difference?
From Gómez Moreno Family we bet on the quality of our cheeses and we are convinced that the best way to differentiate and appreciate a cheese is to try it.
When you try any type of manchego cheese sure your taste will remember that intense and characteristic flavor, which will be the best letter of introduction and memory of them.
A manchego cheese for every taste and every occasion
In general we conclude that within the manchego cheese there are different subtypes according to its making (raw or pasteurized milk),according to its maturation (semi-curado, curado and añejo) and its appearance (treated bark or natural bark).
But really important is that today there are types of manchego cheese to satisfy all kinds of tastes, which blends and matching with all kinds of foods and drinks, and which are perfect to consume them as is or in more complicated recipes, adapting to each occasion.