Queso Zamorano, a DOP worth knowing!
We all know the great Manchego, which is one of most famous cheeses in Spain or should I say the most famous! But in Zamora is another cheese that is worth knowing called Queso Zamorano.
We were there for a few days and I was lucky to be in contact with Fabian from La Antigua Queseria de Fuentesauco. La Antigua makes cheese from both raw and pasteurized sheep’s milk, in their range you can find plain cheese, coated with different spices (black pepper or paprika), herbs (rosemary, oregano, and laurel), Tempranillo grapes… They are also one of the few producers of the great PDO’s Zamorano cheese. So, we contacted them and they kindly accepted to welcome us.
Just so that you know what we are talking about…
Queso Zamorano is one of the Spanish Cheeses with a “Denominación de Origen” since 1992. It’s a semi- hard cheese, it belongs to the Uncooked & Pressed Cheese Family, and it can be produced in a certain delimited area within the Province of Zamora. It comes as a wheel of maximum 4 kilos. The milk has to be raw from 2 breeds of sheep only: Churra & Castellana that are from the Province of Zamora (Castilla y Leon).
Let’s go through the production steps briefly with: 1. Curdling: the milk is heated to 30°C for about 30 to 45 minutes, natural rennet is added; the milk coagulates and turns into a curd. 2. The curd is cut into small pieces of 5 to 10mm. 3. The curd is brewed and heated up to 38°C. 4. The curd is put into molds and pressed.
5. Each cheese is salted in a brine; the brine here is really special as it comes from the Cantabrian Sea. 6. A numbered label certifying designation, issued by the Regulating Body is put on each cheese.
7. Finally, starts the “affinage” (curing process). The minimum requirements are: - 60 days being for the cheese having a weight less than 1.5kg - 100 days being for the cheese weighting more than 1.5kg It can be sold like this or it can be aged more. The cheese we tried was 12 months old.
If you want to learn more about the Zamorano PDO, check out this website: http://quesozamorano.com/
It’s always interesting to compare cheeses from the same PDO, because even though they are following the same regulations & process, the differences in taste between the many producers can be huge! If you feel like comparing different Quesos Zamoranos, there are eight producers that can be found here: http://quesozamorano.com/?id=9