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Garrotxa Cheese

Garrotxa Cheese is a Spanish cheese made in Catalonia, on the eastern edge of the Pyrenees.

It is a semi-soft cheese, made in 18-inch (45 cm) wide wheels, that will weigh up to 2 1/4 pounds (1 kg.) It has a greyish-blue, velvety mound on the rind. Most people don't eat the rind. Some like it, though, saying that to them it tastes similar to Brie mould.

Inside, the cheese is pure white, with very few holes in it.

Typically, it is made from goat's milk, though a few versions are made from cow's milk. [5] There are both pasteurized and unpasteurized versions. [1], [5], [6] The goat's milk versions are noted for having the tang typical of goat's milk cheeses, but without the goaty taste.

The milk is coagulated with either natural or artificial rennet. The curd is then cut, drained, washed, and packed into moulds to form cheeses. The cheeses are then salted, either with dry salt or brine. They are then generally aged 35 to 60 days in humid rooms to encourage the surface mould to grow.

Other than that, there are no hard and fast fixed standards yet; the cheese is even being made in places outside Catalonia now. [4] Consequently, Catalonian makers of the cheese are applying for European geographical indication (certification) which will bring standards and protection with it.

The ACREFA association (formed 1983) has established rights to the brand name as some protection until then. Anyone wishing to sell a cheese branded as Garrotxa must be a member to use the brand name. Members of the association include (as of January 2011):
  • Cal Pujolet - Mató De Montserrat
  • Can Pere S.C.C.L.
  • El Molí De La Llavina S.C.P.
  • Formatge Bauma S.L.
  • Formatge De Veciana
  • Formatge Perfecto Del Delta, S.L.
  • Formatgeria Artesana Del Berguedà Scp
  • Formatgeria Marvall, S.L.
  • Formatgeria Mogent
  • Formatgeria Roura Soler Sc
  • Formatges Camps
  • Formatges De Muntanyola
  • Formatges Monber
  • Formatges Mont-Bru
  • Làctics Casanueva-Artelac S.L.
  • Racallber,S.L. - Formatges Blancafort
  • Sant Gil D'albió

A version made by Tony Cueca, labelled Bauma, is pasteurized, and labelled "Formatge garrotxa."

Cooking Tips

Melts well.

History Notes

Garrotxa Cheese was revived in 1982 in Sant Miquel de Campmajor in Garrotxa county.

Previously, under Spanish dictator General Franco, Spanish state economic controls extended to dairy production, and imposed minimum production standards in the dairy industry. Though the goal was to boost the economy, its effect was to force farmers to produce a lot of milk a day, or go out of business and produce none. Owing to this, many Spanish cheeses disappeared because it had become illegal for small farmers to produce milk for their small-production artisanal cheeses.

Some small cheesemakers gave up, some produced some cheeses in secret. Only cheeses made by large dairies survived for the most part. Garrotxa Cheese was one of those that disappeared.

Franco died in 1978, and the economic laws were reformed. In the same year, the biennial food fair called "Alimentaria" in Barcelona hired a man named Enric Canut to do a survey for them of Catalan cheeses.

In 1982, Canut was approached by a dairy cooperative in Sant Miquel de Campmajor, which produced 132 US gallons (500 litres) of goat's milk each day. They asked for his assistance in reviving a local cheese. He researched the methods for them by quizzing older people who remembered, but he suggested a change in method: that of washing the curds, which wasn't done traditionally. This gave the cheese a gentler, sweeter taste.

At first Canut fought against the blue mould that grew on the outside of the cheeses, attempting to get rid of it with repeated washings of the rind. Finally, he mentioned this struggle to an old woman he'd been consulting, and she said, it's supposed to have that mould. [7]

Language Notes

Named after La Garrotxa county in the Catalonia province of Spain.

Pronounced "gar-ROACH-uh."


[1] ACREFA (Associació Catalana de Ramaders Elaboradors de Formatgers Artesans) [CATALAN ASSOCIATION OF CATTLE FARMER PRODUCERS OF FARMHOUSE CHEESES]. "Hi ha moltes raons per explicar l'èxit d'aquest formatge. S'elabora a partir de llet pasteuritzada de cabra, amb una coagulació enzimàtica, per obtenir una quallada tova, que derivarà en un formatge de textura flonja. Un salat lleuger i un temps de maduració entre 3 setmanes i 2 mesos, donaran com a resultat un formatge suau i mengívol, agradable per a molts amants del formatge.". Retrieved January 2011 from http://www.acrefa.com/cat/bbdd/produc0301.html

[2] Ibid. "ACREFA té registrada la propietat de la marca Formatge Garrotxa, en totes les llengües d'Espanya i a tot el territori espanyol, raó per la qual no pot ser usat més que per a les formatgeries catalanes associades o autoritzades per ACREFA."

[3] Ibid. "Aquest formatge recuperat allà l'any 1982 al municipi garrotxí de Sant Miquel de Campmajor, va prendre el seu nom de l'entorn on es començaren a elaborar formatges basats en la tradició pagesa de fer formatge a casa."

[4] Ibid. D'allà als dies actuals aquest formatge ha vist com se'n multiplicaven els elaboradors, dintre i fora de Catalunya, raó per la qual es vol protegir l'elaborat a Catalunya, i que és l'autèntic, amb una Denominació d'Orígen."

[5] Ibid., "It is elaborated from pasteurized milk of goat." Retrieved January 2011 from http://www.acrefa.com/angles/artesans1_i.asp?idformatge=10

[6] "Procés d'elaboració: Generalment, a partir de llet de cabra, que pot ser crua o pasteuritzada, encara que també es fa amb llet de vaca. La coagulació pot ser àcida, enzimàtica o mixta. Es talla la quallada per afavorir la separació del xerigot de la pasta. Es moldeja amb un compactat suau i es sala. El salat pot ser en sal seca o en salmorra. La maduració es fa en ambient fresc i molt humit, per tal d'afavorir el desenvolupament fúngic, i té una durada de 35 a 60 dies. Es consumeix quan arriba a la seva maduració òptima." Generalitat de Catalyuna. Departament d'Agricultura, Ramaderia, Pesca, Alimentació i Medi Natural. Garrotxa. Formatge madurat de pell florida. 16 October 2007. Retrieved January 2011 from: http://www20.gencat.cat/portal/site/DAR/menuitem.7d5a409fbe273a69cc497c10d8c0e1a0/?vgnextoid=550eb4c93b2a5110VgnVCM1000008d0c1e0aRCRD&vgnextchannel=550eb4c93b2a5110VgnVCM1000008d0c1e0aRCRD&vgnextfmt=detall&contentid=872feafaf28a5110VgnVCM1000008d0c1e0aRCRD

[7] Jenkins, Nancy Harmon. Cheese Guru: Enric Canut. Food & Wine Magazine. Feburary 2005.

Soft Cheeses

Añejo Cheese; Añejo Enchilado Cheese; Banon Cheese; Boilie Cheese; Bonchester Cheese; Boursin Cheese; Brie Cheese; Brillat-Savarin Cheese; Brousse de Brebis; Bruss Cheese; Burrata Cheese; Caboc Cheese; Camembert Cheese; Casu Marzu; Chaource Cheese; Chèvre Frais; Cornish Yarg Cheese; Crottin de Chavignol Cheese; Crowdie Cheese; Cumulus Cheese; Edel de Cléron Cheese; Feta Cheese; Feuille d'automne Cheese; Garrotxa Cheese; Hoop Cheese; Kirkham Lancashire Cheese; La Tur Cheese; Lancashire Cheese; Le Cendrillon Cheese; Le Veillon Cheese; Lymeswold Cheese; Mitzithra Cheese (Fresh); Oaxaca Cheese; Oxford Isis Cheese; Pavé de Chirac Cheese; Pié d'angloys; Pithiviers Cheese; Pont Couvert Cheese; Prescinseua Cheese; Saint-Loup Goat Cheese; Saint André Cheese; Soft Cheeses; Soumaintrain Cheese; Squacquerone Cheese; St-Nectaire Cheese; St Tola Cheese; Tarapatapom Cheese; Telemes Cheese; Teviotdale Cheese; Tornegus Cheese; Vacherin Chaput Cheese; Vacherin d'Abondance; Vacherin Mont d'Or; Wensleydale Cheese with Cranberries; Whirl Cheese

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Oulton, Randal. "Garrotxa Cheese." CooksInfo.com. Published 30 April 2011; revised 30 April 2011. Web. Accessed 06/23/2018. <http://www.cooksinfo.com/garrotxa-cheese>.

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