Manchego Cheese is made in the Spanish regions of Castilla La Mancha, Ciudad Real, Albacete, Cuenca and Toledo in central Spain.
It is made from sheep’s milk; some versions pasteurize the milk first.
It is made in wheels that are 8 to 10 inches wide (20 – 25 cm) and 4 to 5 inches thick (10 – 12 cm.) The waxed, inedible rind is embossed with a herringbone-patterned braid that used to be caused by the cheese press made of strands of grass. Even though grass cheese presses are no longer used in the making of this cheese, the pattern is still impressed into the rind, though with plastic moulds. The pattern is expected by consumers and used by them to recognize the cheese (just as the rind pattern is for Pecorino cheeses.)
Inside, the cheese is golden or ivory colour with small holes, and depending on how aged it is, slightly flaky.
It tastes like a slightly sweet cheddar with a hint of salt in it. The taste starts off mild, and gets sharper as the cheese is aged.
The cheese can be either a semi-firm cheese, a firm cheese, or a hard cheese, with firmness increasing with age.
- Manchego fresco: aged for less than 3 weeks;
- Manchego curado: aged 3 weeks to 3 months;
- Manchego viego: aged 9 months to 1 year;
- Manchego en aceite: Manchego viego washed with olive oil during its aging.
Manchego Cheese is very expensive in North America.
Can be grated.
Butterfat content: 50%