Discover the art of cheesemaking in Asturias
Asturias is a place where nature converts astonishing landscapes into delightful cheese.
Asturias is a land of shepherds and indigenous livestock
Have you have ever tried cheese from Asturias, Spain? Have you ever asked yourself what’s behind a cheese label? I mean, the hard work involved in obtaining such a unique product? Well, there’s quite a lot to grasp.
Asturias has a rainy ocean climate, as it is influenced by the dominant winds of the west that bring in wet air masses, either polar or tropical. In addition, the barrier effect caused by the Cantabrian mountain range causes a strong temperature difference between the north and the south. The action centers that define the Asturian climate are the polar front and the North Atlantic anticyclone of the Azores. Rainfall is abundant, always above 800 mm (Source: Wikipedia).
Ok, if you go to Asturias, there’s a good chance you’ll get wet, but the astonishing views are worth the risk.
The most scenic and unforgettable views to see are found at the Picos de Europa National Park. Here, the peaks are formed by three mountain ranges and reach altitudes of over 2600 m. Best of all, the park is only 15 km from the Atlantic Ocean. Various microclimates interact to produce bright green meadows in this natural reserve.
Asturias is a land of shepherds and indigenous livestock. Traditional management of the land forms an important part in maintaining this healthy ecosystem. As a result, fifty different types of cheese are made in this region. Let’s get into two of the most popular:
This cheese is produced in the Council of Cabrales, which encompasses 21 towns, three of which border the Council of Peñamellera Alta.
All milk used in the cheesemaking process of this cheese comes exclusively from livestock farms established in the production area and controlled by the Regulatory Council.
Cabrales cheese can be made entirely with raw cow’s milk or with a mixture of two or three kinds of raw milk of cow, sheep, and goat.
Once the cheese is prepared, it is moved into natural caves within the mountain to mature for two to months. In these caves, the relative humidity is 90%, and the temperature is between 8º and 12º C.
The maturation of this cheese is very peculiar. Instead of drying and hardening as it matures, like the majority of traditional cheeses, the texture of Cabrales cheese becomes softer the more time it spends in a cave.
During maturation, unique conditions present in these caves favors the development of the fungus Penicillium, which gives rise to the typical blue-greenish veins.
The smell of Cabrales cheese is intense and penetrating with hints of hazelnut and almond.
The flavour is slightly spicy, and it gets more pronounced when made with pure goat and sheep milk.
Gamonéu cheese is an artisan product. There are two classifications based on the place of production of each cheese within in the Picos de Europa National Park:
El Queso Gamonéu del Puerto
This cheese is only made in small cheese factories in cabins located by the high mountain passes.
The milk comes from livestock that grazes in the northwest areas of the Picos de Europa National Park.
El Queso Gamonéu del Valle
This cheese is made in small cheese factories of villages located in the valleys of the western massif of the Picos de Europa National Park.
>Asturian cheesemakers produce Gamonéu cheese with raw cow, sheep, and goat milk or with a mixture of two or three kinds of those milk.
Makers have to use at least 10% sheep or goat milk to comply with Denomination of origin regulations.
After three days of moulding, the cheese is released and placed on a shelf in the smokehouse where it is slowly dried and smoked.
After passing through the smokehouse, cheesemakers move the cheese to caves, where it can mature for at least one month, complying with the minimum ripening period (60 days from the preparation of the curd). The action of fungi and yeasts on Gamonéu cheese provides its typical aromas and taste.
Gamonéu exhibits a subtle smokey predominance of aromas and a slightly spicy kick. In your mouth, it reveals a buttery flavour that has a persistent hazelnut aftertaste.
El Cabriteru is a family business producing artisan blue cheese in the Arenas de Cabrales principality of Asturias.
They produce three cheese varieties following a traditional recipe.
Their blue cheese has won the international award (World Cheese Awards) thanks to its robust, delightful, and yesteryear flavours.
Cheeses from el Cabriteru
All of our cheese is handmade with raw sheep and goat milk from our herds. They are moulded and salted manually and then matured for a minimum of 90 days in specific cellar conditions with optimum temperature and humidity and all the guarantees of salubrity.
Quesería artesanal El Cabriteru
Ctra. Gral. AS-345, s/n 33554 Arenas de Cabrales (Asturias)
985846717 / 600628178 / 605608720
BLUE CHEESE 100% RAW SHEEP MILK
Bronze medal winner at the World Cheese Awards 2016-2017 in the absolute category of “Best blue cheese in the world made with sheep milk.”
BLUE CHEESE 100% RAW GOAT MILK
BLUE CHEESE MIXTURE OF 100% RAW SHEEP AND GOAT MILK
Silver medal winner at the World Cheese Awards 2016-2017 in the special category “Best fresh blue cheese in the world” and a bronze medal winner in the category “Best blue cheese in the world made with the milk from more than one animal.”
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