This farmhouse hard cheese from Spain is made with raw sheep milk and has been selected by Will Studd.
El Esparto Manchego Artesano is a hard ewes milk cheese from Spain with an open-textured, pale ivory paste. It has a clean lactic aroma and a rich nutty, sweet flavour typical of mature ewes milk cheeses. Traditionally enjoyed with a slice of Membrillo (quince paste).
A little history about Manchego
Manchego is the most well-known of all Spanish artisan cheeses and its origins lie in the arid but fertile plateau of La Mancha - derived from the Arab word al-mansha meaning dry land.
This farmhouse 'artesano' cheese is made with raw milk and is a rare exception to the more common examples of Manchego, all of which are made using milk collected from across the defined PDO region. Taking its name from the plaited esparto grass belts traditionally used to girdle the young curds as they drained under a stone weight between two planks of wood, the natural yellow rind contains no artificial colours or mould inhibitors.
The cheese is aged for between 3 - 6 months until the ivory-coloured interior develops a distinctive sweet moist nutty finish with just a hint of the grasses and wild shrubs that grow on the plains surrounding the farm.
Goes well with:
Spanish wines such as Rioja
Zamarano, Queso Iberico, Pecorino
Will Studd is a world-renowned cheese expert who has selected a range of cheeses based on their provenance, texture, aroma and flavour.