Manchego cheese artisanal maker – Manzanares, Spain

I’ve been reading through the last 10 post entries and came up to the conclusion that the blog was not Spanish, neither hipster.
In addition to choose this name because of its ridiculousness, one the initial ideas of the blog was to expose the hidden gems of the Spanish gastronomy.
So I decided to stop writing about high end non Spanish restaurants – I will leave that to Elise, the spending machine expert – and focus in not to miss food destinations in Spain.

I will start with something very Spanish: the Manchego cheese. The word Manchego comes from La Mancha ( like Don Quixote ).

La Mancha was named by the Arabs, who called it Al Mansha, or “waterless land,” a perfect description of this harsh, rocky region of Spain.  The dry, extreme climate has made La Mancha special and taught its vegetation to withstand the torrid heat of the summer months and the devastating frosts of the La Mancha winter.

Manchego is aged for at least 60 days and it is made from pasteurized milk, or unpasteurized milk if the cheese is hand-made, from ewes raised by registered Denomination of Origin farms. Manchego cheese is mainly made out of  an ancestral race of sheep, the manchega, that is raised under very strict standards of breeding and health, eating the limited vegetation of this dry region

It is impossible to do not  talk about queso in this region, without mentioning Quesos Cabrera.

Manchego Cheese Artisan - Quesos Cabrera - Manzanares - Ciudad Real Spain-0728.jpgThis artisanal cheese shop is located in Manzanares, Ciudad Real, in middle of Spain and just about one and a half hours south of Madrid. The cheese maestros are two brother Antonio and Diego Cabrera. For this visit Diego, that was also a Math teacher in undergrad of one of my best friends, showed us a around.

And probably this Math knowledge, along with multiple generations of Manchego makers  has made this brand one of the most respected and at the same time unknown in Spain. Cheeses are still aged using traditional methods, in a cave built behind the family house. BTW these caves were very useful in the past in La Mancha, where temperature is around 100F in summer.

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Each cheese is unique at this store, depending on the area of the cave it has maturated or for how long. Remember to ask Diego, the owner for a tour, he will be more than happy to show you around, specially if you speak English ( or any foreign language ) and mention that you read about him in internet. Downstairs you will have a chance to see cheeses at their different aged phases. The good ones are the moldy green ones, try to convince him to sell you one of those, I could not but maybe you are luckier….

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Moldy cheese at the bottom. It denotes a longer aging.

This is the store upstairs. Cheeses run from 7 euros to 15 euros per kg, a STEAL for something that you can not find anywhere else ( yes, the WHOLE FOODs Manchego is NOT the SAME thing )

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And if you visit Manzanares and want to taste the typical cuisine of the region, stop by Club de Tenis restaurant, for some of the tastier Jamon, aged Manchego, Bacalao ( fried cod )

I’m just getting hungry by watching all this food, even I’ve just eaten some New York Pizza for dinner ( it is not the same – lagrima ) :,(

 

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 Quesos Cabrera

 C/ Jesús del Perdón, 39
13200 Manzanares – Ciudad Real
Teléfono: 926 61 14 33
Contact info: cabrera.gallego@hotmail.com

 

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