Four months ago, I started working for Solex and received an extensive training portfolio of Spanish products. Some of them were well known and others more new for me, but all of them had a wonderful story behind them of a historical origin, exclusive breeds from Spain or funny stories about its applications in the variety of clients across the United States.
The family of products that caught my attention the most was the blue cheeses. The Covadonga, Cabrales, Valdeon and La Peral are cheeses that are made from the more artisanal and historical processes in the world of cheese. At the same time, this is a family whose success in the U.S. has grown tremendously. For instance, our Covadonga has grown year after year and this has led us to call it our “Best Rookie ever” . Other strong flavor cheeses, such as Valdeon and Cabrales, are present in most of the tasting menus of our customers.
Slowly, I continued learning … to become an addict.
Because of it tastes: traveling through several states I have enjoyed many different applications created by our partners & customers: a perfect point of Covadonga melted on grilled meats or barbecues (Texas), La Peral in fig & cherry mustard (Chicago) or Cantaloupe, Iberico Ham and Cabrales Salad (Ohio).
Because of its history: I had the opportunity to meet the producers in Spain, most of them in northern Spain along one of the most famous mountains in Spain, the Picos de Europa. The secret of his curing process is the several months that each piece cures in natural caves in the mountains of the area. Although, this is the reality of the process, the oldest story tells that a shepherd was milking in the valleys, and when seeing one of his latest conquests, left the milk in a nearby cave and ran after her. When the winter came and the shortage of milk followed, he remembered that he had left one vessel in the cave and went to that cave; he found the curds and the original cheese. It is probably just a story, but in the area, the oldest people say that the shepherds’ name was Gervasio …
Because of its versatility: our blue cheeses have something in common with each other; their strong personality but show a variety of aromas and flavors. You can decide which one best fits in each situation. Let me tell you my use: I buy mostly Covadonga, I use it mainly in combination with meat, and because it is the softer, I use for tapas with friends or assortments with other cheeses. I use Cabrales combined with other more mature: Montelarreina, Idiazabal or Roncal, sometimes combined with a fruity EVO – Picual or Hojiblanca olive variety. And finally, the Valdeon or La Peral, for me the strongest the pick from the refrigerator when my level of addiction comes to a peak… I find very few French blue cheeses, Belgian or English … that offer me so many possibilities.
I hope that you also like them and I will love to hear your opinions…