Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘cheese’

The Life of an Alpine Goat on Santa Gadea Farm

French Alpine Goats

French Alpine Goats on Santa Gadea Farm

You are a French Alpine goat living on Santa Gadea Farm in a valley, near Burgos in Castilla y Leon, Spain. Go ahead, picture it. You live on 2,500 acres of land along with 999 of your best goat buddies, as well as deer, wild pigs, foxes, wild cats and even Egyptian vultures. Quite a cosmopolitan mix! You make your home in a unique region that is halfway between humid, Northern Spain and dry, Mediterranean Spain. It is land of rocky peaks and naked valleys, blanketed with snow during the winter and abundantly green during the summer. You spend your days grazing in beautiful organic pastures that are completely absent of transgenic or chemical fertilizers.

Winter in the Valley

Can you picture it?  You are the envy of other French Alpine goats not lucky enough to live on Santa Gadea Farm. You have been selected by Alfonso Perez-Andujar to help him fulfill his dream to build a sustainable goat cheese farm from scratch. Your organic milk is used to make creamy, artisan cheeses like Santa Gadea No1 and Santa Gadea No2. You contribute your milk to the making of delicious cheeses that are produced sustainably, with a positive impact on the environment.  If goats could drive I’m sure you’d own a hybrid car!

Santa Gadea Cheese

Santa Gadea Cheese

The cheese called Santa Gadea No1 is creamy, rich and smooth with a multi-dimensional flavor that lingers on the palate. It is a soft white moldy medallion covering a smoot and creamy paste. Santa Gadea No2 is has fresh, rich aromas, begins its life with mild flavors and finishes with a sharper taste. It is a short, ivory colored cheese with a clay-like rind and an almost fluid center. 

When you think of people around the world serving your cheese with fresh or dried fruit, some almonds, crunchy artisanal bread and a glass of crisp white wine, how can you not be the proudest French Alpine goat in Castilla y Leon, Spain?

Okay, snap out of it. You’re no longer a goat but I hope we’ve left you with the urge to try these wonderful cheeses.  We look forward to the imminent arrival of these cheeses as part of our campaign to celebrate the foods of Castilla y Leon.

Read Full Post »

Selecting cheeses and accompaniments for the perfect cheese plate is more of an art than a science.  There are a few rules of thumb, but with so many cheeses to choose from, the cheese plate is an expression of the person who puts the selection together. This post will give you some tips for building an extraordinary Spanish cheese plate that reflects the personality of you, the chef.  
 
 

Spanish Cheese Selection

Spanish Cheese Selection

Tip #1:Include a variety of flavors and textures.

Cheeses generally fit into a few main categories: aged, soft, firm, and blue. Or you can select cheeses by type of milk used to make them: cow, sheep, goat, or a blend. Regardless of the cheeses you select, it is always a good idea to include one more familiar cheese, like Manchego, but your choices are bounded only by your creativity and of course availability.

Spanish Cheeses by Category

  • Aged:  Montelarreina, Idiazabal, Rosemary Sheep’s Milk
  • Soft: Camerano Semi Cured Goat, Torta del Casar, Monte Enebro
  • Firm: Organic Raw Goat, 12 Month Manchego
  • Blue: Covadonga, Cabrales, Valdeon
 Spanish Cheeses by Milk Type
  • Cow: Mahon, Tetilla, La Peral
  • Sheep: Manchego, Idiazabal, Montelarreina, Rosemary Sheep’s Milk, Olive Manchego, Torta del Casar
  • Goat: Camerano, Garrotxa, Wine Goat, Organic Raw Goat, San Mateu Catalonian Goat
Tip #2: Offer a variety of breads. You can vary taste, textures, shape and size of breads just like you do with cheeses. Include a chewy baguette and fig bread, or picos and tortas de aceite for variety and flavor.
 
Piquillo Pepers

Piquillo Peppers

Tip #3: Offer jarred sauces or vegetables as an easy accompaniment. Quince paste, or membrillo is a perfect sweet accompaniment to a salty and firm cheese like Manchego or Montelarreina. Piquillo peppers have a sweet, rich flavor that compliments tangy goat cheeses or even blues like Covadonga.

Tip #4: Add a sweet and a salty food.  Salty jamon Serrano or jamon Iberico are perfect accompaniments to a combination of cheeses from Spain, as are Marcona almonds, salty Gordal olives and sweet caramelized olives.

What’s on your ideal Spanish cheese plate?

 

Interested in the Spanish foods you read about on this blog? Wholesale clients like restaurants and retail stores, please visit. www.Solexapartners.com. Consumers, please visit www.FoodSpain101.com.

Read Full Post »

Torta del Casar Cheese

The world of Spanish cheese is a wide and wonderful one. From the classic Manchego, and the assertive Covadonga blue to the conical Tetilla and the tangy Monte Enebro, there is something for everyone in Spain’s world of cheese.

Today we’re going to put a spotlight on one of our favorites, the Torta del Casar. This sheep’s milk cheese from the Extremadura region in Western Spain is unique both in flavor and form.  The flavor is full, intense and slightly salty. Some say the cheese has a smoky and somewhat rustic flavor. The cheese gets a subtle bitterness from the rennet  used to curdle the sheep’s milk when it is made, which is derived from the pistils of a wild thistle plant. All of these characteristics would make this cheese a unique one, but we haven’t even touched on the Torta del Casar’s shape and consistency.

Gooey and Gorgeous

Torta del Casar has a soft creamy texture and takes part of its name, Torta, from its cake-like shape. At room temperature, which is how this cheese should be served, the center has an almost liquid, melted quality. In Spain Torta del Casar is cut into slices or a hole is cut in the top and the cheese is scooped out with a spoon or a piece of bread or cracker. Serve this gooey delicacy along with caramelized onions or chutney.

Bocadillo of Veal with Peppers and Torta del Casar

Yes, serving the Torta del Casar opened at the top with a little crusty bread is certainly a traditional and classic way of serving this cheese. But there is more to this versatile cheese than meets the eye. Serve triangles of Torta del Casar with an accent of Spanish Sherry Syrup. Or serve it with pasta, atop onion soup, cooked into a sauce and drizzled over a steak, or fried and served with a raspberry syrup.

Follow the links below for these recipe ideas and more.  (Titles in Spanish link to recipes in Spanish)

Read Full Post »

Mahon Mania

Off the coast of Spain, in the Mediterranean, you will find Menorca, one of the Balearic Islands, and the home of Mahon cheese, named for the town of its origin. This beautiful Island has a long history of cheese making that dates all the way back to the 13th century. Today, dairy farming for the production of cheese remains key to the economy of the Island. In fact, Menorca is now a protected Unesco Biosphere zone with a mission to conserve natural beauty while supporting a sustainable economy on the island.

The Taste of Mahon

Mahon Cheese

Mahon Cheese

Enough about history, let’s talk about flavor. Mahon, a protected denomination of origin (D.O.) cheese is made from the milk of cows that are indigenous to Menorca. And whether fresh or aged, Mahon is buttery, sharp, slightly salty and has sweet and nutty aromatic notes. Mahon’s sweet and fruity but at times slightly salty taste is due in part to the sea salt content in the grasses the cows eat. Just picture those cows hanging out on the island of Menorca, enjoying the view and munching on a little grass salad seasoned with sea salt. Visually, Mahon has a unique personality as well.  The rind is generally an orange color since the rind is rubbed with butter, or oil, and paprika as the cheese ages.

Age before Beauty

Mahon cheese is sold in both semi-cured (aged at least 45 days) and cured varieties (aged at least 5 months). We love both the younger and the more mature cheeses, but these days it seems like everyone is focused on youth. So for this blog we’re going to focus on the more mature Mahon Curado.  As it ages, Mahon starts to develop small irregularly shaped holes and some granularity. These two characteristics help to give aged Mahon its personality and distinguish it from its less mature siblings.

Calzone with Mahon and Sobrasada

Calzone with Mahon and Sobrasada Photo Courtesy of directoalpaladar.com

Mahon cheese is one of the most versatile cheeses in Spain. In Spain, Mahon is often served as an appetizer, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and a sprig of fresh Rosemary. Grate it over pasta, potatoes, rice or a vegetable like asparagus for an alternative to ordinary Parmesan. Served as part of a cheese selection, Mahon stands up to a big and spicy Spanish red wine.   

The opportunities are endless. How do you like Mahon?

Read Full Post »

Fall is in the air. And with fall comes a whole new selection of seasonal foods. As the air gets cooler and the colors around us start to change, our palates and stomachs ask for heartier foods and more satisfying flavor.  This fall, Solex Partners offers two new goat cheeses perfect for the season.

.

Depth that Comes with Age

Aged Raw Goat Cheese

This month, Solex Partners introduces an Aged Raw Goat Cheese that has been aged 6 months. It is firm with an edible rind and provides the tanginess you expect from pure goat’s milk in a cheese that has a satisfying bite.  The rind retains the look of the baskets that have been used to cure these cheeses for hundreds of years and when cut open, reveals a dense cheese that is creamy white in color. This cheese is a delicious compliment to the hearty flavors of fall.

.

Young and Sweet

Pedro Ximenez Goat Cheese

Pedro Ximenez Goat Cheese

With the same credentials, but much younger, our Goat Cheese in Pedro Ximenez provides a different and unique flavor. This smooth, semi-soft cheese is made from pasteurized pure goat’s milk and is bathed in Pedro Ximenez wine as it ages for four weeks.  Pedro Ximenez wine, made from the grape of the same name has a controversial history. Legend has it that the grape was brought to Andalusia by a soldier in Charles V’s navy named Pedro Ximenez.  Regardless of the veracity of this history, the Pedro Ximenez wine imparts its sweet flavor and grape coloring to this cheese. The resulting aromatic cheese has a sweet, slightly salty flavor and an edible wine-colored rind. This cheese provides a unique flavor experience, perfect in salads or paired with a semi-dry or sweet wine.

.

Nature’s first Green Citizen

Malaguena Goats

Malaga Goats

The maker of these cheeses, Biznaga Spanish Delights takes its name from the Jasmine flower that is the symbol of the city of Malaga, located on Spain’s Southern coast. Malaga has a long tradition of cheese making that has its roots in the region’s ideal conditions for goat herding. Their cheeses are made from the milk of Payoya and Malageña and goats. The Malageña goat is indigenous to Malaga and is well adapted to the mountainous terrain that has been its home for centuries.   This rustic goat is one of nature’s first “green” citizens, thriving in areas with limited natural resources and highly adaptable to different zones and ecosystems.

Read Full Post »