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Posts Tagged ‘Manchego’

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.

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Iberico Ham on Columbus DayFestivities Fit for a King

Last week we celebrated the anniversary of the day that Christopher Columbus first set foot in the Americas. Here in the United States we call it Columbus Day. Schools are closed, cities host parades and those of us who have to work grumble about it.  In Spain the day is called Fiesta Nacional, or National Day of Spain, and it is also celebrated with a parade. But not just an ordinary parade,  in Madrid the parade is presided over by a member of Spain’s royal family, King Juan Carlos I.  Here in Chicago, Solex Partners celebrated the day with the Spanish Consul, 200 happy Spaniards and a Jamon Iberico de Bellota. Madrid had the King of Spain, we had the king of hams! And the Jamon Iberico de Bellota, or Pata Negra, truly is an example of porcine royalty. 

Food Around the World

As you can tell, in the Solex world everything ties back to food. So, Columbus Day got me thinking about our bounty of old and new world foods, and the wonderful results of their coming together. By the time Columbus left Spain with the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria, the country already had a long and delicious culinary history. Beautiful cheeses like Manchego have thousands of years of history behind them. Today, the rind of the Manchego is still characterized by a braided pattern that harkens back to the grass baskets that were originally used to cure the cheese.Manchego Cheese I could talk for hours about foods that are synonymous with Spain like chorizo, paella, and olive oil! But let’s talk new world foods.

 

Old World Meets New

The new world offered new and (then) exotic foods like the tomato, the potato, chocolate and vanilla. These foods would change the face of Spain’s and the world’s gastronomy forever. Juicy, red tomatoes are the signature ingredient for Spain’s cool and velvety gazpacho.  And who can imagine the tasty Tortilla Espanola without the potatoes that give it that extra firmness? Finally, what would the churro be without its friend, melted, gooey chocolate? They are two foods that were made for each other! Just like Spanish and new world foods.

Churros and Chocolate

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