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Posts Tagged ‘spanish 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.

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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?

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