Milk: Sheep, Pasteurized
Country: Spain, La Mancha
Accompaniment: Medium reds, off-dry whites
The unique shape of this traditional Spanish sheep’s milk cheese is a result of the fact that the nomadic families that traditionally would make these cheeses on their annual trek through the Spanish countryside, would be limited in what they could carry to make cheese with. In fact, the heaviest article would be salt. To separate the whey from the curds they would weave baskets from Esparto grass, with small wooden channeled boards at the top and the bottom for putting pressure on the curds and dispersing the whey. This gives the cheese its unique shape.
Manchego received a DOP in 1985, which means that only cheese made in La Mancha with 100% with milk from the Manchega sheep, can be called Manchego.
The cheese is firm and has a spread of small holes in it. The taste of the base cheese is nutty, complex and slightly tangy. To make the cheese even more flavorful, the cheesemakers decided to add black truffle and black truffle oil.