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Manchego cheese

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Manchego (officially Queso Manchego) is a cheese made in the La Mancha region of Spain from the milk of sheep of the Manchega breed, which is aged for between 60 days and two years.

Manchego has a firm and compact consistency and a buttery texture, and often contains small, unevenly-distributed air pockets. The colour of the cheese varies from white to ivory-yellow, and the inedible rind from yellow to brownish beige. The cheese has a distinctive flavour, well developed but not too strong, creamy with a slight piquancy, and leaves an aftertaste that is characteristic of sheep’s milk.

Manchego has a variety of different flavours depending on its age. There are three versions of maturity sold:

Fresco – the fresh cheese is aged for only 2 weeks, with a rich but mild flavour. Produced in small quantities, it is rarely found outside Spain.

Curado is a semi-firm cheese aged for three to six months with a sweet and nutty flavour.

Viejo, aged for one year is firm with a sharper flavour the longer it is aged and a rich deep pepperiness to it. It grates well but can also be eaten on its own or as tapas.

The designation Queso Manchego is protected under Spain's Denominación de Origen (DO) regulatory classification system and the cheese has been granted Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status by the European Union.

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