Understand the great variety of cheese from Portugal. With soft or strong taste.
Portugal is a country with a huge tradition in the production of good cheeses! They can be stronger or softer, of goat, cow or sheep ... they can be for a simple accompaniment of the bread, or to taste a good wine.
Good pastures and pastoralism have always been present, both as a means of subsistence and as an important traditional activity.
Of course, in herd lands, cheese is king. The king of the cheeses of Portugal is undoubtedly the cheese of the Serra da Estrela. But it is not the only one.
From north to south and on the islands, there are immense examples of quality cheese production.
Making cheese is an art, which appears at the table as an important element of the gastronomy of the region and which reveals the skill of the hands that give it shape.
In one way or another, the secret goes from generation to generation and this is how the cheese is still made: "by hand".
It is in the sense of continuing to preserve it that "Geographical Areas of Production" were created.
At present there are eleven "Denominations of Protected Origin" (PDO) and a "Geographical Indication" (GI), being:
Queijo de Azeitão, queijo da Beira Baixa, queijo de Cabra Transmontano, queijo Serra da Estrela, queijo de Évora, queijo de Nisa, queijo do Pico, queijo Rabaçal, queijo Serpa, queijo de S. Jorge e queijo Terrincho.
Of the various types of cheese made from sheep's milk, cow's milk, goat's milk or mix, the consistency of the paste, the taste and the fat content vary from region to region.
Queijo do Azeitão
It is a Portuguese sheep cheese, with origin in the region of Azeitão, in the district of Setúbal. Undergo a period of 20 days of curing, it is common being sold involved in vegetable paper. It has a soft paste, with aroma and flavor that resemble the cheese of the Serra.
Queijo de cabra transmontano
It is a cheese from the region of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro.
It is a cheese made from the Serrana goat breed. It is a cheese of very hard paste and whitish color. Curd is obtained using animal rennet. The maturation of this cheese lasts at least 60 days, and the cheeses are washed periodically.
Queijo de Évora
It is a cheese that originates in the city of Évora, in the Alentejo region. Made from sheep's milk, it is a cured, hard or semi-hard cheese, of yellowish color, that darkens in contact with the air, being its flavor, somewhat acidulated, and slightly spicy. The crust may be smooth or slightly rough. Its production involves the coagulation of the raw milk, after which the curd is depleted, using the action of the thistle.
Queijo de Nisa
Originating in the locality of Nisa, in the region of Alto Alentejo.
Made with sheep's milk, it is a semi-hard cheese cured, with color between white and yellow. Its production involves the coagulation of the raw milk, after which the curd is depleted slowly, using a thistle infusion.
Queijo do Pico
It originated in Pico Island, in the region of the Azores.
Made from raw cow's milk, it is a cured cheese, obtained through the slow exhaustion of the curd, after the use of rennet of animal origin. The cure should take at least 20 days.
Queijo do Rabaçal
With origin in the Village of Rabaçal, in the region of Coimbra.
Cured cheese with semi-hard to hard dough. Made from the mixture of sheep and goat milk, by the action of animal rennet and handmade production. After salting, the cheeses are washed day after day, not for a few days, followed by a cure for a minimum of 20 days.
Queijo de São Jorge
With origin in the Island of São Jorge, Azores.
Queijo São Jorge is produced exclusively with raw, dairy milk. The milk is coagulated into curd, after catalysing by acidification, from a lacto-serum obtained from previous manufacturing.
Queijo de Serpa
Origin of the region of Serpa, Alentejo
It is a cured cheese, white or yellowish or straw yellow, semimole, closed and buttery, with few or no eyes.
It is obtained by slow depletion of the curd after the coagulation of the raw milk of sheep, by the action of an infusion of thistle. It retains the traditional form of manufacture and reveals characteristics attributable to milk and thus to the traditional way of handling sheep.
Queijo da Serra da Estrela
The oldest of the Portuguese cheeses, and the most famous. He was present at the tables of kings.
Serra da Estrela is used as pasture for the Serra da Estrela or Churra Mondegueira sheep, which are considered to be the best dairy cattle. Nowadays, the manufacture of the cheese and its ritual are done in a traditional way, as they did hundreds of years ago.
With origin in the district of Bragança, in the region of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro.
Made from Churra's sheep's milk from Terra Quente, it is a cured, semi-soft cheese with slightly unctuous paste, uniform white color and mild flavor.
Queijo Castel Branco
Cured cheese, semi-soft or semi-soft, slightly yellowish, with a few small eyes, obtained by slow curdling, after coagulation of raw sheep's milk, on the basis of an infusion of thistle.
It is a milk-derived product, produced in Portugal and Brazil.
The Portuguese product is white to yellowish-white, solid, and usually having a characteristic strong taste; typically sold in specially designed draining plastic or basket-like weaved containers, or in plastic cups.
The Brazilian product is a type of cream cheese white in color (but not similar to the American notion of cream cheese, and may be better understood as "creamy cheese"). It has a mild taste and its consistency can vary from creamy solid.