I love my in-laws dearly. Not just because they raised the man I was to marry, but also because they bring me cheese whenever they visit from Spain. This trip I was lucky enough to receive two wheels of Manchego, the most famous artisan cheese from Spain. One wheel was the standard “curado” or cured version (pictured on the right), while the other was the “semi-curado” or less aged (left).
click to enlarge:
Manchego is made from the milk of the Manchega sheep, in the central region of La Mancha (also home of Don Quixote). Sheep’s milk is incredibly rich and good for you, and true Manchego cheese is a complex and divine experience in both the semi-cured and cured forms. Nutty, grassy with a hint of crushed olives, it is perfect with an Albarino wine or a fruity Pinot Noir.
You can buy great examples of this cheese at the new Spanish specialty food shop Despaña (408 Broome Street/Lafayette). Pick up a cured ham while you are at it and munch through some jamón y queso next time you crave a taste of the Mediterranean. Olé…!
Note: Look for the D.O. symbol of authenticity to make sure you are getting the real deal.