Explore six of the most popular varieties of Spanish cheese, their distinctive flavors and what wines to pair them with.
The cheeses of Spain may not be as well known as those from France & Italy, but Spain’s talented cheese producers make a delicious variety of cow’s milk, sheep’s milk and goat cheeses that are becoming increasingly available in the U.S.
Here are 6 wonderful varieties that will make a great cheese plate for your next dinner party or special family meal.
Manchego is a sheep’s milk cheese produced in La Mancha is a popular Spanish cheese in America. It’s a semi-firm, nutty flavored cheese that’s available in a few varieties, from young and mild to aged and slightly sharp. Pair with a full-bodied red wine (Rioja).
La Serena is a soft sheep’s milk cheese with a sharp, earthy flavor and a rich creamy texture. It can be served as a “dip” by carefully slicing off the top and allowing people to scoop out the cheese with chunks of crusty bread. Pair with a full-bodied red wine (Tempranillo).
Mahon is a semi-firm cow’s milk cheese produced in the Balearic Islands. It has a salty, somewhat sharp flavor that conveys its windswept Mediterranean island origin well. Pair with a full-bodied red wine (Tempranillo).
Monte Enebro is a soft goat’s milk cheese made by only one producer, Rafael Baez. This distinctive, creamy cheese is coated with a combination of ash and mold, which helps it develop a complex, slightly acidic flavor. Pair with white wine (Albariño).
Idiazabal is a lightly smoked sheep’s milk cheese from the Basque region of Spain. It has a hard texture and a sharp, nutty flavor with just a hint of smoke. Pair with a full-bodied red wine (Rioja).
Valdeón is a blue cheese made from both cow’s and goat’s milk. The cheese is wrapped in chestnut leaves for aging, which imparts a complex, mellow flavor and a soft, creamy texture. It’s much more mildly flavored than Spain’s better known blue, Cabrales. Pair with a full-bodied red wine (Rioja).