This Cabrales cheese is a cheese made in the peaks of Europe in the part where Asturias and Cantabria border. Being typical its elaboration in the natural caves in these mountains, where the tradition for the elaboration of cheeses is very old.
Cabrales cheese is very famous for its unique appearance and flavor, being a blue cheese, with a smooth texture, a strong flavor that is spicy and intense in the mouth and a little acidic. Its appearance and smell can sometimes lead us, those who are not very knowledgeable about this cheese, to think that its condition is bad, since its smell is strong and its appearance has white, dark green nuances, which can lead us to a wrong conclusion.
This cabrales cheese, like picón cheese, is made in natural caves in Picos de Europa, which makes the molds from the caves' humidity do their job of natural maturation and that unique appearance and incomparable flavor.
Cabrales cheese can be found with different varieties of milk, Cow, Goat and Sheep or Cow and Goat or only cow.
This Cabrales cheese has the authentication seal of its Protected Designation of Origin, which includes rigorous requirements for making the cheese (both its production and curing location and its ingredients). Cabrales cheese PDO
Cabrales cheese is a natural blue cheese, handcrafted by the farmers themselves, with raw cow's milk or with a mixture of two or three kinds of milk: cow, sheep and goat. When ripe, it has a bluish-green color and the dough is creamy, with a very strong smell. The cheese will be more or less yellow the greater the amount of cow's milk that has been used, although it generally has a rather better-tasting tone.
It is popularly known that cheeses pair with wine, especially if it is red. There is no tax rule regarding the harmonious relationship between cheeses and wines. When tasting a table it is important to find the balance of a wine that harmonizes in a general way with most cheeses and that also depends on personal tastes.
The recommendations for cabrales cheese are the following wines (although in terms of taste, it can be combined in the best way for each one):
Cabrales Cheese is an Asturian cheese, made naturally and by hand by the farmers of the area, with raw cow's milk or with a mixture of two or three kinds of milk: cow, sheep and goat.
After its production, the cheese is transferred to the natural caves in the mountains, where the maturation process begins, which lasts between two and four months. These caves present the ideal natural conditions for the maturation of Cabrales: a humidity of 90% and a temperature that oscillates between 8 ° C and 12 ° C. In addition, these environmental conditions allow the development of molds in the cheese, which then They are presented in the form of greenish-blue streaks. Cabrales cheese is characterized by its slightly spicy flavor, especially when it has been made with goat and sheep milk, both pure and mixed.
Once matured, Cabrales cheese has the following characteristics: a cylindrical shape, 7 to 15 centimeters high; a soft, thin bark, gray in color with reddish-yellow areas; a creamy and compact paste, with different degrees of cohesion; a minimum humidity of 30%; and a fat content of at least 45% on the dry extract.
For marketing, the cheese is wrapped in green aluminum foil. The presentation also includes the manufacturer's label and the back label of the Regulatory Council, the body in charge of guaranteeing authenticity, quality and compliance with the rules of the Cabrales Protected Designation of Origin.
How to know if a Cabrales cheese is of good quality?
According to the tasting manual and the conditions imposed by the PDO, there are a series of minimum parameters to determine the quality of a Cabrales cheese. Some of these parameters are appearance, texture, and olfactory-gustatory characteristics.
To evaluate the appearance of Cabrales cheese, it is convenient to focus on the following aspects:
The shape: the cheese must have a cylindrical shape, but also its heels must be straight or slightly convex. The weight must vary between 0.750 g and 4 kilograms.
The bark: the maturation takes place in the natural caves of the high mountains of Asturias. Due to the high humidity of these environments, the Cabrales bark is soft and thin. It does not have to present cracks, the color must be orange-brown or grayish and it must be muddy to the touch.
The color of the pasta: it must present an ivory white hue, which may present small variations, according to the type of milk used in the preparation. The color must be homogeneous throughout the mass, characterized by its bluish green streaks, due to the growth of the "Penicillium" type fungus.
Characteristics of the development of Penicillium: the fungus will spread throughout the mass. The color of Penicillium is bluish-green, and can vary from light to dark depending on the time of maturation; however, it should never turn black.
To analyze the texture of Cabrales, we must pay attention to the firmness of the pasta. Although it depends on the ripening time, its optimum quality is found in the semi-soft or soft consistencies. Both guarantee that the cheese has been matured in the natural caves for the necessary time. The texture must be homogeneous throughout the dough.
If we want to evaluate the olfactory-gustatory characteristics of Cabrales, we have to look at the smell, taste and taste. The smell of Cabrales cheese is intense and penetrating, but also clean, pleasant and fruity. The taste should be salty, bitter, sour and spicy, but also balanced. For its part, the residual taste emphasizes the flavor that the cheese leaves on the palate once ingested: it must persist for a few minutes.
We already know: if the Cabrales cheese has dimensions different from those mentioned, if its taste is too salty or bitter, if the color of the pasta looks rather brown and does not present bluish green areas, if we can barely distinguish the growth of the fungus "Penicillium" and the texture tends to crack, if its aroma is weak and confusing and the aftertaste that remains after ingesting it seems rancid, then, we are faced with an imitation of Cabrales cheese , that is, a cheese that has not It has been elaborated according to the traditional techniques incorporated in the PDO nor with the native raw materials of the Asturias areas registered as legitimate for the elaboration of the cheese. We are facing not endorsed by the Regulatory Council.
Now you can enjoy the unique flavor of Cabrales cheese. With all you know, they won't be able to sell you the copy instead of the authentic Asturias cheese.