Manchego is a traditional Spanish cheese produced in certain areas of the La Mancha region. It’s protected under the Denominación de Origen (DOP) classification in Spain and has been granted Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) by the EU, meaning it cannot be produced anywhere else in the world.
Manchego is a sheep milk cheese, only made with milk from the Manchega breed, raised in the designated production areas. It’s traditionally aged between 2 and 24 months, with cheese look, texture, and flavor dramatically changing throughout the aging process.
Manchego cheese aged for only 2-3 months has a semi-hard texture, pale ivory color, and a more tangy and grassy flavor, with distinct hints of nuttiness and sweetness. The further the cheese is aged, the further nutty and sweet tones are developed, overpowering the tangy notes. With time more peppery notes start to come forward, with Manchego aged for more than a year, developing a very sharp, herby, and peppery flavor.
Manchego’s complex and robust flavor makes it a versatile ingredient and an excellent pairing for the majority of cured meats, fruits, and nuts, as well as a fitting topping for more complex dishes like sandwiches, pasta, salads, etc.