La Serena cheese
Which area of Spain is it typical?
- Autonomous region: Extremadura
The origin of La Serena cheese is lost in far-off times, when the transhumant sheep flocks wintered in Extremadura. Since then, tradition has made this cheese one of the most outstanding once from the Extremaduran region.
The Extremaduran county of La Serena is the cradle of this excellent cheese, with a Designation of Origin, made from raw full cream milk from Merino sheep with vegetable rennet - "yerbacuajo" - obtained by macerating wild thistle flowers. Once matured, the cheese appears fine, with a waxy yellow rind showing the imprint of the esparto grass mould it is made in. To the touch it is soft or slightly hard depending on its maturing. Its flavour is unusual, slightly bitter when it is mature and buttery when it is mild. During the maturing process, some cheeses crack as their inside softens until it turns into an almost liquid paste. This gives rise to the famous La Serena cakes, even more highly appreciated than the cheese itself because of their intense, pleasantly bitter flavour and creamy consistency. The 'La Serena Cheese" Designation of Origin, whose Control Board controls the entire manufacturing and maturing process, was set up in 1992.
- Type of product: Others
- Season: All year round.
- Origin: The county of La Serena includes twenty-one muncipalities in the province of Badajoz in the southeastern part of Extremadura. It is a plateau area of gentle relief and few trees, where the merino sheep graze, providing the milk with which this much appreciated cheese, high in protein and fat content, is made.
- To drink with it: La Serena cheese allows various accompaniments such as dry full-bodied wine of the manzanilla or fino type, dry white wine or crianza or young reds.
- Varieties: Cake-type cheese, with soft creamy paste inside. Medium mature cheese, whose paste, although soft, is not as creamy as in the previous case. Mature cheese, matured for five or more months. It has a hard paste and quite a spicy flavour.
- Energy: Average
- Cholesterol: Average
- Comments: Rich in lipids, proteins and calcium.