Although in this edition of the World Cheese Awards, Spanish cheeses have not fared as well as in previous years, the contest it has not been a catastrophe far from it. In a very close competition with a huge competition, there are many products from our country that have received distinctions.
Only two are those that have entered the top of tops, but our country has a total of 18 cheeses that already boast the super gold rating or ‘Super Gold’ in its category, three more than in 2018. Below we review what they are, what they stand out for and where we can buy them; hardcore cheesemakers will certainly want to try them all.
The 2019 edition of the World Cheese Awards has traveled to Italy for the first time to be held in Bergamo, taking advantage of the FORME cheese festival. Some 250 experts have tasted and scored the more than 3,500 participating cheeses, from 40 countries around the world. With so many variety contenders and so different characteristics, the process is not simple and it is mandatory to divide and award in various categories.
The members of the jury are divided into small groups of various awards; Each of these teams proposes an exceptional cheese, the so-called ‘super gold’, from which another 16-member expert jury selects and determines the ranking end of the best of the best. But the first list of the best cheeses in the world also deserves your recognition, and the high Spanish presence shows that our cheeses are in top shape.
The 18 best Spanish cheeses in the world
Semi-cured goat cheese (Quesos Sierra Sur)
This family-owned company, located in the region of the Sierra Sur de Jaén, is specialized in goat and sheep cheeses, and they also make yoghurts, taking great care of the quality of the milk. Its matured goat cheeses already have various national distinctions, but now it is the semi-cured that has stood out internationally.
With a minimum curing period of 45 days and a half of 60 days, it is a pasteurized goat’s milk cheese, with a paste with a soft and creamy texture, a mild flavor and aromas of aromatic herbs with dairy notes of butter and olive oil, with which the bark has been treated. Cost 13 euros per kilo although you can buy 400 g portions for 7 euros, vacuum packed.
Sarró De Cabra (Formatges Montbrú)
The farmhouse where this cheese factory is located dates back to the early nineteenth century, but it was in 1989 when it was legally established as such. What started as a small family business was expanded to establish a new, larger and more modern workshop, also renewing its image in 2010. At the Moianès region They make fresh cheeses and semi-cured goat cheeses, as well as all kinds of dairy products and others with buffalo milk.
His goat sarró cheese it already obtained a distinction in these awards in 2014 and 2015, and it will repeat this year. It is a semi-cured garrotxa goat, made from pasteurized milk, presented in pieces of approximately 1 kg. Intense, fresh, with citrus notes and a buttery texture, it costs 25.48 euros per unit complete, on the website of the cheese factory.
Torta del Casar PDO Virgen Del Prado (Doña Francisca Cheese Factory)
This Torta del Casar, with Protected Designation of Origin, is one of the two Spaniards that are part of the absolute top of the awards, which has also achieved the third best score in the category “Pure soft sheep’s milk cheese”.
It is the work of the Doña Francisca Cheese Factory in Casar de Cáceres, a cake made from raw merino sheep milk and a minimum maturity of 60 days. Available for sale on the cheese factory’s website, it is sold in three formats, with the price of the largest size (900 g) being 17 euros.
Cured Cheese Mahón Menorca (Son Vives)
Prestigious cheese from Mahón Menorca whose cheese factory has already achieved various national and international distinctions. The product awarded by the WCA is a mature cheese made with raw Menorcan and Friesian cow’s milk on the Son Vives farm, and also has the Protected Designation of Origin seal.
It is sold in handcrafted pieces of more than 2 kg, and can be found in specialized stores and for sale online for an approximate price of 36 euros.
Francisco Selección Cheese (Francisco Moran and Sons)
This family company has been making cheeses in an artisanal way for four generations, since its origins in the town of Carbajo (Cáceres) in 1920. Today they are specialized in the maturation of goat and sheep artisan cheeses, and they have also garnered different accolades over the years, including multiple mentions at the World Cheese Awards.
This year’s award-winning product is Francisco Selección cheese, a silver medal in the competition in 2018. It is a cured goat cheese, matured for six to eight months with Iberian lard, compact and firm, with flavor and aromas. intense, soft goat in aftertaste. The piece is sold on the page of the cheese factory at 13 euros unit.
Ecological Inanna (Parra Jiménez)
This cheese from the Parra Jiménez cheese factory (Las Meses, Cuenca) is the second awarded specimen within the top 16 list, in the category “Pure soft sheep’s milk cheese”. It combines organic La Mancha sheep’s milk and a Manchego wine made by the Parra Jiménez Family.
It can be purchased through the website of the cheese factory, although its price is not indicated and you have to ask for information to buy it; we imagine that will be elevated.
The Old Manchego Atrium (Queserías Entrepinares)
The Valladolid cheese factory is another of the old acquaintances of these awards, one of the largest manufacturers from our country and distributed to businesses such as Mercadona, under different names and brands; precisely the previous year his award-winning Viejo Tostado unleashed a certain madness in this supermarket chain.
The Atrio Manchego Viejo cheese is a pasteurized La Mancha sheep cheese produced in Toledo and marketed mainly in the United States, United Kingdom and the rest of Europe, according to the company. Another five products of the group have also been awarded, with the Bronzes of Mixture Curado and Oveja Viejo, for sale in Mercadona, at 3.41 and 3.88 euros the wedge, respectively.
Tetilla Cheese (Queserías Sarrianas)
Made in Sarria, Lugo, the company founded in 2003 makes cheese and condensed milk. This Teat, with Protected Designation of Origin, is produced with pasteurized cow’s milk, has a minimum maturity of seven days and is presented in the typical conical pieces weighing about 900 g. In this case distribute to professionals in boxes of six units, but you can contact the company to request sales information.
Los Gameros cured sheep cheese (Lácteos Martinez)
This cheese factory located in Haro, La Rioja, began its journey in 1961 and they already had eight medals obtained in the last edition of the awards. This time it has acquired the category of ‘Super Gold’ its cured sheep cheese, made with pasteurized sheep’s milk and sheep rennet.
It can be purchased through its website at a price of 42.78 euros the piece about 3.10 kg. It is presented with a natural bark obtained from the development of molds, combined with olive oil baths.
Oveja Winery (Finca De Uga)
The cheese factory located on the Lanzarote farm works only with the milk they receive from their 300 Majorera goats, 300 Canary sheep and 30 jersey cows; They produce both cheeses and yogurts, with a wide variety of products.
The winner, also with previous distinction in this contest, is a matured cheese made with only sheep’s milk, with a minimum maturation of 5 months, presented in 900 g pieces. It has aromas of toasted nuts and a slight acidity, not very spicy, and a slightly unctuous texture. Whoever is interested in acquiring it, can contact the company directly.
Azkarra cheese factory belongs to La Appellation of origin Idiazabal and they work following an artisan process inherited from yesteryear, in Galarreta, Álava, with sheep’s milk from their farms.
This cheese can be found in specialized stores and for sale online in various formats; costs approximately 35 euros the 1.4 kg piece.
Artisan sheep cheese cured in butter and thyme “Villarejo” (Quesos Artesanos Villarejo)
This family cheese factory was founded in 1987 and is located in Villarejo de Fuentes (Cuenca). Its award-winning sheep cheese is part of the company’s “specialties” category, and is a product of raw sheep’s milk with a minimum maturity of six months.
The crust is covered with thyme and Iberian lard, with the interior of an intense ivory color and a creamy texture with eyes distributed throughout the interior. It comes in formats of 3 kg, 1 kg, 1/2 cheese, 1/4 wedge and 1/8 wedge, and can be purchased on the cheese factory website at a price of 20-21 euros per kg, According to the size-
Sheep’s cheese in olive oil and aged rum (El Bosqueño)
El Bosqueño is a Cadiz cheese factory that already has numerous national and international recognitions. The ‘Super Gold’ product of this edition is a very particular cheese, within the category of sheep cheeses with additives, with a touch of aged rum.
It is made with sheep’s milk from the Sierra de Grazalema with a cure of 4 to 7 months. It is characterized by the process of the final part of its maturation, when it is bathed in olive oil and aged rum to enhance its flavor and natural scents. It can be purchased online at a price of 23 euros per kg, or at 11.50 euros the 500 g piece.
Artisan Manchego cheese Gran Reserva “Nuestra Señora de Fuentes” (Artisan Villarejo Cheeses)
Second ‘Super Gold’ cheese from this Cuenca cheese factory, in this case with the Manchego Cheese Designation of Origin seal, as it is made with raw milk from Manchego sheep. With a minimum maturation of twelve months, It is presented in pieces of 3 kg, 1/2 cheese, 1/4 wedge and 1/8 wedge. It is a cheese with intense aromas, as corresponds to a matured sheep, with hints of lactic acid and hints of cereals and toasted nuts.
It can also be purchased on the company’s website, with the same price range as the previous one, between 20 and 21 euros a kilo.