Le Tastevin Wine Club - Notes on Cheeses – March 14, 2018
Cheeses and breads are from Whole Foods in Ann Arbor.
P'tit Basque (semi-hard sheep's milk) is a cheese made on the northern side of the Pyrenees mountain range, the home of P'tit Basque. The rolling nature of these mountains with vast pastures provide fertile grazing lands, and is one of very few regions still home to hundreds of small cheesemakers. While industrially produced cheeses have made major gains in the lowlands, there are still hundreds of small mountain cheesemakers left who stick to the same traditional methods established by their ancestors centuries ago. The herds of these artisans average just one to two hundred sheep. These are hand-milked and thus yield the shepherd, on average, only two or three ten-pound wheels a day. In addition to the low-yield, this is also a labor-intensive cheese. The curd is "cut", literally, by hand. The cheesemakers reach an arm into their kettle of warm curd, and ever so slowly, break it by hand into small pieces from which the final cheese will be formed.
Manchego El Trigal DOP Reserva Origin (sheep's milk) is from the Castilla La Mancha region. This DOP cheese, which can be made only from the milk of the Manchega sheep that graze in the provinces of Albacete, Ciudad Real, Cuenca, and Toledo, all of which form the region of La Mancha. The best cheese is produced when the milk is the richest, between August and December. The pattern on the rind honors a time when the cheese was wrapped in sheets of woven esparto grass. The Corcuera family was the first in all of Castilla La Mancha to make and commercialize Manchego cheese. The family produces the cheese in the province of Toledo using same day milk, producing a more buttery Manchego. This complex, full-flavored nutty Manchego is aged more than 1 year and packaged in elegant wooden crates. Truly an outstanding Manchego, far superior to others in the industry.
Page last updated: March 26, 2018 (EB)