Living in the Montes de Malaga, a daily spectacle we are fortunate to see are the goats grazing on the mountainside, and being ushered along by their faithful shepherds, leaving a trail of goat devastation about them. One of the first things my baby daughter learned to say in Spanish was ‘Cabras’ , often as we drive the mountain roads, and turn blind corners we are met head on by a herd of goats casually wandering and going about their hunt for food.
The benefits of the herds naturally wandering, means their food they consume, is full of wild goodness, thus resulting in milk rich and plentiful.
My local town of Colmenar, makes the best from this milk, in way of fabulous Goats cheese, and on my doorstep, the milk is collected daily from farmers of the co-operative and from the length and breadth of the Axarquia , to the ‘fabrica de quesos‘ the cheese factory in the town.
Yesterday I was fortunate to accompany the inspiring Axalingua language school on their tour of the factory and a behind the scenes view, of the cheese production. Hand made cheeses and a small factory keeping the local produce alive.
Donning my protective and hygienic robes, we were showed all forms of production, from the milk arrival to the storing & curing to the packaging.
After our visit of the factory, we were invited to sample the delicious cheese.
Four types of cheese are produced,
Queso Fresco, a soft, white young cheese, made one day eaten the next, ideal for aperitifs, and desserts, and used in salads. I love it cubed mixed with ripe tomatoes, olives sliced red onions, a sprinkle of salt & dried wild oregano and drizzled with balsamic syrup.
Semicurado – This is a cheese that is left to cure for 1 to 3 months, increasing in flavour and hardening, and ideal cheese foe everyday use.
Leche Cruda- A cheese of intense aromas and flavour, conserving all the natural properties of the goats milk.
Curado – My favourite a strong, hard cheese left to cure for many months to harden, it almost has a light spicy flavour. Enjoyed on its own in all it’s glory alongside a crisp cold fino.
I love to keep these cheeses in my fridge, along with some local membrillo (quince paste) , and if we have impromptu guests, we have the perfect tapa, and a real taste of our home in the ‘Montes de Malaga’.