The climatology and orography of the region offer some very favorable conditions for the production of high quality pastures, ensure the feeding of dairy cattle naturally most of the year. The characteristics of the pastures, species and breeds of livestock and production traditions typical of different areas of the region have given rise to the different types of traditional Asturian cheeses. Five of them have European protection seals: Cabrales, Gamonéu, Casín and Afuega'l Pitu cheeses enjoy Protected Designation of OriginWhile Los Beyos cheese is protected with the Protected Geographical Indication seal.
How many varieties of cheese are there in Asturias?
There are 42 varieties of cheeses that are made in Asturias, so we can say that it is one of the regions of Europe that produces the most types of cheese. They are a hundred artisan producers.
Of all of them we are going to choose 10 to let you know a small part.
1 Cabrales DOP cheese
The most famous of the cheeses of our land. From strong smell and powerful flavor, semi-hard, buttery and with intense aftertaste on the palate.
About Cabrales cheese there is little to discover at this point, everything has been said ...
It is made from raw cow's milk throughout the year and during the months of June and July it is mixed with milk from sheep and goat.
Mature cheese in caves from two to five months, in them there is a relative humidity of 90% and a temperature of between 8º and 12º C, indispensable requisites to get a good cheese.
Cabrales cheese is more than just a dairy product, because it has behind it the weight of an entire…
2 Gamonéu Cheese DOP
Three milk cheese, made in the heart of the Picos de Europa National Park. Like the Cabrales matures in natural caves and is indebted to a transhumant pastoral culture, which in spring and summer seeks high mountain pastures for your cows, sheep and goats. After two months in the cave the bark becomes slightly smoked, it is covered in a Musty veil of reddish, gray and greenish tones. The pasta becomes dry and brittle, with a slightly spicy and developed flavor.
To know well how is the elaboration of this peculiar cheese we can choose get closer to Benia de Onís, and enjoy a route on foot, visit a cheese factory where they explain the whole process and if we dare, take a wedge to remember these valleys after going back home.
Cheese route through Benia de Onís
Onís is a peasant "conceyu" that structured its history, culture and economy around the figure of...
Guided visits to the Gamonéu cheese factories
A good way to get closer to the cheese par excellence of the Asturian sheepfolds is to immerse yourself in its…
3 Afuega'l Pitu PDO Cheese
It is made with Friesian cow pasteurized milk and its production area covers the central-western area of Asturias, in 13 municipalities.
It is named in Asturian and does not support an exact translation nor a clear etymology, it would literally mean "to drown the chicken", according to some it alludes to the peculiarity it has of sticking to the palate and pharynx (pitu in colloquial Asturian) during its tasting.
It's a cheese creamy, unctuous and tough, tending to acid, with a very particular aroma, like a lot or nothing. It has a grainy texture and white-yellowish or orange bark if paprika is used in its preparation.
Afuega'l Pitu Cheese
Of somewhat indeterminate origin, it is known that Afuega el Pitu cheese is one of the oldest cheeses...
4 Cheese of the Beyos IGP
Cow and sheep milk or cow's milk only, cylindrical molds of small size and two or three weeks of maturation. It is the essence of this little cheese.
It is made in the councils of Ponga and Amieva in a totally handmade way. This exquisite work of art does not usually exceed 15 centimeters in diameter and its weight ranges between a quarter and a half kilo.
With its texture adapts to all occasions: as an appetizer, in salads, in a kitchen for cachopos or sauces and for dessert with a bit of quince jam it is an 10.
The little cheese of the Beyos
Just as oysters keep pearls for human ostentation, the yellowish rind of cheese from the…
5 Taramundi Cheese
By its name we already discovered its cradle, the municipality of Taramundi, in the western end of the Principality of Asturias. Rich pasture area and artisanal knowledge.
We can taste three varieties: the walnut and hazelnut, the matured goat and cow (at 50% of both milk) and the pure goat. The first of them is perhaps the most demanded, it is the only one in Spain that contains dried fruit and certainly inimitable flavor. All three have the same milk essence, the same know-how and a unmistakable, long and buttery taste.
Super cheese to melt and gratinate, will pleasantly surprise you. Consume it only with cider, white wines or Ribeiros.
The Taramundi cheeses
The homemade wisdom of Taramundi, accustomed to self-consumption for centuries, has managed to rescue the manual...
6 Casin DOP Cheeses
It is elaborated in the case council, inside the Redes Natural Park.
Its unique taste is due to three factors: the Exclusive cow milk casina, a high-fat milk. The second factor is the rennet used, from dried stomach of pork. And the third, the strictly artisanal process that is followed throughout the elaboration and the time of curing.
Its color is yellowish, creamy and without crust. Its aroma very powerful. The flavor is strong and somewhat spicy, slightly bitter at the end of the mouth.
The technique is laborious, the gorollos are formed, frustoconical portions that must be passed through the roller, repeating the process over and over again. Finally it is carefully molded by hand.
The Casín Cheese is one of the jewels of the Asturian dairy products. Elaborated in the case council, in it …
7 Cheese Pears
La Peral cheese is a type of cheese that is made in Illas, central area of Asturias. It is a cheese that keeps true resemblance to French Roquefort, of noble mold, and matured in a natural cellar for about three months.
Cheese without bark, unctuous and yellowish white. The interior is firm but not compact, with cracks and cavities where mold develops.
8 Varé cheese
It is the first processor of Ecological Cheese of Asturias, certified by the COPAE (Regulating Council of Organic Agriculture in the Principality of Asturias). It is made in Siero, central area of Asturias.
They make 6 varieties, but the best known is a pressed cheese made with raw goat milk pasteurized; The cut has a white color and firm consistency, with small eyes.
It is presented in a cylindrical format in pieces of 500 gr., 1000 gr. and 1500 gr.
9 Pría Tres Leches Cheese
It is made in Llanes, is a white cheese that is made from pasteurized cow's milk, sheep's and goat's milk, it is a matured and smoked cheese, the milk used originates from Spain. It is a perfect cheese as an ingredient in fresh salads, for making sauces or cooking, as it provides very rich nuances. If taken alone or accompanied by more Asturian cheeses, it can be enjoyed with white wine and sweet apple.
10 Queso Peña You
It is made in Parres, municipality of the eastern part of Asturias.
It is a soft cheese with a mild and buttery flavor that is made with raw cow's milk, rennet and salt. Unctuous texture and aroma reminiscent of rural creams. It is a cylindrical cheese of small size because the pieces are half a kilo.
Text: © Ramón Molleda for asturias.com