Wine Country Tourism – Fabulous Food
Cheeses, lots of cheeses. Everywhere is Spain, there are local cheeses. But the one that overwhelmingly means Spain is Manchego.
Queso Manchego is available throughout Spain, but its production is tightly controled. From Wikipedia we learn:
To be designated as queso manchego, the cheese must satisfy the following requirements:
- It must have been produced in an area that is restricted to designated parts of the provinces of Albacete, Ciudad Real, Cuenca and Toledo that lie within the La Mancha region.
- It can be made only with the whole milk of sheep of the manchega breed that are raised on registered farms within the designated area.
- The cheese must have been aged for a minimum of 60 days (30 days for cheeses weighing up to 1.5 kg) and a maximum of two years.
- The cheese must be produced by pressing in a cylindrical mold that has a maximum height of 12 cm and a maximum diameter of 22 cm.
Manchego cheese can be made from pasteurized or raw milk; if the latter, it may be labelled as artesano (artisan). The only permitted additives are natural rennet or another approved coagulating enzyme, and sodium chloride (salt).
Manchego is often served with sliced cured meats or cured sausages. And it is a small step from there to Tapas.
Tapas are essential to Spanish life, it seems. Tapas, and their cousin Pintxos, (basically tapas on a small slice of bread) are served everywhere: fancy restaurant, neighborhood bar, convenience store, etc. There are tapas streets in many towns, small areas where there are just small bars that serve wine, beer and tapas. And they are packed with people enjoying a truly movable feast. A copa de vino and a tapa at one bar, then move on to another bar. Rinse and repeat. A truly wonderful way to spend an evening with friends.
A page devoted to Spanish wines and our experiences touring Ribera del Duero and La Rioja.