SERRA DA ESTRELA CHEESE
This is, quite probably, the most famous cheese from Portugal. Serra da Estrela cheese hails from the highest mountain in mainland Portugal, an area traditionally known for pastoral farming. Here graze the sheep that produce the milk used for this raw milk cheese, curdled with thistle flower and thus being considered a vegetarian cheese. Nowadays, the production of Serra da Estrela cheese is still artisanal and, being a product that has been granted PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) status by the European Union, follows rather strict rules.
Serra da Estrela cheese has a maturation period of at least thirty days. Even though it can be cured until it’s hard (look for Queijo Serra da Estrela Velho), the most popular version of it is soft and buttery. In fact, you wouldn’t be able to cut it into slices. Instead, we customarily cut an opening on the surface of the cheese ball and scoop out its gooey content, to be spread on bread or toast. Expect a rich texture and intense long-lasting flavor.
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