CHEESE FROM SPAIN: A TASTE EXPERIENCE
Who: Media and food industry professionals
What: Cheese and Wine Sampling of products from Spain
Where: St. Lawrence Market Kitchen
When: June 1st
Why: To learn about cheeses from Spain
I attended a very nice cocktail event at St. Lawrence Market hosted by ICEX Spain Export and Investment and the Trade Commission of Spain and organized by food writer Mary Luz Mejia.
It was all to showcase all of the delicious wines and cheeses from Spain. There were 26 cheeses in all. I couldn't possibly try all of them but I samples as many as I could.
You might be familiar with one of the most common Spanish Cheeses - Manchego and yes there were was a whole variety of them at different stages in the ageing process. I sampled many of them and I don't know if I can give you a favourite one as it's a taste preference if you like your cheese aged for 6 months, 9 months or the face that most of the Spanish cheeses are made from blended milks.
The thing about cheese that makes them unique and different is the milk that is used and the ageing process. There were cows milk, goat milk and they use a combination of milks for a lot of the cheeses. Then there are the added things that will flavour cheeses like coating it in rosemary or thyme. In the photo below is a Drunken Goat cheese which has wine in it.
One of the cheeses that really stood out was this Vega Mancha Valdeon Blue Cheese. Not only because it was one of only a few cheeses but the appearance stood out and the flavour wasn't what you might expect from a cheese that looks like this. I found out that the outside of the cheese is coated in leaves unfortunately I can't remember what kind they were explained to me. I thought maybe the cheese was smoked from the appearance but it was from it ageing with the leaves.
The blue cheese isn't like a stinky Stilton. It was full of flavour but very smooth.
I could picture a cheeseboard in Spain with this cheese and some Spanish Olives and great country bread and some fresh figs and honey. And I am sure there would be a glass of Wine on hand to match this cheese board.
I also love Goat cheese and sampled one very mild and creamy Goat Cheese which I believe was called Monte Enebro. I could eat this for breakfast on toast everyday and probably not get tired of it.
The cheese board in the picture at the top of this page was my cheeseboard that I loaded up when I got there so I could sample bites of different cheeses. I might have been better off sampling one at a time and taking a photo so that I could remember each one but my photography brain kicked in and I wanted to make a nice board to take a photo of. So I can't give you a detailed breakdown of the cheeses and at the same time everyone's tastes are different so you will have to try them for yourself to see which ones you prefer.
Besides the cheese samples Chef Martin Kouprie from Pangea restaurant prepared some tapas plates that included a pear and goat cheese pairing, a salad with cheese bits and panko crusted cheese bites and a few other things I wasn't sure exactly what they were.
Spain is on my list of places in the World I would like to travel to but unfortunately it's only a dream list at the moment but at least I am able to sample the foods from Spain here in Canada while I am dreaming of the places I would go and visit around the World.
For more information visit the website at: www.foodswinesfromspain.com