But when it comes to identifying real Manchego cheeses, the trouble starts across the border.
As most of you will know, the “Queso tipo Manchego” is a very popular cheese in Mexico and can also be found here in the U.S.
The name is a misuse of the word “Manchego”, as the Mexican version has nothing to do with the Spanish original. Here are some (obvious) differences:
- The Mexican version is made with pasteurized cow’s milk // Authentic Manchego is made with Manchega sheep’s milk.
- Mexican “Manchegos” are very rarely aged // Original Manchego cheese is always aged.
- Most Mexican versions are commercial cheeses // The real Manchego has a unique cultural and gastronomic heritage.
- Mexican “Manchegos” are mostly used to melt in quesadillas or in other dishes // Original Manchego tastes delicious on its own.
Now, let’s close the eyes and imagine. The strong taste of a fine Manchego, the creaminess of the sheep’s milk, the slightly nutty and spicy aromas, melting into the mouth together with the velvety notes of a red Tempranillo wine. Ummm. That’s paradise to me.