TO MELT OR NOT TO MELT, THAT’S THE QUESTION

Manchego cheese recipeWho doesn’t love a sandwich of melted cheese? Just thinking about it makes my mouth water.

The question is: is every cheese equally suitable for melting? Furthermore, is Manchego a good cheese to melt?

As Liz Thorpe, a cheesemonger from NY, author of “The cheese chronicles”, says, Manchego belongs to the family of “Pressed” cheeses – one of the six families of cheeses she identifies.

According to Liz, pressed chesses have deliciously tangy, grassy and inherently “cheesy” flavors which fade away during the cooking process. Also, being a sheep’s milk cheese, Manchego has twice the fat of a cow or goat cheese, which means that it softens into a greasy slab when exposed to heat.

Therefore, if we want to enjoy the true flavors of a fine Manchego, the authentic one, we should avoid melting it.

The trouble is that the Mexican “quesos tipo Manchego” – those cheeses that are nothing like real Manchego but misuse its name – are often melted in quesadillas. Since they are often industrial cheeses, not even made with sheep’s milk, they are perfectly fine to melt, unlike the authentic one.

So beware of any melted Manchego dishes. Chances are that they’re prepared using fake Manchego cheeses.

Yes, amigos, in this story “the proof of the Manchego is in the melting”.

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