Cabrales – caved-aged blue

I love eating and the way different foods can work together to create new flavours and textures. But…since starting this blog, I’ve realised I’d never tried to describe this in words before, and I’m finding this really interesting (and hard!).

Take Cabrales. Cabrales is a blue cheese from the Asturias region in Northern Spain that I first tried last year. The cheese is made from unpastuerised cows milk (although sometimes goat or sheep milk is also used) in either a village of the same name or one of three other illages in the Pico de Europo mountain range. Air dried and then aged in caves, it is traditionally wrapped in Sycamore Maple leaves although the export version is wrapped in plastic and foil. Although the cheese is protected under the “Denominación de Origen Protegida” (D.O.P.) regulations, an odd exception is the cheese that isn’t for export but instead is sold locally wrapped in maple leaves – for some reason these are not eligible for the D.O.P label.

My new block is an export one, so wrapped in foil rather than leaves, and it’s good. We were eating some last night and found it difficult to describe how it tastes. It’s dry(ish)and almost flakey. It has a salty hit which becomes a bit sharp on the tongue. We combined it with a rich south american red, and it made the wine sparkle. It is lovely to eat on its own but is also good in cooking. We’ve added some to sautéed mushrooms and onions in the past and tossed it with pasta for a quick week night dinner.

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