Serra da Estrela

Country of Origin: Portugal
Type of Milk: Sheep
Cheese Style: Washed Rind
Flavor Profile: Medium-strong

Produced by Casa Matias, one of the best producers in the region of Serra da Estrela (north-central Portugal), this raw sheep's milk cheese is curdled with cardoon thistle, which breaks down proteins and fats differently than traditional animal rennet, yielding different flavors in the finished cheese.

Texturally, the breakdown isn't as complete as, say, brie or some washed-rind cheeses; instead, the texture is springy and lively, the flavors like straw, butter, sunshine, and sheep. It's kind of amazing. Hand-tied with a cloth wrap to help it keep its shape, it's spongy and can be eaten as the centerpiece of a family dinner la Winnimere, Harbison, and the like.

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Serra da Estrela
Product ID: 03032
Price: $18.48 / ½ lb
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