Do you ever taste a small sliver of really good cheese and let the flavors slowly bloom or develop in your mouth? I always do it when preparing to grate a piece of Parmesan or Romano cheese. I cut off a tiny nip and enjoy it as I grate the amount I need for a salad or recipe. If you’re a cheese lover, you probably know what I’m talking about.
Last year, my daughter Allison Trist introduced me to Manchego cheese lightly drizzled with olive oil. She served it that day with a few strawberries on the side and a glass of wine. It was simple and absolutely delicious.
If you’re unfamiliar with it, Manchego cheese comes from the La Mancha region of Spain, and is made from the milk of the Manchego sheep.
It is aged anywhere from 60 days to two years and can only be made with whole milk from sheep raised on registered farms within the designated area.
Traditionally, the curd was pressed in plaited grass baskets which left a distinctive zigzag pattern on the rind. Today, a brownish-braided design is on the side of the cheese, which is an easy way to recognize it. You do have to remove that outside rind before you use it.
A small cube of Manchego with a small cube of quince paste is a popular treat in Spain. I found quince paste and guava paste at Calandro’s Supermarket on Perkins Road.
Price and flavor depend on the aging time. I buy the one that has probably been aged only 3 to 6 months. It’s flavorful but not overly sharp.