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The bell tower of the church of Casar de Cáceres. Source: Ayuntamiento de Casar de Cáceres

WANDERING through the traditional white washed houses and narrow streets of Casar de Cáceres in the northern region of Extremadura you would be hard placed to find anything extraordinary about your surroundings.

However if you stumbled upon the innocuous Museo del Queso in the centre of the village, you would soon be learning about the local cheese that has become world renowned for its unique flavour and manufacturing processes.

The bell tower of the church of Casar de Cáceres. Source: Ayuntamiento de Casar de Cáceres

The town of Casar de Cáceres has been producing the famous Torta del Casar for centuries and still does so today, using the same traditional methods they used hundreds of years ago.

 Just eight families now produce the cheese which comes from the Merino and Entrefina sheep that graze on the local Cardoon Thistle that is common in the area. The thistle was found to give the cheese a slightly bitter flavour and a semi liquid consistency.

 The sheep used are notoriously difficult to produce milk from, so it takes up to 20 sheep to produce just 2.2 pounds of cheese.

 So sacred is the commodity in the area that in 1999, the local councils set up a protection project called ‘Denominación de Origen del Casar’, to maintain the integrity of the cheese, monitoring counterfeit cheese put onto the market and giving official accreditation to genuine products.

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Written by

James Warren

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