03 December 2006


Welcome cyberspace friends! Maintaining our recent Spanish theme but switching genus (now ovis) our third cheese under consideration is the widely popular Manchego! Due to La Mancha’s proximity to Madrid, this cheese has received lavish approbation and international distribution. Coupled with time, these factors have allowed the Manchego to eclipse most other Spanish cheeses. Jenkins takes a rather harsh view of Manchego, specifically for this reason. His primary concern is that "Spain is going to lose her gastronomic majesty". We here at Fromage du Mois hope this is erroneous. Nonetheless, we shall forge ahead and discover what all the fuss is about! Read on…

Manchego Fun Facts
  • The unique cross-hatch pattern on the rind was once formed by molds of woven grass. These molds have since been replaced by plastic!
  • The rind can be of differing colors. These colors have no bearing on the properties of the cheese.

  • Manchego comes aged up to two years. Watch out for an overly "sheepy" taste. This means your fromage specimen is not fresh!
  • It's best to stick to white wine or sherry with younger manchego's - save the red wine for older ones.


  1. The brownish, cross-hatch beckons me even now…
    I found the manchego to be a palatial stimulant. Admittedly, the flavor is mild, but what it lacks in “zow”, it more than makes up for in texture. Not too hard, not too soft, the manchego is the goldilocks of cheese texture. In some ways elusive: as you taste, it crumbles into a mess of buttery, nutty, how do you say, goodness?
    I’m going head to head with Jenkins here: I think the manchego is fantastic and is precisely what the international cheese community has been searching for. This cheese has real potential to be the fromage gateway for millions of unaware cheese lovers. As merlot was to wine, manchego can be to cheese. In my grand vision, as the cheese wold broadens, manchego will fall to the side in favor of the Pinot Noir of cheese, which I have yet to discover.
    I think its broad appeal is clear, although it will require much more extensive tasting to understand this fromage – I must vary the age, and the maker, tasting with different accompaniments. Only then will the true nature of this cheese expose itself.
    Manchego, I love you, and I anticipate a mutually rewarding relationship.

    Keep on tasting!

  2. I also thoroughly enjoyed my Manchego experience, although perhaps not quite to Goudacris's extent. I couldn't help comparing it to cheddar, of all things, and in this I agree with the previous post- as merlot is 'drink-able', this cheese is surely 'eat-able'.
    I also believe it would be helpful to sample other ages and varieties of Manchego in order to form a clearer picture of its true nature, but for now I'll say, 'well done'. 6 slices.

  3. This is a wonderful cheese. I like it especially because of its easily crumbling-type texture- when Goudacris and I were doing the virtual tasting, this was the most memorable parts of the experience. It has such a delightful, shreddable, slightly hard tecture It is at once, as Goudacris put in, buttery, smooth, and mildly tart. It is a very palatable cheese for every level of fromagiers - I think even younger kids who want to get into cheese will enjoy it. Interstingly, I think it is possible to taste the 'sheep's milk' difference, at least comparatively to the goat's milk cheese we have tried (the Murcia). This will have to pass the test of subsequent tastings though - I'm not convinced I can taste the difference entirely. I am a big advocate for its wide appeal, however, that Jenkins and Goudacris mentioned.

    Look at this fabullous recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recipes/recipe/0,1977,FOOD_9936_175,00.html
    I will try to make this the next time we all get together, or maybe when Micah (needs nickname) and I do the tasting in December.

    Lovely cheese: 6.5 slices