AUTHENTIC MANCHEGO CHEESE
Quesos Villadiego produces the artisan Manchego cheese, preserving the authenticity in our raw materials and elaborating our cheeses with raw milk only from our sheep.
Manchego Cheese is a very complete food, which concentrates all the nutritional qualities of milk. It is composed of a high proportion of proteins, which makes it even richer than meat in relation to such substances. Manchego cheese also contains such important vitamins like A, D and E, which are fundamental in metabolic processes, such as growth, tissue preservation and calcium absorption.
Concerning its composition, it is advisable for all ages. During the growth stage, it is important to consume cheese due to its high calcium content. Its consumption is also beneficial for adults, because of the large amount of proteins it provides, which covers the wear produced daily. Finally, the elderly should consume our cheese since it slows, to a great extent, bone decalcification and it is a more digestible food than milk.
La Mancha is the largest natural region in Spain and has an area of 35.000km2.
It is a plain with extreme temperatures and shortage of rain. It is also an arid territory, with few trees and a great variety of herbaceous species.
The etymology of the term “La Mancha” comes from an Arabic word that means without water. From remote times, this region was always populated. Its inhabitants mainly worked in shepherding and the production of Manchego cheeses.
This fact is proved by the archaeological remains found in several archaeological sites in the region dating from 1700 years before Christ. They are remains of perforated clay vessels, in which cheese was elaborated and next to which there were skeletal remains of sheep.
Not only there are archaeological evidence of the production of cheese in this natural region, but there are also bibliographic references that demonstrate it. Apicio Claudio, in the first century BC, mentions the “cheeses of ibera” in his works, possibly from La Mancha, as these were highly appreciated in the Roman tables.
Finally, it is essential to highlight the figure of Cervantes since he mentions Manchego cheese several times in his work “Don Quixote”.
Manchego cheese is the most imitated Spanish cheese and it is one of the most plagiarised within the European Union.
It is actually surprising that more than 90% of consumers do not know how to distinguish a Manchego cheese from a non-Manchego cheese.
To differentiate Manchego Cheese from imitations, we must pay attention to its commercial label and its identification elements.
The denomination “Queso Manchego” has to appear on the commercial label and, in addition, the term “Artisan” will be added if the cheese is produced with raw milk.
A back label with a serial number must be affixed on top of the commercial label.
All Manchego cheeses must have a casein plate embedded in the dough equally numbered and serialised on the opposite side of the commercial label.
The Regulatory Board of the Designation of Origin Manchego Cheese is responsible for certifying the conformity of Manchego cheese according to its specifications.
The geographical area covered by the Protected Designation of Origin (DOP) occupies 44,000 km2 within the Community of Castilla La Mancha.
In the DOP, there are 750 Manchegan sheep farms associated with a census of 540,000 animals and 63 dairies that produced 14,000 tonnes of Manchego cheese in 2016.
60% of this production is exported and the main importer is the USA with an amount of 2000 tons.