CANTABRIAN BLUE CHEESE
In the hamlet of LA PERAL, in the ILLAS area of the Principality of Asturias
- Composition: pasteurised cow’s milk
- Coagulation: mixed
- Texture: cured, with a soft paste and bloomy rind
- Ageing: 60 days
Shape: cylindrical, with appreciably flat top and bottom
- Weight: 2.2 kg. (approx. 4.8 lb.)
La Peral is a family cheesemaker, founded in 1923 by Antonio León Álvarez, which has been making cheeses following traditional artisan methods since that date.
This “noble rot” blue cheese made from fermented cow’s milk is aged in a natural cellar located underneath the dairy. This natural subterranean cellar, situated right under the factory, is the most carefully looked after part of the installations.Here, the cheeses ferment in constantly monitored and controlled conditions of temperature (12º) and relative humidity (90%).
The fermentation period of the cheeses lasts a minimum of two months in the cellar, during which time they are constantly cared for and so that they are correctly and uniformly aged. Once this process has finished, they are packaged in food-quality wrap and labelled ready for shipping.
The thin, soft rind is satiny and greyish. The paste is straw-coloured with lactic ferments and selected noble rot that give the characteristic blue veins. When young, it is a semi-blue cheese, with a delicate flavour and pronounced bouquet.
As it ages, its transformation to a blue cheese is completed, and it acquires its full personality: faintly piquant, but without the slightest loss of the smooth, creamy texture or the bouquet.
As other blue cheeses from Asturias, it may be eaten as an aperitif or after meals before dessert. On occasion, it is ceremoniously mixed, at table, with a small amount of cider to form a smooth paste that may spread on slices of bread; this also tones down its flavour. Although it is widely accepted that strong cheeses should be paired with powerful wines, such as crianza or reserva reds, the currently trend is to pair blue cheeses with sweet wines such as port.