Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Cheese: Campo De Montalban

Campo de Montalban is a cheese made from a blend of cow, sheep and goat milk in Toledo, Spain 
and has an embossed herring bone or basket weave design on the outer rind.  
From that standpoint it appears to be an identical twin to Iberico cheese, another Spanish cheese made with those same three types of milk and the same rind design. It also greatly resembles Manchego cheese, a sheep milk cheese with the same rind design, also made in the La Mancha region of Spain. All three cheeses have similar looking creamy white flesh, with irregular eyes throughout it, 
and the same semi-hard texture. However, the Campo de Montalban rind is olive green while the Iberico and Manchego rinds are brown. In fact, Campo de Montalban was known as Manchego until 1985 when the Spanish government enacted regulations that required cheese known as Manchego to be made only out of sheep milk. Therefore, most comparisons I found on the internet were to Manchego, although I think Iberico is a closer match because Iberico is at least 50% cow milk, 30% goat milk and 10% sheep milk, while Manchego is 100% sheep. I can't find anything that gives the percentage composition for Campo de Montalban, other than a site where people were making their own similar cheese and one suggested an equal mixture of all three types of milk. Campo de Montalban is aged for at least three months and is variously described as having a flavor of "sweet, warm, roasted onions," "milky and nutty," "milky and slightly sharp, less nutty than Manchego," and "slightly tangy and buttery." Judy really liked it. She said that although it is dry, it has almost a creamy taste, a smoothness. It does not have much after-taste, like goat gives. 
I thought it was complex, with many different tastes, but did not feel that either the goat or sheep milk stood out. I probably would not have much of a preference between Campo de Montalban and Iberico similarly aged (the Trader Joe's Iberico was aged four months), but I found that I really loved the Iberico aged six months, and also greatly preferred it to the Manchego. 

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