Artisanal Ibores Cheese

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Queso Ibores Artesanal

The Ibores cheese is a traditional product from Extremadura, originating from the mountain area of the Comarca of Las Villuercas-Ibores-Jara. According to some sources, this cheese is first mentioned in 1456, when Henry IV of Castille, grants the city of Trujillo the privilege to have a duty-free market, with not taxation on sales. There is a street in town, whose name is “calle de lo Cabreros” that breeders used to walk down with their cattle to go to the market. The Ibores cheese is made of the milk from three different goats, the retinta, the verata and the serrana (indigenous breeds from Extremadura). Its first production stage consists in animal rennet coagulation; once the curd is ready, this is broken down several times, with a lira. The cheese dough is then moved to cylinder moulds where it is pressed down. Then it is time for the slating in brine, lasting 24 hours at a maximum. The Ibores cheese is eventually seasoned for at least two months. In case of artisanal production, this process lasts at least 100 days. The resulting cheese is cylinder-shaped, with flat and slightly convex sides with a 11-15 cm diameter. The cheese wheel may be from 5 to 9 cm high, with a 11-15 cm diamater and a weight between 650 gr and a kilo. Its rind is smooth, semi-hard, yellow or ochre; it is traditionally flavoured with chili pepper and the rind is stained with olive oil. The different kinds of moulds may give several colours: greyish cheese with naturally-coloured rind, red-orange cheese with chili pepper-flavoured rind or dark yellow, when the cheese is stained with olive oil. The inside is ivory white and semi-hard. It may taste slightly acid and a little salty. It is eaten alone, with some bread and a glass of wine. The cheese obtained the PDO recognition, and thanks to this it is now becoming more popular even outside its regional borders. Some small cheese-makers are not included in the PDO, therefore, there is an artisanal production niche. Some cheese-makers use the milk of their own goats for this cheese, that may season for 100 days. This small-scale production is mainly eaten locally. This cheese risks to disappear due to several reasons, such as the dramatic decrease of indigenous goat breeds and bureaucratic obstacles, such as the strict health standards that small cheese-makers must comply with.

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Nominated by:Slow Food Extremadura