The Tronchon cheese is produced in the region of Maestrazgo (between the provinces of Castellón, Teruel, and Tarragona). In winter, the cattle make transhumance to ‘el Reyno’ referring to the province of Castellón as a much warmer area. There, they continue to prepare this cheese with vegetable rennet (Cynara cardunculus), instead of animal rennet as it is used in the north, which gives a smooth and creamy paste and a slightly bitter taste. This cheese is mentioned in the second part of Don Quixote, and therefore it is at least 400 years old. Tronchon del Reyno is a raw goat or sheep milk cheese, or both. It curdles at 32 degrees with the thistle (Cynara cardunculus) and it is cut at 45 minutes, stirring gently. It is encouraged not to cool the curd for an hour while continuing to stir in order to dry the curd. Afterwards, the curd is extracted and is kneaded on molds made out of wood with floral drawings. The molds are known as “francelles”. The curd is kneaded dry or in brine and it is left to mature for at least two months with a good current of air in order to create a hard bark. The vegetable coagulant is more complex and more expensive to use than animal or microbial rennet. Therefore, the Tronchon cheeses that are prepared are made with these curds. We lose the characteristic texture of the coagulant and the floral scent it gives.
The traditional products, local breeds, and know-how collected by the Ark of Taste belong to the communities that have preserved them over time. They have been shared and described here thanks to the efforts of the network that that Slow Food has developed around the world, with the objective of preserving them and raising awareness. The text from these descriptions may be used, without modifications and citing the source, for non-commercial purposes in line with the Slow Food philosophy.