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Queso de Gamonéu

Producer
Various
Country
Spain
Region
Asturias
Size
8 ins diameter, 5 ins high
Weight
4-6 lbs
Website
Milk
Cow
Treatment
Raw
Classification
Firm
Rennet
Animal
Rind
Natural
Blue

Cow, goat, sheep, natural mold, white mold, and blue mold: this Spanish wheel has it all.

Produced northern Spain's Asturias region, Queso de Gamonéu (also known as Gamonedo) was originally produced as a “transhumance” cheese, made seasonally during the annual migration of animals to and from higher mountain pastures, with whatever milk was available (often a blend of cow, sheep, and goat). Today it's made year round by a dwindling number of artisanal producers, most of whom are no longer nomadic. As they grow older, their knowledge and traditions are in danger of disappearing—but a PDO (protected designation of origin) aims to preserve the recipe and traditional techniques. 

To make this rustic wheel, the curds are gently pressed to retain as much moisture as possible. After unmolding, they're lightly salted on the outside. Three days later, they are placed in a small cabaña where they’re lightly smoked and allowed to gently dry for another month. At that point, the wheels are transferred to a maturing cave with walls covered in natural mold for further aging of between one and two months before release.

Although Gamonéu can be considered a blue cheese, unlike most blues, it's not pierced to accelerate the flow of oxygen that promotes blue veining. Rather, the delicate patches of interior blue mold are allowed to develop naturally, giving the cheese a gentle flavor where the blue is in sync with the flavors of the milk and smoke, neither one overwhelming the other. 

Tasting Notes

The rind is natural and slightly undulating, with a beige color pockmarked with white mold. The interior is dark ivory with intermittent patches of delicate blue veining. The flavors of this unique cheese begin gently and build steadily, accumulating hints of blue, butter, raw cow’s milk, earth and grass in a full, long finish with aromas of apple and cellar. The texture is firm and slightly dry, with a granular, delicately chalky mouth-feel and naturally permeating blue mold.

Pairings

For a terroir-driven pairing, try Gamoneu alongside a hard cider from Asturias. 

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