If you ask any Portuguese person what their favourite cheese is, it is unlikely that Serra da Estrela cheese won’t be their answer.
Serra da Estrela cheese
The oldest Portuguese cheese is a DOP (Protected Designation of Origin) product made of only three ingredients: raw and whole sheep’s milk, thistle flower and sea salt. What makes it so special? Everything! It’s not just any sheep’s milk that is used to make Serra da Estrela cheese. It’s only that of the Bordaleira da Serra da Estrela or Churra Mondegueira breeds that graze freely. The manual milking process, the filtration of the milk in white muslin cloths, thistle flower ground with salt, and the whole filtration, moulding, salting, pressing, and maturation process done in several phases carefully respecting times and temperatures. The result? A cheese that presents itself with a semi-soft buttery and yellowish-white paste (Serra da Estrela cheese) or semi-hard to an extra-hard paste with a brownish-orange colour (Serra da Estrela Velho cheese) with “pleasant aroma and persistent flavour, clean, from strong to slightly strong and slightly spicy and salty.”