The Spanish Cheese With An Olive Oil-Brushed Textured Rind

Although many people think the best cheeses in the world are French or Italian, there's one other country that's often not appreciated enough for its production of tasty cheese. The country is Spain, and in 2021, a Spanish cheese called Olavidia was proclaimed the best in the world (via Fine Dining Lovers). This soft goat's cheese originates from Jaen in Southern Spain, and it has a pretty layer of olive stone ash that runs through the middle. The cheese was praised for its flavors, textures, and aromas. 

Many other Spanish kinds of cheese are truly exceptional and worth a taste, so keep an eye on some of them, and if you can find them, don't hesitate to get a wedge. There's the blue cheese Cabrales, made from cow's milk and aged in limestone caves, developing pungent and salty flavors as it ages (per Great British Chefs). Tetilla cheese, on the other hand, is buttery, mild, and shaped like a small breast. And Mahón-Menorca cheese is cave-aged. Its rind is rubbed with oil, butter, and Spanish paprika. Let's not forget about the most popular Spanish cheese, Manchego. You might've already tasted it, but Manchego also has many interesting features that you should know about as well.

Manchego is recognizable for its textured and dark colored rind

Manchego is only produced in the south of Madrid, and it's made from sheep's milk (via The Spruce Eat). The cheese is aged from 30 days to 2 years. When young, its texture is semi-soft, but when aged, it becomes firm and crumbly. The cheese has a PDO status, which means that it's only produced in certain areas. But did you know that Manchego is pressed into cylindrical molds that are etched with a zig-zag pattern? And once unmolded, the rind of the cheese develops an unusual texture due to the etchings on the molds. The textured rind makes Manchego instantly recognizable; just make sure to look for the PDO sign to know you're buying the real deal. 

The cheese wheels are brined and then aged in caves. During the aging process, the rind is brushed with olive oil, which makes the rind dark in color and helps to develop it. And you'll be pleased to know that Manchego is high in protein and contains vitamins A, D, and E (via Grapes & Grains). Once the cheese is served, it's recommended to pair it with crackers, fruits, olives, walnuts, and almonds. And if you want something to drink while enjoying the cheese, try a glass of beer, whiskey, or wine. Due to its unique visual appearance, versatility, and flavor, it's no wonder that Manchego is the king of Spanish cheeses.