Asturias is famous across both Spain and the world for a number of different cheeses. Here are four of the most highly regarded ones.
Cabrales is the most famous of all Asturian cheeses and it is also the one produced in the greatest quantities and therefore the one that most people are likely to encounter. It was also the first cheese from Asturias to be awarded a designation of origin.
Cabrales can be eaten on its own, as an accompaniment to other dishes and it is frequently used for cooking in different recipes making it versatile as well as tasty.
Cabrales is made from raw cow, goat or sheep milk, penicillium rocheforti fugi and curds and salt. The process sees the milk left to settle overnight following which the curds are cut into small rounds and left to settle. Excess whey is removed and the curds are put into wooden moulds where they drain. Salt is added to the cheese following which it is aired in a cellar and then matured in a cave. The complete process takes at least three months and results in a semi-hard cheese with a blue paste. The taste is described as buttery with an aftertaste and those made with sheep or goats milk are stronger.
Afuega' l pitu
Afuega' l pitu is an unusual looking cheese that is pear shape with a white or yellowish rind and it feels quite dry when eaten. There is also a red version.
The flavour is described as milky but not salty and some versions can be quite spicy.
This cheese has a fiesta dedicated to it that takes place on the first Sunday following 17 January each year.
Gamonedo originates from the towns of Cangas and Onis and each has its own variety. This cheese is slightly spicy and has a smoked taste.
Gamonedo cheese can be made with cow, goat or sheep milk and the curds are pressed into moulds by hand. The whole process is very rustic and at one stage it sees the cheeses being smoked in shepherds sheds in the fields where the cows, sheep and goats roam. The maturing can be in caves or in a dry environment depending on whether the Gamonedo is a Cangas or an Onis variety.
Bedon is another regional cheese with its own unique manufacturing process that sees the cheese salted in brine. It has a medium to firm texture and a flavour with a hanging aftertaste. It is less widely available than those mentioned above, but come in a cylindrical form with a white or light yellow rind.