Mahón cheese, also known as Queso de Mahón in Spanish, is a popular Spanish cheese variety that originates from the Balearic island of Menorca, which is located off the eastern coast of Spain in the Mediterranean Sea. It is a hard cheese made from cow’s milk that is known for its unique flavor profile and versatility in cooking.
History and Origin
The history of Mahón cheese dates back to the 13th century when the island of Menorca was under Moorish rule. The Moors were known for their expertise in cheese-making, and they introduced the technique of making hard cheese to the island. Over time, the cheese-making process evolved and the cheese became popular among the locals and visitors to the island.
Today, Mahón cheese is protected by the Denomination of Origin (D.O.) certification, which means that it can only be made on the island of Menorca using traditional methods. The certification ensures that the cheese maintains its unique qualities and flavors.
Mahón cheese has a buttery but firm texture and a rich, tangy flavor. The cheese has a pale yellow color and a natural rind that is usually orange and sometimes black, depending on the age of the cheese. The flavor profile of Mahón cheese can vary depending on the age of the cheese. Young Mahón cheese, aged for two to three months, has a mild, creamy flavor with a slightly salty finish. Semi-cured Mahón cheese, aged for three to ten months, has a more pronounced flavor with a slightly nutty taste. Finally, cured Mahón cheese, aged for over ten months, has a strong, complex flavor with a sharp, slightly acidic finish.
Mahón cheese is a versatile cheese that can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. It can be eaten on its own, paired with crackers or bread, or used as an ingredient in a variety of dishes. Mahón cow cheese can be melted, grilled, au gratin, shredded, or just enjoyed sliced or in cubes.
One of the most popular ways to serve Mahón cow cheese is in a toast over sobrasada (like a spreadable chorizo), and some honey drizzled on top. For this tapa you can use white baguette, or country bread.
Mahón cheese can be paired with a glass of red wine, such as Tempranillo or Cabernet Sauvignon. The rich, tangy flavor of the cheese complements the bold flavors of the wine.
One very American way to use it is to make macaroni and cheese! It’s a blend of an American dish with a Spanish twist.
Finally, Mahón cheese can be used as a topping for soups or stews, such as the Spanish dish sopa de ajo (garlic soup). The cheese can be grated and added to the soup just before serving, adding a rich, tangy flavor to the dish.
In conclusion, Mahón cheese is a delicious and versatile cheese that is enjoyed by people all over the world. Its unique flavor profile and rich history make it a beloved cheese variety that is sure to impress even the most discerning cheese connoisseur.