Do you want to know which the best portuguese cheeses🇧🇷 Well, know that you are not the only one and, therefore, the site Culture Trip elected the best of the best, considering this national product “one of the best kept gastronomic secrets in Europe”!
This listing is obviously incomplete. Many of the readers will not agree with the choices either. However, we are in the middle of the Christmas season and cheeses cannot be missing from the table. Whether from the mountains or the plains.
The truth is that not even foreigners are indifferent to the quality of national cheeses, made from knowledge acquired in remote times, with rudimentary techniques that still survive.
Thus, each region has its own cheese and certainly many will be left out of this list. As we have already mentioned, the reader will certainly remember one or another that he considers essential, that he ate once and never forgot. But the list could not be exhaustive. There are so many and so good that they don’t all fit here. This is a choice. There will be others, it’s true.
What is certain is that, in addition to the quality of the ingredients, the best cheeses in the country prove the existing variety, in terms of textures and flavors.
In Portugal, it is possible to find cheeses from creamy and soft to hard and sharp. The intensity of its flavor (and aroma!) can also be quite different and, therefore, nothing better than consulting (and drooling!) with the following list.
Therefore, cheeses are an indispensable complement on a family or friends table. Ever accompanied by a good wineof course it is.
8 best Portuguese cheeses to get lost
Requeijão consists of a mass formed from whey, obtained during the manufacture of cheese, which is again subjected to the action of heat. Normally, it is a by-product of the manufacture of sheep’s cheese, to which whey by volume (maximum 18%) of sheep’s or goat’s milk is added.
In this way, and for those who do not know or are not familiar with the appearance of the product, it can be compared to cheese ricottasolid and with a characteristic strong flavor, although more salty than Italian cheese.
It should also be noted that its color is between white and yellowish-white and it is possible to find it for sale in large supermarkets.
Coming from the island of São Jorge, in the Azores archipelago, this cheese is obtained from raw cow’s milk, and the quality of the milk and the production method make this product truly unique and of the highest quality.
It is a cured cheese, with a hard or semi-hard paste and a yellowish color. It has a somewhat strong, clean and slightly spicy flavor and aroma. It is believed to have been produced since the mid-15th century, under the influence of the Flemish community.
The name of this product originates from the village of Rabaçal, already mentioned in documentation from the 12th century and the fame of this cheese already has several hundred years.
Thus, we are looking at a ripened cheese with a semi-hard to hard paste, matte white, with few or no small and irregular eyes. It is produced from a mixture of sheep and goat milk.
However, its particular and distinct flavor is due to a plant similar to thyme, called “Santa Maria”, which serves as food for the animals that later provide the milk for this cheese.
This product has long been known in the Alentejo region, mainly in Portalegre. For several generations, it was the main (or even only) source of protein for a population that in most cases survives on a very poor diet.
It is produced mainly in the municipalities of Nisa, Crato, Castelo de Vide, Marvão, Portalegre, Monforte, Arronches and Alter do Chão. It is obtained from raw milk of Merina Branca sheep.
It is a cured cheese, with a semi-hard paste and yellowish white color. It has a somewhat acidic flavor and intense aroma. It exists in two formats, the smaller one being called “merendeira”.
Being one of the oldest cheeses to be produced in the Alentejo, it was responsible for boosting the consumption of sheep’s milk and assumed, for many years, great importance in the daily diet, especially for the poorer classes.
Of Alentejo origin, this cheese is produced in the district, in municipalities such as Alandroal, Arraiolos, Avis, Estremoz, Fronteira, Montemor-o-Novo, Redondo, Reguengos de Monsaraz or Vila Viçosa.
It is a product made from raw milk of Merina Branca sheep, forming a cured cheese, with a hard or semi-hard paste and a yellowish color. It has its own flavor and aroma, somewhat spicy and acidic, especially if it is hard. It can be found on sale in different sizes.
Goat Cheese Transmontano
Originally from the Trás-os-Montes region, its production area covers, precisely, the municipalities of Mirandela, Macedo de Cavaleiros, Alfândega da Fé, Carrazeda de Ansiães, Vila Flor, Torre de Moncorvo, Freixo de Espada à Cinta and Mogadouro , in Bragança and the municipalities of Valpaços and Murça, in Vila Real.
This product is obtained from raw milk from Serrana goats. It is a cured cheese, with an extra hard paste and a uniform white colour.
The artisanal manufacture and the characteristics of the milk used guarantee a quality product, with a pleasant and intense aroma and a clean, slightly spicy taste.
In addition to having had and still has an important role in the eating habits of the region, this cheese represents an important part of the local economy.
Undoubtedly the oldest, most popular and most recognized internationally, Serra da Estrela cheese could not be missing from this list of the best cheeses in the country. It was introduced in our country by the Romans and even Gil Vicente spoke about it in his writings.
It was in the 13th century, on the initiative of King D. Dinis, that the first cheese factory was opened, precisely in the Serra da Estrela region. Given its nutritional qualities and durability, it was one of the products taken by explorers on their travels. In the last decades of the 19th century, it was already possible to buy this cheese in Lisbon and Porto.
So that you are not fooled by imitations, know that this cheese is essentially produced in the municipalities of Carregal do Sal, Celorico da Beira, Fornos de Algodres, Gouveia, Mangualde, Manteigas, Nelas, Oliveira do Hospital, Penalva do Castelo, Seia , Aguiar da Beira, Arganil, Covilhã, Guarda, Tábua, Tondela, Trancoso and Viseu.
This product is obtained from raw milk from sheep, of the Bordaleira da Serra da Estrela or Churra Mondegueira breed.
It is a cured cheese with a semi-soft buttery paste and a yellowish white color (Serra da Estrela Cheese) or a semi-hard to extra-hard paste with a brownish orange color (Serra da Estrela Velho Cheese).
The buttered version has a smooth, clean and somewhat acidic flavor and aroma. The harder version has a pleasant, persistent, clean, strong and slightly spicy and salty aroma and flavor.
The last of the best cheeses in the country mentioned in this list has been produced since the 19th century and its unique characteristics were immediately perceived and recognized.
Currently, it is manufactured mainly in the municipalities of Palmela, Sesimbra and Setúbal.
This product is obtained from raw sheep’s milk and is a cured cheese, with a semi-soft and buttery paste, white or yellowish in color. It has a spicy, acidic and salty taste.
The quality of pastures and the use of a specific variety of thistle flower (Cynara Cardunculus L..) as a coagulant make this a very appreciated and distinguished product.
To find out more about the best cheeses in the country and other Portuguese Denomination of Origin products, click here🇧🇷