Manchego cheese D. O. / SUR

Manchego cheese is in short supply due to high demand and lack of farmers

A victim of its own success, there aren't enough producers to keep up with demand for this Spanish cheese

J. M. L. CIUDAD REAL.

Manchego cheese with 'dominación de origen' (designation of origin) is experiencing a "dangerous success". On the one hand, stocks of this product are running out due to the high demand in supermarkets and stores and the increase in exports, but on the other hand, there are fewer and fewer farmers dedicated to its production. The generational replacement is not taking effect in this sector, despite the fact that it is a profitable product.

The forty-seven cheese factories that produce Manchego cheese under its appellation of origin are selling out of their stock and even have waiting lists of customers.

According to the president of the Denominación de Origen Queso Manchego, Antonio Martínez, "The large distribution chains have introduced these cheeses to the national and European markets, incorporating them onto their shelves. But, as it is an item with such a limited production, this means that in the end there is not enough of it."

Authentic

Not all cheese produced in Castilla-La Mancha is authentic Manchego cheese. The milk must come from Manchego sheep, a breed that has been kept pure for centuries.

There are two types of Manchego sheep, white and black, but the quality of the milk is the same. Once turned into cheese, it must mature for at least thirty days if pasteurised milk has been used, and sixty days for the other types.

The milk must also be totally free of medicinal products that may affect the production, ripening and preservation of the cheese. That is not all; the temperature must not exceed 10 degrees Celsius during the journey from the farm to the cheese factory nor in the factory itself.

These are the strict requirements established by the Denominación de Origen Queso Manchego, a product rich in calcium and protein, which concentrates all the nutritional properties of milk and contains vitamins A, D and E, essential in metabolic processes such as bone growth, tissue preservation and calcium absorption.