March 27th was World Cheese Day, and how better to celebrate than with an award-winning cheese made in Andalucía's Jaén province but with a Malaga DNA? The best cheese in the world is now officially Olavidia,made by the Quesos y Besos cheese producer, which has won the World Cheese Awards 2021. The judges awarded 103 points to this product, made with the milk of the Malaga breed of goat from the producers' own farm.
According to the Spanish Association of Malaga Goat Breeders (Cabrama), the figures for this breed are impressive. Up to 320 days' lactation period, 800 kilos of milk produced, with 5.8% fat and 4.1% protein, and more than 3 litres a day on average during the lactation period.
The Malaga breed is well-known for adapting well to rustic lands: “Our herd goes up to the Sierra del Trigo in Valdepeñas, in the south of the province, every day to graze; it is a real rural paradise. They are very well-looked after; we pamper them every day,” say sources at Quesos y Besos.
"The goats feed on broom, thyme, acorns, wild hay and olive leaves, and all of those those flavour the milk we use to make our cheese,” they explain. And, of course, that includes the award-winning Olavidia.
It is a cheese matured with mould and charcoal for a period of 15 to 20 days after being made with slowly pasteurised goat's milk, which makes it really creamy. It also has olive stone ash inside and is square in shape, which captivated the jury. "It is an original cheese. From the beginning I was hoping to find something that would surprise me and it was definitely this one,” said one judge. Its striking and powerful smell of forest mushroom with soft goaty undertones and its semi-soft and creamy texture were other aspects that won it huge praise from the panel.
Olavidia is sold in 250-300g pieces and should be eaten within three or four days because it contains no additives or preservatives. It costs around 14.95 euros in the company’s online shop, although at the moment there is none left and you have to put your name on a waiting list. It is also sold by some specialist websites and in the gourmet section of El Corte Inglés, although it tends to be snapped up very fast.