Artisanal European cheeses
108 Pages
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Artisanal European cheeses


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108 Pages


Agricultural and fisheries research
Animal production



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Language English
Document size 18 MB


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AgiolnØiiol Reseorch Division^
Artisanal European
Timothy M. Cogan and Mary C. Rea
National Dairy Products Research Centre
CT AGRE 0064
PARI ErøO?. Sib'Mh.
Directorate-General XII
N.C. Science, Research and Development
CI EUR 16788 EN 1996
Χ^>%^> Published by the
Directorate-General XII
Science, Research and Development
B-1049 Brussels
Neither the European Commission nor any person acting on
behalf of the Commission is responsible for the use which might be made of the
following information
Cataloguing data can be found at the end of this publication
Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, 1996
ISBN 92-827-7211-X
© ECSC-EC-EAEC, Brussels · Luxembourg, 1996
Reproduction is authorized, except for commercial purposes, provided the source is acknowledged
Printed in Italy CONT NTS
Spanish artisanal cheeses 1
Manchego Cheese 5
Cebrales Cheese 12
La Serena Cheese 17
Majorero Cheese 22
Mahón Cheese 28
Italian artisanal cheeses
Fiore Sardo 35
Casu Axedu 38
Fontina Cheese 41
Toma Cheese 45
Mozzarella Cheese 49
Caciotta Cheese 55
French artisanal cheeses 59 I
Comté Cheese 63
Beaufort Cheese 69
'Mont d'Or' (Vacherin Du Haut Doubs) Cheese 75
Portuguese artisanal cheeses H
Serra Da Estrela Cheese 82
Serpa Cheese 86
São Jorge Cheese 90 Artisanally produced cheeses are part of the historic fabric of many countries in Europe,
especially Portugal and those which border the Mediterranean. These cheeses have a long
history and are produced mainly on farms although, nowadays, some of them are also produced
in small factories. Such cheeses are often produced in some of the poorer regions of their
countries of origin and play an important part in the local agricultural economy. Goat's, ewes' and
cows' milk are used. Very often in these cheeses, the cheesemaker relies on lactic acid bacteria
present as natural contaminants in the milk itself to produce the lactic acid which is necessary to
ensure proper expulsion of whey (moisture) during cheese manufacture. However, in larger units,
sometimes whey from the previous day is incubated overnight for use on the following day. Such
'backslopping' is common especially in the 'fruitières' who produce Comté cheese in France.
The European Union as part of its Research and Technical Development programme has funded
a study of these cheeses under its ECLAIR programme. This project involved 10 laboratories in
7 countries (Portugal, Spain, Italy, Greece, France, The Netherlands and Ireland) under contract
AGRE-CT91-0064. The major aim of the project was to isolate and characterize the bacteria
present in many of them. One of the assumptions which was made before this project began was
that the LAB in these cheeses would be different from those used in commercial cheese
manufacture. This proved to be the case. A total of 4,379 strains of LAB were isolated and
characterized from 33 products. These are held deep-frozen in the laboratories in which they were
isolated for use by future scientists, Instituto de Microbiologia Università Cattolica del Sacro
Cuore, Piacenza, Italy. A data base of the strains on FileMaker Pro is available from Dr. Pier
Sandro Cocconcelli. The more useful strains are currently being evaluated for their cheesemaking
Data on the biochemical and microbiological changes which occur in some of these cheeses
during ripening has been published but the journals containing the information are often not
readily available. In other cheeses such data is non-existent except for that which was generated
during the course of this project. With this background, some of the participants in the project felt
it would be very useful if a small booklet, outlining the manufacture and the biochemical and
microbiological changes which occur in the more important of these cheeses, was produced. This
is the origin of the present booklet.
We would like to thank all the authors for the time and energy they put into writing the individual
chapters and the European Commission for printing it. We hope it will be worth the effort.
Instituto Nacional de Investigación y Tecnología Agraria y Alimentaria (INIA)
Ctra. La Coruna Km 7
28040 Madrid
The Spanish Catalogue of Cheeses (Ministerio de Agricultura, Pesca y Alimentación, 1990)
describes 81 cheese varieties made from cows', ewes' or goats' milk, and from mixtures of milk
from these species. Most of these cheeses are of low economic importance, manufactured on
farms and consumed locally. A characteristic of most artisanal cheeses made from ewes' and
goats' milk is their seasonality, with maximum production in the springtime and low production in
the autumn. Difficulties arising in artisanal production, e.g. the reduction in the numbers of farms
and shepherds and the lack of year round, have led to the dissapearance of some
artisanal cheese varieties, but others are being developed. In the North of Spain, about 40 cheese
varieties are produced artisanally, and show considerable differences in their characteristics.
Interest in artisanal cheeses, especially in ewes' and goats' milk cheeses, has increased during
the last decade.
Approximately 200,000 tonnes of artisanal and commercial cheese were produced in Spain in
1990. Although the exact amount ofl production is difficult to quantify, it is thought to be
close to 25,000 tonnes (Herrero, 1993). Cheese consumption in Spain has increased in the last
few years; the current (1994) per capitum level is 6 kg/year.
Some artisanal practices involved in traditional production of cheese include the use of vegetable
coagulants, e.g. the use of the thistle, Cynara cardunculus, employed in La Serena cheese
manufacture, or the use of rennet pastes obtained by macerating kid stomachs, previously filled
with curdled milk and sun-dried for at least two months, in Majorero cheese production. A great
variety of moulds, made from wood, esparto grass, braided palm leaves and knotted cotton cloths
are used in artisanal cheese production. The latter are responsible for the traditional shape of
Manon cheese from the Balearic Islands. There are some examples in which old manufacturing
practices and modern industrial technology co-exist, e.g. in the case of Manchego cheese, the
main Spanish variety manufactured from ewes' milk.
Most of the 81 Spanish cheese varieties are manufactured artisanally and ewes' and/or goats'
milk is present in 65 of them. Only 16 varieties are produced exclusively from cows' milk, 14
exclusively from ewes' milk and 25 exclusively from goats' milk. Seven varieties are made from
combined ewes' and goats' milk, 3 from cows' and goats' milk and 6 from cows' and ewes' milk.
Ten varieties are made from a mixture of cow's, ewes' and goat's milk, mainly in Northern Spain.
A classification of Spanish cheeses in different families, according to the type of milk used is
presented in Table 1 (adapted from Herrero, 1991).