Yesterday, I spent from 8:30 in the morning to 6 in the afternoon in the Sierra of Grazalema, around 90 minute’s drive south-east of Seville. The area is a Natural Park and is of exceptional beauty. The reason for my trip was to sort out the details for a cheese tour that I have had in mind for some time. I met up with my friend Rosana who makes cheese in Grazalema and without whom the new tour would not exist. First of all, we drove to visit the farm of one of the farmers Rosana works with. She collects milk from 3 different farms but the one we visited is the biggest with around 240 sheep and 170 goats. On the new excursions my clients and I will take a 30-40 minute walk to the farm from the local main road befoe seeing the farmer milking either his sheep or goats. Below are a few photos I took of the animals.
At the moment there is very little milk available as a lot of the sheep and goats are still feeding milk to their young. Anyway, we collected some milk from a small farm which amounted to around 25 litres, 5 litres of sheep’s milk and the rest from goats. The milk was then heated to an adequate temperature and rennet was added which causes the milk to curdle. This was left for 45-60 minutes and then with a knife the curd was cut until it has the appearance of grains of rice as can be seen in the photo below.
The curds were then taken out and put into molds within a cheese cloth and pressed to remove the whey and to compact the curds as can be seen in the following photo.
You end up with a fresh cheese like the one below.
The cheese will be left for 4 or 5 hours before being salted. After another 24 hours it wil be put in the curing room where it will remain for around 2 months or longer in cold weather as there is no artificial means of cooling or heating.