Nisa Cheese (DOP)

The Alentejo is an extensive region covering almost a third of Portugal. The boundary in the north is the River Tejo; and in the south, the hills of the Algarve. In the east, it shares a frontier with Spain, and in the west it opens onto the Atlantic Ocean. Essentially rural and sparsely populated, it offers a landscape that is uncommonly well conserved. Alentejan cheeses and wines are consolidating their fame.

Queijo de Nisa is a raw ewe's milk DOP (Certificate of Protected Origin) status cheese made from the milk of Merino sheep. The milk is curdled after coagulation, provoked by the thistle. Salting is done directly on the paste after it is formed into its disc shape.

Nisa has a soft to half-hard paste with small eyes and a yellowish color. The flavor is robust and earthy when you first taste it. But then Queijo de Nisa's flavor opens up into a rich, herbaceous experience, with a slight citrus sweetness. It has a slightly acidulous finish, which comes from the particular aging of the sheep's milk. Potuguese cheeses can be very rare finds in this country, so enjoy this simply on its own or with fresh crusty bread. This cheese is versatile and complements both red and white wines. Pair with fresh, zippy Vinho Verde wines or jammy, fruity reds from the southern Alentejo.

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