Mestiço de Tolosa Cheese (IGP)

This is a IGP (Protected Geographical Indication) status cheese made of goat and sheep milk, separated and filtered through a cloth, made in proper rates in cheese-dairy. The production is artisan, such as in other cured cheeses in our country. It is a cured half-soft cheese of average dimensions. Tolosa cheese has wrinkled, fine, entire crust, sometimes lightly oily, of yellow or orange constant colour. The diameter varies between 7 and 10 cm, height between 3 and 4 cm and weight between 150 and 400 g, with regular shape, well defined outline, soft and firm consistency with tympanic sound. The pulp is well joined, slightly closed, with small eyes, of yellow or orange colour. Taste and scent are slightly aggressive, clean, spicy and pleasant.

This is a cheese coming from Alto Alentejo and it's production involves several phases: the first one consists in milk casein heating and coagulation recurring to animal curdle or to thistle (Cynara Cardunculus) as coagulator agent; in the second, the curdled-milk is placed in the cheese-press (with around 8-10 cm of diameter and 3-4 cm of height) constantly squeezing until the final size. Next, follows the making of serum (during about 15 min) allowing to separate the restrained serum in the curd. Then proceeds salting, this operation discloses the know-how practiced in dairies, without a definite measure they reveal the knowledge of several generations. They put salt in the superior face of the cheese and place it in the shelves, in the following day they turn it and salt the other face; finally goes to cure in chambers, the maturation occurs for 3 or 4 weeks until reaching the degree of maturation known by "half-cure” cheese the most appreciated by consumers. The normal production period of this cheese is between middle of January and middle of July, during the normal goat and ovine regular lactation period. The cure conditions are determinant to achieve this cheese, assuring the protection against exaggerate speeds of air circulation. The cheese must be manipulated and stored to a maximum temperature of 10º C.

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