São Jorge Cheese (DOP)

This wonderful cheese comes to us from the volcanic island of the same name in Portugal's Azores archipelago. Littered with giant craters, the island is also home to vast, lush, natural green pastures. When colonized by the Flemish in the 15th century, cheese production was introduced to the island, with cows brought over from the mainland.

São Jorge is the largest of Portuguese cheeses. It weighs from 8 up to 12 kg and it’s still made in the traditional farmhouse way from unpasteurized cow's milk. The maturation process is 1 - 3 months long and the result is a semi-firm to firm cheese with a yellowish color and small “eyes” reminiscent of fine English cheddar. The rind is hard, with a smooth surface and a dark yellow color, sometimes with chestnut-colored spots and coated with paraffin.

The aroma is strong, with a flavor both mild and bitter, becoming slightly spiced as it ages. São Jorge is incredibly versatile, lending its tangy, slightly peppery undertones well to sauces and being equally delicious served cubed into a salad or chunked and eaten with a crusty baguette.

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