Serpa Cheese (DOP)

Perhaps the most famous traditional cheese in southern Portugal, Serpa gets its strong scent and spicy flavor from the unique climate, soil and pasture of the Alentejo region. Made from sheep’s milk, the cheese is curdled with vegetable rennet and wrapped in cloth to mature. Inside the natural rind, the flesh is so creamy that it almost spills when cut. Serpa is one of the most genuinely crafted and high quality cheeses from Portugal.

Serpa is made solely from sheep’s milk, predominantly from the Lacaune, a French breed that has replaced the local Merino because it is more productive and easier to manage (the former can be milked by a machine) and can be raised in free-range conditions.
Queijo Serpa DOP is available in four diferent dimensions called "merendeiras" (weighting from 200 to 250 g), "cuncas" (800 to 900 g), "normais" (1000 to 1500 g) and "gigantes" (2000 to 2500 g).

The Presidium Slow Food Award
Slow Food’s Ark of Taste has cataloged hundreds of extraordinary products from around the world and the presidium Serpa is the only portuguese cheese to obtain this distinction.

"PDO status currently protects Serpa; however, the presidium was established to preserve the most traditional of the types of this cheese. The denomination covers a large geographic area that extends from the coast to the Spanish border, including a third of Portugal and passing by cork plantations and arid grazing lands. The PDO standards do not require long ageing periods, only that a slice of cut cheese must make a belly towards the outer edges. The market, in fact, prefers amanteigado cheese or rather cheese with a soft and melting consistency that one eats with a spoon (a type similar to those of the other two PDO of great renown, Azeitão and Serra da Estrela). However, traditional Serpa cheese is aged in an attic on cane mats and is consumed when mature. This rarer type of Serpa (firm and semi-firm) is markedly more interesting with more complex sensory qualities and personality. The presidium intends to protect the traditional version of Serpa cheese. The PDO standards will have to require narrower boundaries on the historical area, indicate a minimum ageing period and give the product uniform labeling, as it is currently impossible to precisely identify the type of Serpa by sight, as under this name one finds many different cheeses."


Serpa Solar Power Plant
Serpa Solar Power Plant construction began in June 2006 and was completed on January 2007. This is the worlds 2nd largest solar power plant capable of producing 11 megawatt electricity from the sun with no fuel costs or emissions. The Serpa plant is on a 60-hectare (150-acre) hillside and is a model of clean power generation integrated with agriculture.

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