Country of origin: Portugal
Region: Castelo Branco, Fundão and Idanha-a-Nova
Type: semi-soft, artisan
Fat content: 45%
Colour: pale yellow
Flavour: sour, spicy, tangy
Alternative spellings: Queijo de Castelo Branco
Named after a town that goes by the same name, Castelo Branco is a Portuguese cheese from the central region of Portugal, produced in the municipalities of Castelo Branco, Fundão and Idanha-a-Nova. Castelo Branco is usually made from sheep’s milk but there is a version where sheep’s and goat’s milk is mixed and matured for 45 days.
A DOP protected cheese, the milk is sourced from Merino da Beira Baixa breed of sheep. Therefore, it is also known as Beira Baixa yellow cheese or Beira Baixa spicy cheese.
Castelo Branco is a handmade, cured cheese coagulated with thistle rennet. It has a yellowish rind with a pronounced aroma and a strong, tangy and spicy flavour. The pale, semi-soft cheese starts becoming hard, crumbly, creamy and yellow-orange if it is matured beyond 90 days. Best eaten as a dessert or snack, the cheese contains 45% fat.