Picos de Europa
Country of origin: Spain
Region: Castilla y Leon
Type: semi-soft, artisan, blue-veined
Fat content: 48%
Rind: leaf wrapped
Flavour: sharp, spicy, tangy
Aroma: aromatic, rich, strong
Producers: Queserías Picos de Europa, S.L.
Synonyms: Queso di Valdeon, Valdeon
Picos de Europa, also known as Valdeon, is a Spanish blue cheese produced in Valdeon Valley of Castile-Leon region of the northwestern Spain. Made all year round with cow or goat’s milk or a mixture of both, the cheese has very dense blue veining and comes wrapped in maple or chestnut leaves. Since leaf wrapping is no more allowed these days, it comes wrapped in leaf printed aluminum foil. Queso di Valdeon has been awarded a status of Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) to regulate the production, processing and preparation of the cheese. In 2005, the the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food granted the cheese an award for best Blue Veined Spanish Cheese.
A bold and salty cheese, Valdeon uniqueness lies in its manufacturing process, which includes long and traditional maturing in the cold, damp cellars until the cheese reaches a mature or medium mature age. The pate of Valdeon has a soft, granular texture and pale yellow colour and is full of small cavities filled with blue moulds. Covered by a coarse, inconsistent rind in dark grey shades with little red marks, Valdeon is very strong and spicy in taste similar to Roquefort. A powerful smelling cheese, Valendon greasy, buttery paste is perfect for preparing any kind of blue cheese sauce. The rich smell of the cheese makes a good company with fresh fruit and strong red wine or sherry.