The name “Torta del Casar” is the union of two terms that are inseparably linked in this unique and extraordinary cheese.
The first refers to its shape. This arose by chance, as the shepherds who made this cheese in the past with the milk from the sheep they were taking care of, saw how sometimes the inside of the cheese did not harden, remaining in semi-liquid form, and as the cheese could not support its own weight, it collapsed into the shape we all know today. When this happened, the shepherds said it became “atortado” as it reminded them more of disk-shaped flour cakes (tortas) than traditional cheeses.
What is it?
“Torta del Casar” is an absolutely natural cheese, made with traditional techniques from raw sheep’s milk from controlled farms, vegetable rennet and salt. Matured for more than sixty days.
With a light and thin semi-hard rind, the cheese’s main feature is its very creamy texture, which at certain times makes the body, of white to yellowish colour, pour out from any crack in the rind. With a characteristic aroma and intense and well-developed taste, it dissolves on the palate and is very slightly salty and a little bitter, due to the vegetable rennet used.
Although in the past it was made at the end of winter and beginning of spring, coinciding with the milking period and specific temperature and humidity conditions, today, thanks to all the progress in husbandry and knowledge of ripening processes, milk production is less linked to the season and thus top quality “Torta del Casar” can be made at any time of the year.
To fully enjoy a “Torta del Casar” it should first be brought to room temperature before eating, as if it is served cold you will not be able to appreciate all its qualities. If it is to be eaten within a few days, use a sharp knife to open the top of the cheese as if you were taking off its lid and set it aside without breaking it, leaving the creamy inside of the cheese accessible. Use a round-ended knife to spread the cheese on fresh or lightly toasted bread. When you have finished, replace the “lid” and store it in a cool place.
If it is not going to be eaten in a short time, cut it into portions while still cold, so it will not fall apart, wrap each portion in cling plastic and only warm up the portion you are going to eat at that moment.
There are many ways to eat this singular cheese, where prestige and tradition have united to offer new sensations for the most demanding palates, as has already been discovered by some of our most prestigious cooks, who have created a wide variety of different recipes using “Torta del Casar” for all types of dishes you can find on the menu.