How Should I Serve Manchego Cheese?

There are many ways to eat a classic cheese like Manchego, and it depends a bit on how your particular cheese has been aged.

It’s easy with a nice Manchego Curado. This smooth, easy-eating cheese gives an interesting spin to a sandwich or a salad where you’d usually use a boring cheddar, or as a perk up for a soup which is lacking a bit in flavour. How about a hot-dog variant – spicy chorizo in a bun with grated Manchego cheese on top? Or a Manchego, tomato and olive pizza? Manchego on your beef burger? Endless options with this flexible cheese.

On the other hand, if you’ve got a Manchego Viejo, the intensity of the taste requires more forethought and respect. This is a cheese to savour for cheese’s sake, rather than as an adjunct to a larger meal. Serve it on a large platter with other classic Spanish products like a Jamón Serrano (the unspeakably delicious Jamón Iberico de Bellota if you’re a millionaire), with green olives and with dulce de membrillo – the sweetness of the quinces is a gorgeous counterpoint to the sharpness of the cheese. Crusty bread ties the whole platter together.

And, of course, you’ll need wine. Something with body is best to give it a chance against the strong Manchego – a Rioja Tempranillo is the perfect companion. For a different yet still delicious experience, a Jerez sherry is great, or even a Manzanilla if your tastebuds run to that particular delicate Spanish taste.