Home Cheese, dairy and eggs Gamoneu cheese, the Asturian blue cave

Gamoneu cheese, the Asturian blue cave

Of ancestral elaboration in caves located by the Picos de Europaplatforms, Gamoneu cheese represents the motley geography of Principality of Asturias through a delicious product. One of the oldest and tastiest cheeses in the region has two varieties (of the Valley and the Port). Both reflect, from the outer crust to its most exquisite interior, the most Asturian colors, both with the sky and with the mountain dyed in white. Enjoy Protected Designation of Origin for its characteristics linked to the territory and also for its quality. In this article we will tell you everything about this product that has nothing to envy other national cheesemakers.

Birth in the Picos de Europa

The councils of Onís and Cangas de Onís are the cradle of this Gamoneu cheese whose birth thus takes place in the western massif of the Picos de Europa. Both Asturian mountainous areas located in the eastern part of the Principality are the only ones that can elaborate with all their authenticity this cheese product. Due to the abrupt difficulty of geography in that region of the north of the peninsula, agriculture could not develop long ago. But yes the cattle raising with the shepherds who began to write the history of this food, continuing the ancient tradition of craftsmanship, pampered and the identifier of mountainous territory.

In the natural environment framed in the National Park of the Picos de Europa are located the vegas of the mountain passes of Covadonga and Ports of Onís. This is where the Gamoneu cheese, made from cattle, which enjoy a native diet in the area. Then, another differential aspect is reserved for the production and maturing process, as we will explain below. Before doing so, it is convenient to define this product as a perfect gastronomic example of Asturias. In its texture, smell and taste it is reproduced.

Elaboration and ancestral maturing in caves

Coming from up to three different types of milk (cow, sheep and goat)platforms, Gamoneu cheese It is obtained after a process of artisan production. Of course, it is necessary to differentiate between its two varieties of Port and the Valle. In the case of the first, cabins of the ports are protagonists, while the second type arises from cheese shops located in the valleys. In any case, we are talking about a product created by Asturian families who pamper each piece, from the extraction of raw material to its release for sale.

But let's go back to the beginning of everything. After milking the mentioned animals every day at two specific times (at dawn and sunset), the milk is left to rest. After mixing the liters obtained both in the morning and at night, the result is gently heated to later add the rennet. The coagulating enzyme makes it possible to obtain a solid and shiny mass of the product, which is then subjected to cutting. In this way, the producers achieve that the whey is released progressively until there are only curd grains.

These grains are introduced into a mould, located on top of a tray, so that it collects traces of whey that can still release the cheese. The next step is the salty, always at 12 hours from the previous process and this task is repeated on the next side of the piece, after 24 hours. After these two steps, 3 days after taking shape, the Gamoneu cheese stands on shelves inside a smoking room. Little by little this peculiarity is gaining and, finally, the caves become the essential setting for its maturation. For at least a month they remain acquiring fungi and yeast that outline both the aroma and the most authentic flavor.

Gamoneu cave cheese
Cheese maturing in a cave / Photo: dopgamoneu

How is Gamoneu cheese with PDO?

This Asturian cheese product enjoys Gamoneu Cheese Protected Designation of Origin. In it are framed both the variety from the valley like the port. The latter is the most traditional, focusing on the cabins, which can only produce cheese in the months of spring and summer. The climate of the area during the rest of the year, as well as the difficulty of grazing livestock, motivates such a seasonality that it does not occur in the other of the varieties.

Now, this 'cave' food shares the same characteristics typical of such a particular cheese. Is fatty, ripe, with a natural rind, slightly smoky and with slight mushroom blooms on its edges. It can be the result of a mixture of cow, sheep and goat milk or just two types of these dairy products. Its shape is cylindrical and can even reach a weight of 7 kilos. It is characterized by its whitish color or snowy in its outer coating, with a thin texture, with reddish, green or bluish tones.

Gamoneu cheese
Cheese wedges / Photo: dopgamoneu

It should be remembered that we are talking about a blue cheese offering a firewood flavor and cave very representative of his birthplace. This constitutes one of the many keys to the Asturian product that also stands out for its smoking with firewood of non-resinous native plant species, for the tan color of its bark, for its buttery flavor with soft touches of smoke and even slightly spicy and for its white-yellowish paste.

Of course, always under your DOP label, we recommend you try on Asturias this Gamoneu cheese. A differential Asturian to savor the most authentic of the Principality!