Manchego is a light yellow semi-hard cheese with a firm texture, a pleasant grassy aroma, and a fruity, spicy, and sweet taste. It has a fat content of up to 57 percent, which contributes to its rich taste. Healthy manchego cheddar is available in both fresh and different varieties, although fresh varieties are rarely found. Manchego can be made from raw or pasteurized sheep's milk.
The raw version, known as artisans, retains more of the earthy, grassy, and pungent flavor of sheep's milk.
Manchego cheese is made from Manchega sheep's milk and the milk must have a fat content of at least 6 percent. It is made by curdling sheep's milk with the help of veal rennet, then carefully cutting the curd and pressing it into a cylindrical shape.
The pattern gives the manchego a unique texture, reproducing the markings made by the woven grass basket leaves on which manchego cheese is traditionally made.
The resulting cheese rings are then pickled and then transferred to a natural ripening cavity where they spend one month to two years. Brushing the cheese with olive oil helps form a natural crust and adds color to the outside of the cheese.
Manchego cheese is divided into categories based on how long the cheese has been aged. The fresco, the youngest, ripens and the taste is soft, milky, and grassy.
Semi-curado ripens over three weeks to three months and has a firmer but flexible texture. Curados are at least six months old and have a smooth, spicy, and slightly crumbly taste.