Mahon is the capital of the rocky island of Menorca, the most northerly of the Balearic Islands off the coast of Spain. Cheese has been made on the island since 3000BC. Today, two ancient breeds of dairy cattle, red Menorquin and black/white spotted Frison, graze on dense island grass and are milked on small family ‘fincas’ or farms which total 600 on Menorca.
Traditionally, this cheese was bound in cloth before pressing which is still done on a small scale on the island. A larger proportion of production is now made in a more efficient modern way which uses square moulds instead. The result is a consistent cheese that captures the true essence of the original. The rind is still rubbed with olive oil and paprika which imparts a rusty-orange colour to the exterior.
The wheels are then ripened for a minimum of 6 months on wooden shelves. When mature or ‘curado’, the cheese maintains a milky character and has developed a nutty flavour and characteristic tangy finish. Queso Mahon Curado_702011