Ripened cheese, the hard paste or semi-hard with little or no eye and slightly yellowish shell has an almost imperceptible color to yellow darkening in contact with air. It is made from raw milk sheep. After heating the milk thistle plant is used for coagulation. The work of curd is short, followed by aging for a period of 30 days in the case of cheeses semi-hard or 90 days for hard cheeses. Can be stored in oil to last the whole year. A variety of hard paste is produced in two sizes, the smallest, 6 to 8 cm in diameter and 60 to 90 g weight, and the greater the merendeira, that presents a diameter of 12 to 14 cm and a weight 120 to 200 grams. The cheese is only semi-hard marketed as merendeira with diameters between 13 to 15 cm and weight between 200 to 300 g. Taste slightly spicy and salty. Its region corresponds to the municipalities of Alandroal, Arraiolos, Avis, Borba, Estremoz, Évora, Fronteira, Montemor-o-Novo, Mora, Mourão, Portel, Redondo, Reguengos Monsaraz, Sousel, Vendas Novas, Viana do Alentejo and Vila Viçosa.
Queijo de Mestiço de Tolosa - Mestiço de Tolosa Cheese
Mestiço de Tolosa Cheese is obtained from milk of goat and sheep. Crust has slightly rough, thin, entire, sometimes oily, colour varies from yellow or orange uniform. The regular form is well defined with sharp edges, soft and hard consistency with hollow sounds. The paste is well connected, just closed, with small eyes, yellow to orange uniform. The flavour is slightly aggressive, clean, spicy and enjoyable. The diameter varies between 7 to 10 cm, height 3 to 4 cm and finally weight between 150 and 400 g. The production area covers the counties in Alter do Chão, Arronches, Avis, Campo Maior, Castelo de Vide, Crato, Elvas, Fronteira, Gavião, Marvão, Monforte, Nisa, Ponte de Sôr, Portalegre and Sousel.
Queijo de Nisa - Nisa Cheese
The Nisa Cheese is shaped as a short cylinder. It is made from raw, pure ewe's milk, curdled with cardoon and aged for at least 45 days. The weight and size of this cheese varies according to the two sizes it comes in: - Merendeiras (snack-size) - 3 to 5 cm high, 10 to 12 cm in diameter and weighing between 200 to 400 g. - Normais (normal) - 5 to 8 cm high, 13 to 16 cm in diameter and weighing between 800 and 1,3 kg. It is further characterized by a whit-yellow half-hard paste, closed and smooth, with a few small eyes, strong smell and a slightly acidulated flavour. The area of production of the Nisa Cheese is confined to the counties of Nisa, Crato, Castelo de Vide, Marvão, Portalegre, Monforte, Arronches and Alter do Chão, in the Alto Alentejo region.
Queijo de Serpa - Serpa Cheese
Made from raw, pure ewe's milk (in the past from Merino sheep's milk but nowadays from nonindigenous sheep's milk), this cheese is curdled with cardoon and aged for at least 30 days. It is cylinder-shaped and its size and weight varies according to the four marketed sizes: - Merendeiras (snack-size) - 3 to 4 cm high, 10 to 12 cm in diameter and weighing between 200 and 250g. - Cuncas (scoops) - 4 to 5 cm high, 15 to 18 cm in diameter and weighing between 800 and 900 g. - Normais (normal) - 4 to 6 cm high, 18 to 20 cm in diameter and weighing between 1 and 1,5 kg. - Gigantes (giants) - 6 to 8 cm high, 25 to 30 cm in diameter and weighing between 2 and 2,5 kg. With a white-yellow or straw-yellow half-soft paste, smooth, closed and with only a few or no holes at all, the Serpa Cheese has strong, specific and somewhat sharp flavour. The legally defined production area, which extends far beyond the traditional area, comprises the counties of Mértola, Beja, Castro Verde, Almodôvar, Cuba, Ourique, Moura, Serpa, Vidigueira, Aljustrel, Ferreira do Alentejo and Alvito, and another two districts in the county of Odemira, three districts in the county of Santiago do Cacém, a district in Grândola and a district in Alcácer do Sal.