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.