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Traditional Goat Cheese - an absolute delicacy from Málaga!

Diputación de Málaga
GR 249.4. Section Stage 2. Antequera - Valle de Abdalajís. Malaga goats starting the ascent to the Escaleruela

Traditional Goat Cheese - an absolute delicacy from Málaga!

One needs six litres of milk to make one kilogram of cheese from Málaga

Origin

Málaga's goat is a cross between two old goat species. One species is Pyrenean ibex, which came form the north of the Iberian Peninsula, and the other one is the Maltese goat, which came from Africa. This new species found an ideal place for reproduction in Málaga. This breed had the biggest impact on goat populations in Málaga in the past. There is also the Payoya goat or Montejaque breed from the Sierra de Grazalema, which lives between Cádiz and Málaga.

Besides its great capacity to produce milk (a female goat can produce an average amount of 500 litres a year), Málaga's goat is also important for meat industry. The products obtained from this breed are above all: milk, meat and young goat. Today, cold meat made of goat and pâté made of the liver of Málaga's young goat are some of new products that are being prepared.

Málaga Cheese

Málaga cheese is a local produce which is part of an important cultural and food heritage that is included in the last cheese catalogue published by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment. It is made of goat milk only, which comes from goats form Málaga. It is traditionally produced in the entire province of Málaga.

Today, a brand which certifies the appellation of origin for this product is being created. Therefore, the Association of Málaga Cheese was founded in 2005 in order to develop its quality standards, raise its consumption and develop the market. There are more than 20 traditional cheese shops in the province of Málaga, which follow traditional methods with new technology, as well as the most demanding sanitary measures. They use milk from their own livestock or those close to their facilities, which guarantees daily production based on fresh milk. These small and medium-size businesses are important employers in the villages. The traditional Málaga cheese is fresh goat cheese, but there are other famous quality cheese products.

Products

Today, there are plenty of kinds of cheese from Málaga and Ronda according to how mature or cured they are or depending on milk preparation: fresh cheese, semi-hard and hard cheese; cheese in extra virgin olive oil, with paprika, rosemary, with Pedro Ximénez sweet wine, thyme, herbs, cheese curd, made of pasteurized milk or just milk. These cheese products usually have a naturally made rind, with only 30% of fat. Other dairy products, such as yoghurt, desserts and ice-creams also show the potential of this sector.

In spite of the large amount of milk which is produced in Málaga, 70,000,000 litres a year, only 9% are used for cheese in the province. The rest of it is sold to national and international milk industries. Today, traditional cheese making is promoted among livestock farmers through a pasteurized milk packing plant in Casabermeja in order to give milk from recently milked goats to consumers, restaurants owners, bakers and ice-creak makers.

Areas

Málaga cheese is made throughout the area, from the Serranía de Ronda in the westernmost part of the province to La Axarquía. There is to keep in mind that Málaga has a rich tradition in cheese making, due to excellent conditions for goat livestock farming. This wide area is divided in three parts accordding to its geographical features: Serranía de Ronda, the Guadalhorce Valley and western Costa del Sol. Therefore, there are plenty different places in Málaga, such as Casares, Colmenar, Tolox, Ronda, Coín or Campillos, for example.

Taste

Goat cheese made of the milk that comes from the goats that graze have organoleptic properties which depend on the plants in the area and can be different according to the season and available pasture. These properties can be easily sensed in the cheese made of raw milk, which has not been treated and therefore kept original milk properties together with aromas and flavours that can not be perceived in the case of industrial cheese.

Producers

If you would like to purchase Málaga cheese of any kind, you can do so through the producers which form part of the brand 'Taste of  Málaga'.