Produced in a remote area of Asturias in northern Spain, La Peral is made by third generation cheesemakers Esther Alvarez and her husband Jose Luis Lopez at the family's dairy. The cheesemaking operation was founded at the beginning of the 20th century (very early by Spanish standards) and La Peral is named after a local village.
La Peral is a blue cheese made from a pasteurized blend of cow's milk, to which a small amount of sheep's cream is added. During production the curd is inoculated with Penicilium mold that gives the cheese its blue characteristic, and wheels are matured for a minimum of two months and up to five months before release.
When young, the texture is fairly firm, yet moist, with a slightly granular texture contained within the blue veins of the cheese. With age, the texture becomes softer and more yielding and can also be slightly "weepy" as the cheese tends to release some of its moisture.
Flavors are wonderfuly rich, creamy and distinct. Cheeses are at their mildest when young, when they present smooth, sweet flavors of caramel (a result of the sheep's cream), butter and mushrooms, underpinned by a consistently balanced blue tang.
With age, these flavors can become much more assertive, occasionally pretty wild and yet rarely unpleasant.
La Peral pairs extremely well with a good Sherry as well as a wide range of white wines.