Produced in the Extremadura province of Spain, Torta Del Casar is a soft cheese with a dense, creamy texture and rich, sour and nutty flavors diffused with floral notes.
Cheeses are made from the rich, raw milk of Marino sheep, whose yield is small, but high in protein and fat. From the end of the winter to the end of spring, curds are obtained by coagulating the milk with vegetable rennet made from dried cardoon thistle stamens. It is this vegetable extract that imbues the cheese with its distinguishing, pleasantly subtle earthy, bitter taste.
The cheese is produced in cylinders with rounded edges, weigh roughly 2lbs., are about two to three inches high and are aged for at least two months.
The rind is somewhat loose and undulating and, with age, can sometimes separate from the almost liquid paste within.
When eaten, traditionally the top of the rind is cut off and the creamy paste is served by the spoonful or even with a crusty piece of bread.
The best Torta del Casar is produced by a small artisan farmer who limits his production to times when milk production is determined to be just right to produce a truly unique and flavorful cheese.