The Top Cheeses of Portugal

Posted by Marianne Hoesen on Friday, December 16, 2016 Under: food and drink
Every country has its own special cheeses and so does Portugal. They taste very different from the Dutch Gouda or the British Cheddar, but once you have tried some, you will soon find one that fits your taste. 

When you go shopping for cheese in Portugal there are a few words you should know:

- Fresco means fresh, young
- curado means cured, aged
- velho means old, aged for at least 90 days
- leite means milk
- cabra means goat
- ovelha means sheep
- vaca means cow
- amanteigado means creamy, buttery. Good for spreading on bread.
- cru means raw
- Picante is spicy
- Queijo em barra - block cheese
- queijo em fatias - sliced cheese
- DOP - like DOC in wine - designated to cheeses produced in their traditional area

Here are some of the highest rated cheeses made in Portugal:


Queijo da Serra da Estrela - Also know as the "king of Portuguese cheeses". A smooth creamy cheese with a a rich taste made from sheep´s milk, cured with cardoon flowers in stead of animal rennet (so suitable for vegetarians too). The DOP variety comes from the region of the Serra da Estrela, the high hills in the centre of Portugal. It tastes a bit like ripe Brie. You should cut the top off the cheese and spoon the cheese out. Use the top to close again.  Once the shell is empty, you can still use it once with fresh, hot pasta. Just fill it in and toss it around to get the last bit of this lovely cheese. There are nearby producers which make similar non-DOP cheeses in the Serra style, such as the Queijo de Seia.


Queijo de Serpa - Very popular traditional cheese from south Portugal made from sheep´s milk and vegetable rennet. The cheese is wrapped in cloth to mature in cellars. The rind is brushed with olive oil and paprika, which gives it a strong, spicy aroma and flavor. The inside is firm, creamy with tiny holes.


Queijo de Azeitão - Creamy sheep´s cheese made with thistle flowers in stead of animal rennet. It has a nice earthy aroma and can be scooped out of its shell. Spicy but not too strong in taste. This appears the most palatable of the so called "stinky" cheeses for most people.


Queijo de Cabra Transmontano - Hard white and very tasty cheese from goat milk, made in the north of Portugal. Great for grating or slicing.


Queijo de Evora - Semi-hard to hard cheese from raw sheep´s milk which tastes a bit salty and spicy once it ages. 


Queijo de Nisa - Light-yellow firm cheese made from raw sheep´s milk and vegetable rennet. The earthy, herby taste combines very well with a glass of red wine.


Queijo do Pico - Soft cheese with a strong smell made from cow´s milk, sometimes mixed with goat´s milk, from the Açores. Used as a dessert cheese. 


Queijo do Rabaçal - Semi-hard to hard cheese, made from goat´s and sheep´s milk. Originates in central Portugal. 


Queijo de São Jorge - Produced on the Açores. A hard, dry and spicy cheese made from cow´s milk. This is the largest of the Portuguese cheeses. 


Queijo Terrincho - Semi-soft mild cheese from unpasteurized sheep´s milk, made in the Tras-os-Montes region. This cheese is cured in rye and covered with paprika.


Queijo de Castelo Branco - Intense and spicy flavour and smell. Made from goat and sheep milk. This cheese is only produced in the fall.


Queijo Requeijão - Very fresh, creamy and wet cheese. Milk is added to whey, which gets heated and then is drained in baskets. It is often sold in pastic, soaking in a clear liquid.


Locally made fresh goat cheeses - lovely with some pepper and salt or honey.


Queijo Flamengo - Portugal’s "everyday cheese" used for tosta and sandwiches. Flamengo means Flemish in Portuguese, and has nothing to do with the Flamingo birds. It is a copy of the Dutch Edam cheese and the most popular style bought in supermarkets around the country. It is usually sold "em barra" - as a block cheese.

This is a small selection of the many different cheeses you can buy in Portugal. There is one for every occasion, price and taste. What is your favourite?

In : food and drink 

Tags: portuguese cheese  best cheese of portugal  queijo de portugal 

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About Me

Marianne Hoesen Born in the deep south of The Netherlands, I moved to the central Algarve in 2007, together with my partner and 2 dogs. In the meantime we added some goats and chickens and are living a peaceful life in the rolling hills of the rural south of Portugal. I invite you to read a bit in my blog and to leave a comment afterwards. Also check out the holiday accommodations mentioned elsewhere in this website.


Algarve Portugal
café Portugal, bica
Esteva, rock rose, Algarve
sun, beach, Algarve
real cork real wine
beach Algarve
folklore dance Algarve
chicken piri piri

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