One of the best parts about travelling to new places is tasting its food, and when walking the Camino de Santiago, that is no different. Let us introduce you to three popular Galician cheeses that you will find along the Camino on your way to Santiago de Compostela.
Tucked in the north-western corner of Spain, Galicia has a long coastline and a hilly interior which leads to a strong gastronomic tradition. Its green lush pastures create a fantastic environment for cattle, making world-famous beef and cheese.
This mild flavored cheese famous for its conical shape, resembling a small breast. Its name Tetilla, translates to small breast. Legend says that a statue of a large-breasted queen Esther was place in the façade of the Portico de la Gloria in the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral. Directly in front of her, a figure of Prophet Daniel was placed with a large grin on his face. Scandalized by this scene, the church ordered a “breast reduction” for Queen Esther´s statue. In protest, the local people decided to shape their cheese to resemble a breast.
Tetilla is a mild cheese, with a creamy and semi-soft interior. As you bite into it, you will find a buttery flavor with a slight acidity from its lactic notes.
Queso de San Simón da Costa:
Also with a conical shape, Queso San Simón is smoked with local birch wood. Traditionally, this wood was used to make zuecas, the traditional wooden clogs, and the shavings of these were used to smoke this cheese. By smoking this cheese, you change the aroma, the flavor and the texture.
San Simon cheese has a harder caramel-colored outside because of the smoke, and a golden semi-hard, semi-elastic interior. Still creamy in the mouth, it has a mild smoke flavor with a milky sweet ending.
Queso de Arzúa-Ulloa:
This cylindrical shaped cheese is also known as “Queso del Pais” (which loosely translates to cheese from the land). It is so popular it has become the most produced and consumed cheese in Galicia. You can find different variations of this cheese from very young (a minimum of 6 days of age) to “curado”, aged for a minimum of 6 months.
When you cut into it, the centre of this cheese is fudgy and buttery. Its flavor is similar to the Tetilla cheese, but perhaps a bit sweeter with the taste of fresh milk.
These cheeses are delicious just for snacking, but because of their mild flavor and melting properties, you will find them used in many dishes, including dessert!