Quesos Artesanos Montealva, hailing from the town of Torrecera, Jerez, in Andalusia, Spain, has quite the pedigree and story. Members of the Aguilar family, the affineurs of the award-winning, 100% Raza Payoya Autóctona certified cheeses, have been making cheese for over 50 years with milk from a herd of Payoya goats, a rare breed native only to the Sierra de Cádiz mountains, and hearty enough to thrive in this challenging environment. Under the helm of the Aguilars’ grandparents and mother, Montealva was traditionally made in a farmhouse. Today, the third generation, son and daughter Pedro and Isabel Álvarez Aguilar, continue the cheesemaking tradition in a larger facility, but with the same artisanal methods using milk from the same herd of Payoya goats. The aforementioned goats nearly became extinct until a regional farmers’ collective began working together in 1997 to preserve the herd, which now numbers over 450 goats.
The goats graze in limestone-rich mountain pastures, whose terroir reveals itself in the bright, grassy, and herbal notes of this dreamy, semi-firm, pasteurized cheese. Our Montealva selection, called the Joven (young), is aged two months prior to release. The rind bears a traditional, woven-basket texture. The paste is a lovely ivory color, with a dense, crumbly consistency that yields a rich, creamy mouthfeel. On the palate, a savory, mushroom-like foundation leads to a fresh-squeezed, lemony-citrus pop, as well as flavors of hazelnut and mustard. Of course, this Montealva from Jerez is an ideal pairing with a glass of fino, the dry, pale white sherry wine produced in the same area. We also recommend trying this cheese with Spanish olives, a drizzle of honey, a dollop of marmalade, or a side of fresh or dried fruit. If you enjoy dry wines, try the Montealva with a sparkling Cava, a crisp Spanish white like Albariño, or a Spanish rosado (rosé).
Experience International Variety
You might receive a Gaperon, originating in France during the 14th Century, an
authentic Lancashire by Ruth Kirkham, and an Italian Taleggio matured in the
caves of Valsassina…all in one shipment!