Pasto

Cooking from a Portuguese perspective

Serra da Estrela Cheese and Quince Jam Rolls/Rolos de Queijo da Serra e Marmelada

with 3 comments

As they say… if there was a restaurant in heaven this would be on the menu…


This absolutely exquisite combination of creamy and flavourful cheese with a delicate yet tangy quince jam is a real treat!

The cheese comes from the “Serra”, the highest mountain in Portugal and the home of the pastures that provide the conditions for this unique sheep’s milk cheese. Little known outside Portugal and with a history going back to the 12th century, good quality Serra da Estrela cheese is up there with the best artisan french cheeses. The cheese is produced during the cold months between November and March and produced with milk from the local “Bordaleiras Serra da Estrela” or “Churra Mondegueira” breeds. It can be eaten in a fresh buttery state (“amanteigado”) or cured into a hard flavourful cheese (“curado”). This unique produce from remote rural Portugal has been granted Protected Geographical Status by the European Union (which is ok as long as the key criteria is the quality of the cheese itself…). As is the cheese was not a good enough, the introduction of another unique local delicacy into this “roll” makes this worth dwelling on…

“Marmelada” (quince jam) is a common preserve across most of Portugal. By taking the rather bitter but flavourful “marmelo” (quince) through a jamming process and letting it set until it can be cut with a knife, we get a firm yet delicate fruity contribution to the table.

As this post comes short of providing an actual recipe, if you are lucky enough to come across both of these exquisite ingredients do follow these rules:

1. Open a soft (“amanteigado”) Serra da Estrela cheese with a circular incision on the top

2. Cut thin slices of quince jam (“marmelada”)

3. Pour a spoon of cheese onto the slice of jam

4. Roll, appreciate the beauty for a moment and try to resist the temptation…

5. Go back to step 2…

As for how you get the ingredients… Queijo da Serra is widely available in Portugal though quality can vary. The best cheese comes from relatively small “quintas”. The closer you get to the “serra” the more likely you are to get a good cheese… The Quinta da Lagoa and the Quinta de São Cosme are particularly nice but if you’re in the right place touch it for softness, and even better, try it! Marmelada is a way of preserving locally grown quince fruit which is now industrialised and widely commercialised. Quince is a tangy pear-like fruit which once stewed in sugar reveals its most rich and flavoursome qualitites. As I have been lucky enough to have eaten homemade “marmelada” all my life I cannot recommend a particular source but I’m certainly happy to receive suggestions…

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Written by Pedro Rebelo

May 10, 2012 at 10:39 pm

3 Responses

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  1. Are your recipes better than Maria’s? I am a Maria fun.

    dulcineainnewyork

    May 19, 2012 at 4:45 am

  2. I meant fan!!! Sorry

    dulcineainnewyork

    May 19, 2012 at 4:46 am

    • Couldn’t possibly comment… The most important is the attitude, not the recipe :-)

      Pedro Rebelo

      May 20, 2012 at 8:38 pm


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