Description: The Queijo Serra da Estrela PDO cheese is made with milk from the Bordaleira Serra da Estrela and Churra Mondegueira breeds of sheep. It’s a cured cheese, which can present a semi-soft buttery paste and white-yellowish shade (Queijo Serra da Estrela) or semi-hard to extra-hard paste and brownish orange color (Queijo Serra da Estrela Velho).
Production method: The beginning of manufacturing process of Queijo Serra da Estrela is sheep milking then occurs its filtration through muslin clothes. The milk is heated till to 28-32 ºC and salted. The thistle flower Cynara cardunculus is added (about 0,2 to 0,3 g), being previously milled and salted.
After 45 to 60 minutes manually cut curd and a new filtration is performed to remove the remaining serum.
When the molding, pressing and new salty processes are done there follows the maturing step. This consists in two phases. The first during till the 15-20th day. At temperature of 6 to 12 ºC and relative humidity of the 85 to 90%. Turns and daily washes are made.
The second phase during till the 45th day at temperature of 6-14 ºC and relative humidity of 90 to 95%. The turns and washes are made occasionally, depending of the rind aspect.
To produce the Queijo Serra da Estrela Velho are used the same temperatures and relative humidities ranging only the maturing period for 120 days.
Distinctive features: The milk used to obtain the Queijo Serra da Estrela DOP comes from sheep bred in the hills that gave it its name, with access to spontaneous pastures.
The dimensions of Queijo Serra PDO are 9 to 20 cm of diameter and 4 to 6 cm thickness. The flavor is delicate, clean and slightly acid. Regarding to the Queijo Serra Velho PDO its diameter is about 11 to 20 cm and its thickness is 3 to 6 cm. It has a pleasant, persistent, clean, strong to slightly stronger and lightly salted and spicy flavour.
Production area: Queijo Serra da Estrela PDO is made in the municipal areas of Carregal do Sal, Celorico da Beira, Fornos de Algodres, Gouveia, Mangualde, Manteigas, Nelas, Oliveira do Hospital, Penalva do Castelo, Seia, Aguiar da Beira, Arganil, Covilhã, Guarda, Tábua, Tondela, Trancoso and Viseu, in the districts of Viseu, Coimbra, Guarda and Castelo Branco.
History: The Queijo Serra da Estrela PDO is the oldest portuguese cheese being recognized internationally for its organoleptic characteristics.
It was introduced in Portugal by Roman people. Already during the Middle Ages it was mentioned in the lyrics of poet Gil Vicente.
In 1287 the King Dom Diniz created the first cheese market in Celorico da Beira council, in the Serra da Estrela PDO region.
This cheese represented a nutritious and sustainable food source being used by great explorers during their voyages.
In 1885 it reaches the cities of Lisbon and Porto, increasing its fame.
Product specification (pdf)
Control and certification body
BEIRA TRADIÇÃO - Certificação de Produtos da Beira, Lda
Publication in the Portuguese official journal
Despacho n.º 4183/2011, de 14 de fevereiro