Description: Requeijão Serra da Estrela PDO is the product obtained by precipitation or coagulation by heat of the proteins contained in the whey resulting from the manufacture of Serra da Estrela cheese PDO. Raw milk obtained from sheep of the breeds Bordaleira Serra da Estrela and Churra Mondegueira, drinking water and occasionally, in very special and duly authorised circumstances, milk from goats of the Serrana or Jarmelista varieties of the Serrana breed may be added to the whey. Requeijão Serra da Estrela PDO takes the form of a creamy and slightly lumpy mellow and uniform white mass. It is moulded by its container (roughly a cylinder with an irregular base) and weighs between 150 and 400 grams per piece. It is consistent, uniformly creamy, easy to cut and white in colour. The taste and odour are agreeable and it melts in the mouth.
Production method: Requeijão Serra da Estrela PDO is manufactured from the whey of Serra da Estrela cheese PDO, the main raw material. If the cheese is made with salt in the milk, between 10% and 20% of water is added to the curds obtained to soften its taste. These are then placed near to a heat source and the water driven off slowly with constant one-way stirring until a temperature of 82 °C is reached. In some plants, sheep's milk is added at this point in a proportion of up to 18% of the quantity of curd cheese. A few producers also add a small percentage of milk from goats of the Serrana and Jarmelista varieties of the Serrana breed. This must be expressly authorised by the Producers' Group and be mentioned on the label. After stirring, the temperature quickly rises to 96 °C, at which point the proteins (lacto-albumin and lacto-globulin) precipitate by coagulation, forming ‘flakes’. They are then removed by skimming or sieving. Traditionally, these flakes were collected in small baskets made of thin chestnut branches, also known as ‘açafates’, to be separated from the ‘sorelho’. The curd cheese is then ready for eating. Nowadays the flakes are collected in a container which, although it has the same shape, is made of harmless inert material. After the ‘sorelho’ has been separated, the curd cheese is immediately wrapped in vegetable paper.
Distinctive features: The art of producing Requeijão Serra da Estrela PDO is regarded as a cultural asset of the geographical area of production since its characteristics are readily apparent and acknowledged by those living there and its usual consumers. Requeijão Serra da Estrela PDO is a very appreciated product for its high protein and low fat content. It may be eaten alone, in milk or coffee, mixed with honey or pumpkin jelly with or without pieces of walnut, hazelnut or almond.
Production area: Requeijão 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 history of Requeijão Serra da Estrela PDO is fully documented and its traditional presentation in small straw baskets and wrapped in cabbage or mulberry leaves is well known.
While, in the past, whey derived from the production of Serra da Estrela cheese, either on its own or in soups of corn, rye or mixed cereals served in most cases to stave off the hunger of tribes of children from the poorest families in the region, today, the economy and the value of using the whey that was produced in the making of other cheeses was recognised as well as its nutritional value.
Control and certification body
BEIRA TRADIÇÃO Certificação de Produtos da Beira, Lda
Publication in EU official journal
Regulamento (CE) n.º 205/2005 da Comissão de 04.02.2005 - L 33/6
Regulamento (CEE) n.º 2081/92 de 08.04.2004