The Montsec's cheese
The Cordillera del Montsec, by its nature, welcomes attractions that aroused the interest of both the visitors and the residents themselves.
Besides having one of the highest quality night skies and be considered a Starlight Reserve. Since the 80s is one of the leading producers of cheese artisans of Catalonia. Well, agriculture is the most important activity of these dry mountains of the Pyrenees foothills.
The cheese made ??known by the place name of the mountain, Montsec cheese, although it is also called as cheese cendrat (ash) or Clua.
This is one of the best goat cheese in the Iberian Peninsula, which can consume and purchase during all seasons. So it is not strange that he earned seven gold medals in different tastings and competitions nationally and internationally. And are currently exported in the United States and Italy.
Its production, despite located in the vicinity of the Montsec, focuses on three specific locations in the province of Lleida, Artesa de Segre, Conca Isona Dellà and Vilanova de Meia . Went to Artesa de Segre where it all began, but today the three populations are setting for the creation of this treat for the palate, which you can relish watching the beautiful sky Montsec and feel this way, the taste of range and territory in the mouth.
Cheese Montsec is characterized by the family of semi-hard. The basis of this is on the whole raw goat milk, which is aged up to two months. During this time the milk coagulates and results in a soft cheese.
In appearance, it stands for the color of its bark, which is ashen. This appearance, observable to the naked eye, is that the cheese is smoked, externally, on a bark of ash to improve conservation and to attribute a different flavor.
It can also be identified by their smell that stands out as penetrating and positions it as a strong cheese.
However, the organoleptic characteristics (taste) have favorable aptitudes for different palates, but this cheese has a combination of different tastes balanced manner.
Moreover, note that the properties of the dairy product, in general, as a source of calcium and phosphorus, as most nutrients concentrated milk.
Clua, the cradle of this dairy
Clua is an ancient population center of Artesa de Segre built at the foot of a granite wall and amid the Montsec between the Valley and Baldomar Ariete and left of the canyon or Catarena Clua.
This has always been a core with a low population density. In 1718 17 people were living in 1849 and 33 neighbors. But in the early 1960s Clua completely depopulated.
However, a few years passed and they returned to be inhabited. In the 1970s a group of young people took up residence in the abandoned village.
These, over time, they realized that the main economic activity of the municipality was directed towards the development of artisanal goat cheese.
This is because young people had no knowledge of agriculture, or possessed tools and instruments when they arrived ... and they were very difficult to maintain that planned crops and livestock. Except goats, which were the only animals that did not die and neither ate nor eagles weasels, as was the case, however, with the chickens.
Given the scenario described, they decided to guide the economy based on these animals and raw materials offered to them to make cheese population.
Currently, Clua remains one of the leading producers of cheese Montsec. Indeed, for this reason, also referred to as lactic cheese Clua. Moreover, its constitution retains small rural town with a population density of incipient .
The rudimentary self-taught cheese making by young Clua generated some unique cheeses, which can be enjoyed today and are an example of harmonious balance between tradition and modernity. For one, the famous cheese Montsec Clua or Ash. And, secondly, the Smooth Clua.
The Soft Key, so that little brother Cheese Montsec is thinner, but has also been made ??with raw goat milk but matured between 60 and 90 days, possibly for this reason, their pasta stands out as semi hard .
Its flavor is intense and incisive with some dried fruit aromas and smell reminiscent of a rainforest.
The Montsec and products
The setting of the saw has given these productions a unique and special nuances. As for the cheese Basturs offers great variety in the range of artisanal goat cheeses and products Delicatessen. You can visit the workshop and do tastings and farm products.
In Tòrrec, production of goat milk is varied in fresh products like cottage cheese or recuit and fresh cheeses.
Ecological conditions Montsec therefore are well suited for milk production that allows the development of long-life product so appreciated the cheese.
A sample of their products can be found at the Crafts Fair held annually in early December, in the town of Ager .
This fair hosts artisans producing pates, sausages, honey, cheese, etc.. and is a good opportunity to taste them, but these products can also be found in some of the menus of the restaurants in the region.
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