The cheese of Montsec
The Cordillera del Montsec, by their nature, welcomes attractions that arouse the interest of both visitors and residents themselves, besides having one of the highest quality night skies and be considered a Starlight Reserve. From the 80s It is one of the principal architects of Catalonia cheese producers. Well, agriculture is the most important activity of these dry mountains near the Pyrenees.
The cheese made known by the toponym of the mountain, cheese Montsec, although it is also called as cheese Cendrat (ash) or Clua.
This is one of the best goat cheeses from the Iberian Peninsula, which can consume and acquire during all seasons. So, no wonder you have obtained seven gold medals in different tastings and competitions nationally and internationally. And are currently exported in the United States and Italy.
Its production, although located in the vicinity of the Montsec, focuses on three specific populations of the province of Lleida, Artesa de Segre , Isona and Conca Dellà and Vilanova de Meià . He went to Artesa de Segre where it all started, but today the three populations are the scene of the creation of this pleasure for the palate, which you can savor watching the beautiful sky Montsec and feel this way, the taste of Mountains and territory in the mouth.
The cheese Montsec
The Montsec cheese is characterized by the semi Family. The basis of this is in the raw, whole goat's milk, which is aged up to two months. During this time the coagulated milk and leads to a soft cheese.
In appearance, it stands for the color of its bark, which is ashen. This appearance, observable to the naked eye, because 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 pervasive and that positions it as a strong cheese.
However, the organoleptic (taste) have favorable aptitudes for different palates, although this cheese has a combination of different tastes balanced manner.
Moreover, highlighting this dairy product properties in general as a source of calcium and phosphorus, as most concentrated nutrients in 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 in the middle of the Montsec, between the Valley of Ariete and Baldomar and left the canyon Clua or Catarena.
This has always been a core with a low population density. In 1718 were 17 people and in 1849 lived 33 neighbors. But in the early 1960s Clua completely depopulated.
However, it took a few years and 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 oriented towards the development of artisanal goat cheese.
This is because young people had no knowledge of agriculture, nor possessed of tools and instruments when they arrived ... and they were very difficult to maintain the crops and livestock planned. Except goats, which were the only animals that died not and neither ate nor eagles weasels, as was, however, with the chickens.
Given the scenario described, they decided to orient the economy based on these animals and raw material offered them to make cheese population.
Currently, Clua remains one of the leading producers of cheese Montsec. In fact, for this reason, also referred to as lactic cheese Clua. On the other hand, retains its establishment of small rural town with a population density of incipient .
The rudimentary and self cheese making by young Clua generated 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 Soft Clua.
The Soft Key, that so 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 aromas of dried fruits and smell reminiscent of a rainforest.
The Montsec and products
The area of production of cheese Montsec is located east of the mountains in Artesa de Segre and Tòrrec, and extends to the Pallars Jussà, specifically in Basturs within the municipality of Isona i Conca Dellà .
The setting of the saw has given these productions a unique and special nuances. As for the cheese Basturs offers a great variety in the range of artisanal goat cheeses and products Delicatessen. You can visit the workshop and the farm and tastings of products.
In Tòrrec, production of goat milk is varied in fresh products such as cottage cheese or recuit and fresh cheeses.
Ecological conditions Montsec therefore very suitable for the production of milk that allows the development of long-life product so appreciated, 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 artisan producers of pates, sausages, honey, cheese, etc. and is a good opportunity to taste them, but these products can also be found in some of the letters of the restaurants in the region.