If during winter time or first days in spring
we go to certain farms in Arrabida zone, we come upon huge clay
pots that stand by the fireplace. According
to local tradition it´s in this containers that the sheep raw
milk is curdle to get a creamy cheese of this region.
It´s told that in the past century only by missing his homeland, Gaspar Henriques
de Paiva, brought to Azeitão a shepherd from the region of Beira
just to make of his flocks´milk a kind of "Serra" cheese,
and hardly he knew he was starting the making of one the most
appreciated sheep cheese on national level. The Azeitão cheese,
as it was called since then has won Several pizes, becoming famous
all around the country.
Noways, a few families still produce them in artisan cheese-dairies.
Setubal, Sesimbra and Palmela are the actual tree
subdivisions of district to usufruct the natural resources os Serra da Arrábida that
makes Azeitão cheese a singular one . Setubal, Sesimbra and Palmela are the
delimited region of this cheese. The abundant pasture and the blessing
of a mild climate don´t explain by themselves the truly peculiar flavour of this cheese
that someone has defined as having "a rather wild riste of sweet
herbs". Only the knowhow and the experience, inheritance of
severel generations of artisan cheese-makers, can garantee the perpetuation
of Azeitão Cheese characteristics, campaign after campaign.
is a cured cheese, of a buttery, semi-soft consistency, white
or light yellow in colour, with few or no holes. Produced
in the subdistricts of Palmela, Sesimbra and Setubal. Established
through use, particularly due to studies dating from the
last century, to its artisanal production and to the existence
of a Regional Association of Breeders of Serra da Arrabida
By slowly draining the curds, after coagulation of the pure, raw
ewe's milk, through the action of a cardoon (Cynara cardunculus,
L.) steep and originating in the region indicated.
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