Cabrales is Spain's most famous blue cheese. The name Cabrales is protected in the European Union. The cheese is made in the Cabrales and three other nearby villages in the Penamellera Alta township.
The primary milk is cow milk, but Cabrales is usually made with goat and sheep milk blends. Cabrales made in the winter uses only cow's milk.
Cabrales has a strong flavor, somewhat acidic, and is salty. Cabrales made from mixed milk has a more complex flavor than that made only from cow milk. The texture ranges from creamy to crumbly, depending on the age of the cheese.
Unlike most blue cheeses, such as Roquefort, the mold is not added to the curd or injected artificially. The mold comes naturally from caves where cheese is matured.
Cabrales is matured in caves in limestone mountains near the ocean. Theses caves by law must be facing north, and be of a certain altitude. The relative humidity in these caves is about 90% and the temperature is about 45 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
The cheese is initially placed in molds and then two weeks later moved to the caves to be matured for an additional 2 to 5 months.
Traditionally Cabrales was wrapped in sycamore maple leaves, but now is packaged in dark-green foil.
Cabrales can be mixed with cream and/or cider to create a smooth spread.
Where to buy
In North America, you can find Cabrales at many high-end grocery stores with good cheese counters.
You can also by Cabrales online through latienda.com.