For those visiting Menorca to enjoy the Balearic Islands' renowned climate and relaxed Mediterranean ambience, its capital, Mahón, is one of the most important places of interest. Alongside its stunning natural harbour (which holds the title of one of the largest in the world) and beautiful beach, the historic 'old town' centre has a wealth of history and culture to explore on a leisurely day trip. |
A Famous Export
As well as the more obvious delights on display around the city, there's another very important iconic aspect that everyone visiting Menorca should seek out and enjoy: the world famous Mahón cheese! Rich and buttery in texture, and with a unique flavour (which is claimed to be impossible to replicate), it is a firm favourite throughout Spain and, alongside gin, one of Menorca's most important exports. It has won many international awards and has been bestowed with the coveted Denominación de Origen, denoting the high quality, region-specific food and wine of Spain.
Cheese for a Discerning Palate
Mahón artisan cheese is made from the local island cows' milk, whose diet is attributed to the creation of its wonderful flavour. Its colour can range from white to yellow and the final texture depends on how long the aging process is allowed to progress – so consequently there are both soft and hard varieties. (The term 'Riserva' is retained for those that has been allowed to age for over a year.) It is produced in large 'wheels' but you won't be expected to purchase an entire one – although after one taste you may want to!
Versatile and Flavoursome
Due to the diversity in texture and flavour achieved via the aging process, Mahón cheese has found a huge variety of uses in Spanish cuisine.
The younger version is, naturally, a milder flavour and a more dense consistency, which is excellent for recipes that call for melted cheese – especially potato and rice dishes.
The mature version achieves a fantastic sharp, nutty flavour and a delightfully crumbly texture that is one of the hallmarks of the aging process. Aged Mahón is often used as topping for the Spanish version of bruschetta or sprinkled liberally over pasta.
It is so delicious that not a scrap is left to go to waste, and even the rind is considered a delicacy. Rubbed with paprika or olive oil it takes on a spicy, nutty flavour and a striking yellow appearance.
Take a Piece of Menorca Home
If you want to recreate the feeling of your holiday at home, you can't beat the ability of food to transport you. Stock up on a selection of the amazing Mahón cheeses to take back with you and, accompanied by a long, cool glass of Menorcan gin, a platter of Mahón con Membrillo – a simple tapas using the local cheese, sherry, olive oil and Spanish quince paste (that's the Membrillo!) - will make you feel like you're back visiting Menorca all over again…
Brenda Jaaback is the Managing Director of Bartle Holidays. They can provide you with a wide selection of great villas for a holiday visiting Menorca. Bartle Holidays makes no warranty as to the accuracy of information contained in this article and excludes any liability of any kind for the information.
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