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Parra Manchego (Organic)


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Price: $26.98
Item Number: SP-130

 Parra Family Manchego Organic

 

About two hours southeast of Madrid, down along the A-3 highway, is a dusty town Las Mesas. Las Mesas may soon become a shrine for lovers of all things lactic, because it is there that three brothers make La Oveja Negra (The Black Sheep), the only artisanal, farmstead and Organic Queso Manchego available in the United States.

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            The cheese actually came into the family through Javier, who married a local gal whose family had a small dairy, which was producing cheese for consumption around Las Mesas.  The Parras started knocking on doors and found people who remembered how to make Queso Manchego by hand and assembled a cheese-making team, all of whom happened to be women, in the dairy. Then they went out and bought a herd of sheep.

            What they discovered was that the traditional sheep used in production of Queso Manchego – small black sheep called Manchega Negras – had been phased out in the 1970s in favor of a slightly larger, white variant of Manchega sheep, because the larger white sheep produce more milk. In fact, the little black sheep were on the verge of extinction. The Parras, along with some other local farmers, decided to bring the black variant of the breed back. Today, there is a herd of some 1,500 black sheep on the Between the Paths Estate and these are the animals that are used in the creation of La Oveja Negra cheese.

            Thanks to the richer, creamier milk produced by the black sheep, and the fact that they live almost entirely on the grasses of the farm, Oveja Negra Manchego is denser, moister, creamier, sweeter and more herbaceous than commodity Manchego. It’s Organic, which sets it apart, but more than that it is delicious and may well set a new standard for Manchegos in the U.S.
 
$26.98 / lb - 6# wheel size
 

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