Parra Manchego (Organic)
Item Number: SP-130
Parra Family Manchego Organic
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.
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