Thursday, November 12, 2009

Spotlight - São Jorge Cheese

There are so many foods available here that I either use regularly or have tried out and loved. I want to take some time every once in a while and "spotlight" one; tell a little more about it and what recipes it can be used for.

I'll start off with Queijo São Jorge, from the (kind-of-nearby) island of São Jorge. This cheese is famous here. Here is some info. Depending on the length of time it has been cured, the firmness varies, but we usually get it when it's quite firm, almost like a block of parmesan. The flavor is spicy and sharp. We had it out as an appetizer last year at our Thanksgiving table. We've put it on pizza, and we've had it in these cheese rolls. (Quite fitting, since the Azores are volcanic islands). It is my 5-year old's favorite kind of cheese, hands down. His classroom is peanut and nut free, so every time he takes a lunch from home, he has a São Jorge Cheese Sandwich. He likes it on a soft little roll, with butter. At the little cafes around here, a popular item is a few slices of Sao Jorge on a buttered mini baguette, for around $1.50.

The cheese of the Azores is said to be better than other cheeses, since the well-cared for cows are often able to graze on sea-side green pasture. Cows get the prime real estate here. (I went through all my pics, looking for a pic of sea-side cows, but wierdly enough, couldn't find any. I did find a pic of cows on a hill, with a beautiful view. I already blogged about that, here.) Also, the cows are not kept in feed lots, but allowed to graze on rich, green, sweet grass. To milk them, the farmers bring in portable milking machines, right to the fields. When all of the grass in a certain pasture is eaten, the cows are moved to another pasture, and they often move them using the main roadways. It's common to be driving and get stuck behind a "cow parade" here.

Interestingly enough, São Jorge cheese is too strong for my husband- he's not a lover of strong cheeses like I am. :)

In the future, I'll include more recipes using this delicious cheese.  I found a kind of "copy-cat" cheese in the US, called St. George cheese, made by an Azorean couple living in the US.  St. George Cheese

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LadyJayPee said...

That cheese sounds mouth-wateringly delicious, Dishy. All cows should live so well! Thanks for the info.

Linda said...

What a wonderful post--I love reading about the beautiful life on your island and the local foods. That cheese looks fantastic!