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Manchego

Pronunciation: [mahn-CHAY-goh]

Spain's most famous cheese, so named because it originally was made only from the milk of Manchego sheep that grazed the famous plains of La Mancha. It's sometimes called the cheese of Don Quixote because Cervantes mentioned it in his novel, Don Quixote of La Mancha. Manchego, also know as Queso Manchego, is a rich, golden, semihard to hard cheese that has a full, buttery flavor that's still somewhat piquant. The two versions that are most commonly exported are curado, aged between 3 and 4 months, and viejo, aged 9 to 12 months. Another variation, Manchego en aceite ("in oil"), has been ripened for 1 year, during which time it's bathed in olive oil. See also cheese.