Can You Eat the Rind of Manchego Cheese: Everything You Need to Know

If you’re a cheese lover, or just want to learn about new types of cheese, Manchego is a must-try. But what really is this famous Spanish cheese? Made from sheep’s milk in the La Mancha region of Spain, the nutty and buttery flavor profile of Manchego is something that everyone can appreciate. In this article, we’ll dive into more details about Manchego cheese – how it’s made, whether you should eat the rind or not, and tips on how to best enjoy it.

What is Manchego Cheese?

If you’re a cheese lover, then you must have heard of Manchego cheese. But for those who are new to the world of cheese, let me introduce it to you.

Description of Manchego Cheese

Manchego cheese is a sheep’s milk cheese that originates from Spain. It’s named after the La Mancha region where it’s primarily produced. It has a distinctively nutty flavor and a tangy taste that becomes more pronounced with age. The texture varies depending on how long it’s been aged but typically ranges from firm to crumbly.

History of Manchego Cheese

The history of Manchego cheese goes back hundreds of years in Spain. It was first crafted by Spanish shepherds who used ewe’s milk for the purpose because they didn’t have access to cow’s milk in abundance. Because it was small enough to be carried into the hills and had low-water content, manchego could withstand long periods without refrigeration as well.

Production Process of Manchego Cheese

The production process for manchego cheese starts with sourcing high-quality raw sheep milk which is then filtered and pasteurized, preserving its quality while removing harmful bacteria and keeping nutrition intact.

  • The milk is poured in big containers along with rennet enzyme, so it curdles.
  • Curdling separates the liquid whey from curds; now these solid curds are cut up into smaller pieces using knives or other sharp tools.
  • The broken curds are drained away from excess liquid, salted down and packed into molds ready for pressing – compressing out any remaining moisture ensures they form firm blocks or rounds suitable as cheese shapes.
  • After pressing in molds, the cheese blocks are left to age. Its flavor and texture change as it ages; therefore, a young Manchego maturing for 2-3 months will have a mild and fruity taste, while older Mancegos with aging time ranging from six months up to two years provide a nuttier tase with more pronounced tanginess.

Now that you know the story behind Manchego cheese let your tastebuds enjoy its deliciousness!

Can You Eat the Rind of Manchego Cheese?

Manchego is a Spanish cheese made from sheep’s milk, and it is loved by many for its unique taste and texture. One question that often comes up is whether it’s safe and enjoyable to eat the rind. In this section, we’ll take a closer look at the rind of manchego cheese.

Overview of the Rind

The rind on manchego cheese forms during the aging process. Traditionally, manchego cheese was wrapped in sheets made from esparto grass, which would create a natural mold as it dried out over time. These days, most manchego cheeses are sealed in plastic while they age to prevent contamination from other bacteria or molds that might contribute off flavors to the finished product.

Texture and Taste of the Rind

The texture of manchego rinds can vary depending on how they were aged. If you’re lucky enough to get your hands on an older piece with an esparto grass rind, you can expect it to be relatively dry and brittle with visible patterns formed by the grass itself. This type of rind adds a distinct earthiness to your cheese board’s flavor profile.

In contrast, modern plastic-sealed varieties have semi-hard white or yellowish coating with little-to-no visual elements; however as some experts notice there might still be some microbial activity under hydrogen-peroxide treatment used post-cheese-making resulting in “flavors” attributed to specific microbiota within that non-visually-interesting surface area

Safety of Eating the Rind

If you bought your Manchego from a respected merchant or maker who uses pure cultures (i. e., no preservatives like nitrates or other additives agents such as coal tar), the rind should be safe to eat from a bacteria/mold perspective. Of course, one should always assess their own risk tolerances and perhaps avoid it altogether if there’s any question around the cheese-making process or past handling instances.

Benefits of Eating the Rind

If you set aside any lingering bacterial concerns surrounding cheese rinds, there are some real benefits to eating them (especially in older and higher-quality aged cheeses). Like with most edibles, mineral micronutrient content varies by aging: Aged manchego is particularly high in calcium alongside others essential minerals for bone health like phosporus and zinc. These minerals are often found in higher concentrations within the rind than other parts of the cheese.

  • The rind can add depth and complexity to your overall experience, a nuttiness offering to combine with more creamy/flow-y ivory textures of inner cheesy part
  • Furthermore, it’s generally considered more eco-wise not to discard certain food parts unnecessarily unless reasons dictate so ie personal allergies, diminished taste profile etc; consuming meals “zero-waste” has positive environmental effects both when considering natural resources consumption + post-food waste disposal methods

How to Eat Manchego Cheese

Manchego cheese is a delicious and versatile Spanish cheese that has been enjoyed for centuries. Here are some suggestions for pairing, recipes, and serving tips:

Pairing Suggestions with Manchego Cheese

  • Fruit: Manchego pairs particularly well with fruit such as apples, pears, grapes, and figs.
  • Nuts: Nuts like almonds or walnuts can be a great accompaniment to this cheese.
  • Wine: Pairing this cheese with red wine like Rioja or Tempranillo works well. Alternatively, pair it with white wine like Albariño.

Recipes using Manchego Cheese

  • Manchego Grilled Cheese Sandwich: Take two slices of bread, spread olive oil on one side of each slice. Add sliced manchego cheese between the two slices and cook in a pan on medium heat until crispy golden brown.
  • Cheesy Garlic Bread: Mix grated manchego cheese with garlic butter and spread evenly over sliced baguette. Broil in the oven until golden brown.
  • Potato Gratin: Layer thinly sliced potatoes into a casserole dish. Pour heavy cream over the top and sprinkle grated manchego over it before baking at 350 degrees F for about an hour.

Serving Tips for Manchego Cheese

  • Serve it at room temperature to bring out its full flavor.
  • Slice or grate your Manchego just before serving or it will dry out.
  • Consider a Manchego cheeseboard as an appetizer at your next event with other Spanish cured meats or olives.

By following these suggestions for pairing, recipes, and serving, you can enjoy the full flavor of this wonderful Spanish cheese!


In conclusion, if you haven’t yet tried Manchego cheese, it’s time to give it a shot! From its rich history to unique flavor profile and versatile uses in cooking and snacking alike, there are plenty of reasons why people rave about this delicious Spanish cheese.


Is Manchego cheese similar to other types of Spanish cheeses?

While there are certainly some similarities between different types of Spanish cheeses due to common production methods or regional influences, each type has distinctive properties.

Can I pair Manchego with wine?

Absolutely! Due to its salty and tangy taste nuances one can pair with White like Sauvignon Blanc or Red like Tempranillo.

Can lactose intolerant individuals consume manchego?

Since manchego is made from sheep’s-milk; Many people who are lactose intolerant find they tolerate sheep’s milk cheeses better than cow’s-milk varieties.

How long does an aged manchego last?

If stored properly in the fridge at appropriate temperature (not too cold) ,Manachgo can be good for a month while being unopened however once opened make sure that Cheese wrapping remains tightly sealed & avoid exposure air by placing tin foil over surface.

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