A blue cheese made in the mountain range, Picos de Europa by a company called La Caseria. It is a bold and spicy blue made from seasonally blended milk of goats and cows that graze the Picos de Europa Mountains in Castilla y Leon. It is aged in caves with at 85% humidity. It is less intense than its cousin Cabrales because the Valdeon caves are a little drier.
It has aromas of damp earth, tobacco and vanilla when the wheel is first opened. It has dense green-grey veining and a balance of salt and spice and if your palate is good you may even pick up a hint of chocolate and coffee beans. It is creamy but also a little gritty and definitely not for wimps. Valdeon makes a pretty package with its powdery white rind peeking out behind a protective layer of sycamore.
It’s a hearty blue that is less sharp than others, is dense and sweet with a feel of velvet on the tongue that loves fresh fruit and strong red wine like Beaujolais and Muscats or a sweet sherry. It is delicious with smoked and cured meats and to die for melted on top of a hanger steak. You can tone down the pungency by drizzling it with honey or a little melted butter and for these reasons it is great as a desert cheese.
Cheese Type: Blue
Milk Type: cow and sheep
Age: 3 months
Region: Castilla y Leon
Lentil salad with Valdeon Blue Cheese
One bag of Lentils
3 cloves of garlic
1 Bay Leaf
Red and Green Bell pepper chopped
In a large pot of water, bring lentils, onion (leave in large chunks), garlic, bay leaf, and a small amount of olive oil to a boil. Meanwhile, dice the peppers and tomatoes and chill.
Cook the lentils until tender. Strain lentils, removing aromatics, but reserving cooking liquid. Add the lentils to the pepper and tomato, continue to chill. Reduce the reserved flavorful liquid by about ½.
Once the lentils are cool, dress with vinegar, shallots and oil. Garnish with chives and cheese.