Sao Jorge DOP Aged 7 months
This firm, raw cow's milk cheese comes to us from stunning São Jorge, a slender island located nine hundred miles off the coast of Portugal. Part of the Azores archipelago, it is situated in the middle of the Atlantic Gulf Stream. The resulting climate is mild and damp with richly fertile volcanic soil and abundant grasses.
Azorean cheesemaking on the island dates back to the fifteenth century, a testament to the presence of Flemish settlers who migrated from the Netherlands, bringing with them both livestock and cheesemaking knowledge. Today, more than five thousand dairy cows call the island home, and the local economy is currently dependent on dairy production. Robust, aged cheeses like the São Jorge became popular as they could be traded to passing ships, easily withstanding the rigors of sea and providing hearty sustenance for hungry crews.
Awarded DOP status in 1996, the milk for São Jorge is collected twice a day from cows grazing freely on the island's rolling pastures. Still warm, the raw milk is immediately transferred to one of the island's three dairies where it is turned into cheese and aged for several months.
With an inedible natural rind, the firm paste of São Jorge is dotted with tiny eyes and gives off a rich, grassy aroma. This version is aged for seven months, transforming from slightly sweet and mild to deliciously tangy, buttery and spicy. Each wheel is made using whey retained from the previous batch, and some say it is these unique cultures that give the cheese its special flavour.
Pair your São Jorge with an aged Port, add it to your homemade fondue, or enjoy in the traditional way with fresh fruit on your next cheeseboard.