Queso Zamorano PDO

Pressed cheese made from the milk of ewes of the Churra and Castellana breeds, and ripened for a minimum of 100 days.

Tasting notes

Characteristic, intense, well-developed aroma and flavor. The aroma is reminiscent of the ewes’ milk the cheese is made from. Persistent in the mouth, with the main flavors being sharpness and saltiness, plus a touch of piquancy. The texture is firm and compact.

Other notes

Wheel-shaped, with a herringbone pattern imprinted on the top and bottom and a zigzag pattern on the sides. Maximum height 14 cm (5½”), maximum diameter 24 cm (9½”) and maximum weight 4 kg (8 lb 13 oz).

The rind is hard, well-defined and pale yellow to dark grey. The paste varies from white to yellowish ivory, and is dotted with small eyes.

The physical and chemical properties are as follows:

- Fat over dry matter: 45%
- Minimum protein: 25%
- Minimum dry matter: 55%
- pH: 5.1 to 5.8

Production / Processing method

The milk must be whole and clean and must contain no colostrum, contaminants, preservatives, antibiotics or any other product that might affect production, ripening or storage.First the milk is soured using rennet. This process requires a temperature of 28-32ºC (82-89ºF) and takes 30-45 minutes.

The resulting curds are then cut until they form grains measuring 5-10 mm (1/5–2/5”). The mixture is then heated gradually to a maximum of 40ºC (104ºF), and the curds are molded and pressed, forming the characteristic wheel shape. Salting can be done using dry salt or by submerging the cheeses in brine for a maximum of 36 hours.

The cheeses are then left to ripen for no less than 100 days, starting from the date of molding, during which period they are turned and cleaned as necessary. The PDO cheeses are identified with a numbered seal, an identifying label and a ‘casein’ label.

Geography / Relief and climate

The province of Zamora in the north of the Iberian sub-meseta is full of contrasts.  In the south-east part, the broad landscape is crossed by gently-sloping valleys formed by the huge network of streams flowing into the Duero river. The north offers a succession of valleys and moorland, whereas the south-west has irregular relief with steep slopes but no mountains.

There are three types of soil. Firstly, brown-limey soils on unconsolidated material that drains well, may be subject to erosion and has strong textures caused by the presence of clay. Secondly, brown soils on stony allochthonous deposits which are poor in organic content but well-aired and drained and rich in calcium. Finally, there are acid brown soils on igneous rocks, with every possible texture ranging from thick sandy to silty or sandy-clay, and rich in potassium.

The province of Zamora has a continental climate with extreme temperatures, a long period of frosts, which are constant in winter and sometimes continue into spring, and hot, dry, cloudless summers.
Rainfall is scarce, most of it in autumn, with an annual average of 300-500 mm (12-20”).

Most of the rivers are part of the Duero river basin. There is only a small area in which the rivers flow into the Bibey in the Miño basin.
Natural pasturelands occupy 20,116 ha (49,707 acres), almost 2% of the province. Of these, 316 ha (781 acres) are woodland. The vegetation on pasturelands is mostly Gramineae.

There are few areas which are not used for sheep grazing. On cultivated farmland, the stubble left after harvests is used as feed, as are the straw and remains of cereal and legume crops which have a high protein content

Infographics Queso Zamorano

Regulatory Council

Consejo Regulador de la DOP Queso Zamorano
Rúa de los Francos, 18
49001 Zamora
Castilla y León
Tel: (+34) 980 530 511

Spanish Ministry of Agriculture

Regulatory Council, Queso Zamorano PDO

Zamora (Castile-Leon)

Zamora (Castile-Leon)