Olive Me Blog

Teresa Parker blogs about restaurants, recipes, and the reasons why she's in love with Spain's food and culture.

Better Manchego

Murray's Cheese on Bleecker Street in New York City has found a new Manchego source and wants us stinky cheese lovers to give this cheese another chance. {C}They're trying to rescue Manchego from one of those downward-spirals formerly-artisanal foods can get into: Manchego is, as Murray's calls it, "a gateway cheese," more complex than the supermarket stuff but not too pungent for shy palates; tons of the blandest versions are produced and eaten; that stuff comes to define the genre. Maybe that's all you've tasted. Good Manchego is delicate, but also nutty, and with an identifiable sheeps' milk richness. Hate to admit it, but they've found a great cheese that, unlike their previous version, is made from pasteurized milk -- an unusual event in the cheese-rights-world. The aged version (Murray's has a one year old version) is the one to go for. Murray's Cheese has many other fantastic products from Spain, fig cakes, membrillo, tortas... and sells in the store or online. Murray's Cheese, 254 Bleecker Street, NYC Tel: 212-243-3289 or in the Market in Grand Central Station

Comments

This is a fantastic blog....first time here...so much good stuff to go through!!!

Teresa, your comments are so true.

When I took my US family a Ribera del Dueros (imho much better than most of the oft-found Riojas) they couldn't believe how great it was. The Spanish don't believe you should have to pay a fortune for good quality. Nor do they believe that you should buy only with your eyes.

I met some guys from NYC when I was in San Sebastian - they were going to El Bulli. Afterward, they said it was only so-so, and they paid $200/head WITHOUT WINE !!! We had lobster in the town centre for $40 for 2 of us.Go figure.

I live in Spain, grew up in the US. I find that most of the Spanish products sold in the US are both expensive and of poor quality.

This is outrageous - the Spanish do so love their food, but don't expect to pay huge amounts of money for it. The best acorn-fed ham, of course - but there are sooo many other 'grades' of jamon that are extremely good, and eaten everyday. For example, we purchased a whole jamon for about $60 - not the highest quality 'black hoof' but wonderful sliced thinly on toast, etc.

The same with Manchego - soooo many grades of it, but all good!

PS - try making your own membrillo! It's dead easy and cheap to make!

Ann,
I agree it's still hard to find really good quality Spanish products in the U.S. The whole ham story here is ridiculous (with "pata negra" prepared especially for our market via an FDA approved -- as if that meant anything good -- plant that makes for, perforce, a more mass produced product than bellota should be) and you can practically forget about finding really delicious wines at reasonable prices (though here I think the "Spanish wine should be dirt cheap -- and it's OK if it's kind of bad" mentality is a problem). What's hardest, I think, is that really the best foods in Spain are the simplest and rely so much on great fresh sourcing... after finishing cooking school in Spain, my US friends often asked what my favorite dish was. Answer: sardines, grilled over wood and rosemary, right on the beach. Not replicable here. My hope is that when people go to Spain they'll slow down enough to taste the simpler things, the flavors specific to different locales, not just go for the Michelin starred places found in food magazines. And of course here's hoping the Catalans and Sevillanos and other people attached to their own foods will stay "slow" enough to protect what they've got.

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