The region of La Mancha in Spain has two beloved exports: Don Quixote and this hard cheese.
A classic sheep's milk style, Manchego is sweet and fairly mild. But in cheese as in noblemen, aging can make you a bit nutty.
In the case of Manchego, ripening brings out some rather interesting, though never overpowering, tastes and aromas. Nuts, for sure, but also a hint of butterscotch.
In any event, it’s not so assertive, which makes it a great partner for a wide array of foods and drinks. (It’s a staple on tapas menus.)
PAIRINGS: In Spain, where it is by far the most widely sold type of cheese, Manchego is often served on its own as appetizer, or perhaps cured in olive oil with garlic, lemon, or fennel. In the classic presentation, it’s cut into little wedges and served up as finger food, accompanied by a crisp sparkling wine (cava) or a well-made sherry.