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Artequeso’s cheeses are made with milk from sheep bred and raised on the family estate in Tembleque, in the center of the La Mancha area. The Alvarez Valera family have devoted themselves to the company that began with farming, and evolved into the breeding of Manchego Sheep. They began turning their sheep’s milk into artisan Manchego Cheese in the early 1980s.
Their Manchego Curado Twelve Months is a cheese made by artisans with a protected designation of origin. A cured cheese is dry, and not as creamy, as it had been aged for 12 months in cellars. The rind is free of preservatives, and this cheese has a rich texture and a strong flavor.
Artequeso has won numerous awards over the years, including a Gold Medal for ‘Best Artisanal Cured Manchego Cheese’ at the 2013 World Cheese Awards and the Castilla La Mancha Department of Agriculture’s award for ‘Best Artisanal Semi-Cured Manchego Cheese.’
When making a cheeseboard with Manchego as the star, use honey, marmalade, and nuts like almonds, hazelnuts, or walnuts. You can’t go wrong with toasted crusty bread with bowls of sundried tomatoes, figs, and olives on the side.
Cheeses (except brined ones in jars) should be stored in the crisper or the butter drawer of a refrigerator, not on the shelves themselves. This is to help regulate their temperature and humidity levels—and prevents the formation of mold. Once opened, they should not be kept in their original packaging. Soft cheeses with delicate rinds need to breathe, so they are best placed in glass containers lined with paper towels to absorb extra moisture. Leave the lid open a tiny bit for air to circulate and don’t forget to write up a label with the date you first opened the package. Kindly pay attention to the best before date label when you receive your cheese. Consume prior to date indicated.