quinta da lagoa cheese
«A clean milk from a healthy herd will always make great cheese». This is what the wise shepherds of Serra da Estrela have said since ancient times, and this has always been the case at Quinta da Lagoa.
herd and own production
At Quinta da Lagoa, owned by Casa Portuguesa do Pastel de Bacalhau, in the heart of Serra da Estrela, 700 Bordaleira sheep live happily amid peaceful, green and succulent pasture, in an immense space where the lagoon that gives its name to the Quinta takes on a primary role. A whim of nature that provides the ideal conditions for the production of Cheese with Protected Designation of Origin (PDO), crafted by the wise hands of cheese-makers who transform milk into a 100% natural cheese, with a very soft, clean and slightly acidic bouquet.
Mastering the value chain – management of own herd, milk production, cheese production and the venues that make up Casa Portuguesa do Pastel de Bacalhau, which offer the experience of combining two traditional flavours in one unique specialty – guarantees synergies and allows the process to be controlled, ensuring that no concessions are made to the cost of production, because relevance is all about respect for origins and respect for the consumer. This guarantees the authenticity and purity of quality.
origen and autenticity
Through its valleys, streams, mountains, and plateaus, Serra da Estrela brings us one of the country’s most prodigious gastronomical icons.
The mountain range known as Serra da Estrela, draped alternately in carpets of spring flowers and wintry coats of snow, holds Portugal’s glacier valleys and key water basins. For over one thousand years, long before Portugal existed as a nation, this has been the perfect setting for the creation of one of Portugal’s most prodigious gastronomical icons: Serra da Estrela DOP Cheese, produced by Quinta da Lagoa.
The virtuous combination of Man’s ancestral wisdom with Nature, with Bordaleira sheep wisely herded by shepherds in search of the region’s freshest pastures, gives rise to the legitimacy of the certificate that enables you to choose genuine Serra da Estrela DOP Cheese – Protected Designation of Origin. That wisdom bears the art of transforming, like nobody else can, sheep’s milk into cheese, adding only thistle blossoms and salt. And, at Quinta da Lagoa, there is one other essential ingredient: Soul.
Serra da Estrela DOP Cheese
It is recognized today as one of the world’s most extraordinary cheeses but has a long history. In fact, it is Portugal’s oldest type of cheese and is mentioned numerous times in the works of the 16th century playwright Gil Vicente. It was 1287 when King Dinis of Portugal created the first cheese factory in Serra da Estrela in recognition of the natural resources and unique conditions found in the region. By that time, Serra da Estrela cheese was already a tasty, nutritious food source that boasted an excellent durability. Thus, it was always taken on journeys by shepherds and the great explorers of the day.
Serra da Estrela DOP Cheese was named one of the 7 Wonders of Gastronomy in Portugal in 2011, and the version produced by Quinta da Lagoa was awarded a Silver Medal at the “Italian Olympics”.
Following the calm of the Estrela mountain slopes and the vast pastures, there is the daily routine of local shepherds milking the bordaleira sheep. The milk is then taken to the cheese factories and strained using a slow, manual process that separates the curds from the whey. Pressed together by the skilled hands of women who have long been doing this, the curds are then matured for between 30 and 40 days. During this time, the cheeses are washed and turned each day until they are ready to be eaten. The DOP/PDO mark, proudly displayed by Casa Portuguesa do Pastel de Bacalhau in the form of a diploma certifying honorary membership of Estrelacoop after a partnership that started in 2014, confirms the authenticity of the cheese: creamy texture, soft to cut, and a unique taste arising from this passionate work.