from our farm
«A clean milk from a healthy herd will always make great cheese». That is what has been said, since ancient times, by those who really know: the shepherds of Serra da Estrela Mountain.
At Quinta da Lagoa, owned by Casa Portuguesa do Pastel de Bacalhau, in the heart of Serra da Estrela Mountain, 700 Bordaleira sheep live happily amid peaceful, green, and succulent pasture, in an immense space where the lagoon that gives its name to the Farm takes on a primary role.
A whim of nature that provides the ideal conditions for the producing the milk that gives rise to the famous Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) cheese, unique in the world.
origin and autenticity
Through its valleys, streams, mountains, and plateaus, Serra da Estrela Mountain 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: PDO Serra da Estrela cheese.
The virtuous combination of shepherds and Nature originated the certification that allows the genuine Serra da Estrela cheese to be designated as a PDO – Protected Designation of Origin. It is this wisdom that carries the art of transforming sheep’s milk into cheese, like no other, adding only thistle flower and salt. And another fundamental ingredient: Soul.
pdo serra da estrela cheese
Named one of the 7 Wonders of Gastronomy of Portugal in 2011, it is now widely recognized as one of the most extraordinary cheeses in the world, but it already has a long history. It is, in fact, the oldest of all Portuguese cheeses, with several mentions in the works of the 16th century playwright Gil Vicente, such as in the Pastoral Tragicomedy of Serra da Estrela Mountain, a play presented in the summer of 1527 to the court of King João III. In 1287, King Dom Dinis created the first cheese factory in Serra da Estrela Mountain in recognition of the natural resources and unique properties of the region’s conditions. Already at that time Serra da Estrela cheese represented a tasty and nutritious food source and, at the same time, ensured excellent durability, which is why it was a regular feature on the journeys of shepherds and explorers of that era.
Following the calm of the Serra da 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 PDO certification mark, which the Casa Portuguesa do Pastel de Bacalhau proudly displays in the form of an honorary member diploma from Estrelacoop, after a partnership that started in 2014, confirms the authenticity of the cheese, which has a creamy texture and is 100% natural, with a very soft, clean, and slightly acidic bouquet.