Just a bit of history
The Canary Islands is a land of cheese. In 1341, the excellent quality of our cheese was already mentioned in the Boccaccio manuscript, an ancient historical proof about the very first settlers of the Canary Islands. Later, during the XVII and XVIII centuries, Canary cheese was exported to Europe with the wine we made here. Today we produce cheese on every single island and have 5 Protected Designation of Origin cheeses: Queso Majorero, of the island of Fuerteventura; Queso Palmero, of the island of La Palma, and Quesos Flor de Guía, de Quesos Media Flor and Quesos de Guía of the Northeast of Gran Canaria.
Canary cheese is well known by all canarians, specially these ones:
- Queso Fresco de Valsequillo: fresh cheese.
- Queso Ahumado de La Palma: smoked cheese.
- Queso Ahumado de El Hierro: half-creamy smoked cheese also known as queso herreño.
- Queso Majorero al Pimentón: semi-hard or hard cheese from Fuerteventura with paprika cover.
- Queso Duro al Gofio: hard or cured cheese with gofio cover.
- Queso de Flor de Guía: semi-hard cheese from vegetable curdling.
What makes special the Canary cheese is the geographical variety, the unique genetic of our goats and what and how the livestock feed.
In the Canary Islands, cheese is made in a quesería (cheese-maker), a family business traditionally connected to livestock farming where goats are the most common animals. However, cheese made only from cow or sheep milk is rare. We use to make cheese from a combination of goat, cow and sheep milk.
Cheese: which and when
The Canary fresh cheese is a perfect starter, but you can also have it for breakfast with a slice of dulce de guayaba (guava paste) on it. Yummy! You can easly find queso fresco in any supermarket, for example: Queso Fresco de Valsequillo, Queso Fresco de San Mateo or Queso Fresco Lomo Gallego.
For lunch or dinner or as an enyesque (canary word for tapa) you can taste a queso semi-duro (semi-hard), a queso duro (hard-cheese) or a queso ahumado (smoked cheese). The queso ahumado is often fried and served with marmelade or mojo verde. These cheeses can be also easly found in any supermarket: Quesos Maxorata (semi-ard, hard cheese from Fuerteventura), Quesos El Pastor Isleño (cured cheese), Quesos El Herreño (smoked cheese from El Hierro),