Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Spanish Cheese & Home Made Sourdough Bread

The interiors of Carrefour I'm sure look very different from country to country and in Spain, you'll see the ubiquitous whole legs of Jamon Iberico and Jamon Serrano hanging by the dozens, vacuum packed whole piglets and rabbits and rows and rows of different types of Spanish cheese. I'm pretty sure the interiors of Carrefour in China look quite different from this.

The cheese we usually buy looks something like this. This one is a Manchego style cheese that comes from the heart of La Mancha. It's a cow's milk cheese that has been aged for over 10 months.

Right now they're giving away a bottle of red wine (which I'll use for cooking) with every half round of cheese you buy from a selection of local cheese and I've been taking ample opportunity of this. This kind of cheese goes for around 11 euros/1 kg and tastes exemplary with a slice of home made sourdough bread.

When living in Asia, it's sometimes difficult to appreciate the pure simplicity of a loaf of good bread and slice of cheese even though the quality of both are improving yearly in places like Tokyo. The cheese still wouldn't be local and would have to be air freighted from places like France and Italy and will be expensive as a result, to say the least.

One thing I do appreciate about living in Spain which is a main supplier of food to many other countries in Europe is the sheer volume of food that's available locally. I have to say that my starter which is fed on whole wheat flour almost exclusively makes a very nice 'country bread' to go with the unsophisticated rustic cheese they have here.


tedders said...

Oh my! I miss that Spanish cheese!

Don't even get me started on the jamon!!

Elra said...

Love Spanish cheese. Pair this with homemade bread sound wonderful.

Lori said...

Oh yum. Maybe a little quince jam or apple jelly to go with it too. I am so jealous of your sour dough. When will I ever get mine underway.

Murasaki Shikibu said...

tedders: But you have better tex-mex where you are!

Elra: Spanish cheese paired with home made bread is really wonderful. :)

Lori: It's getting warmer now so I think it might be easier to make your starter now. Just do it the easy way - feed every 24 hours (instead of 12) and feed it whole wheat flour only. When you feed it just dump roughly 50% of it (or 1 cup of it) and add 1/2 C mineral or filtered water & 1/2 C whole wheat flour. There seem to be lots of more refined tips in making starters but I followed St. John's directions because it was the easiest!

Anonymous said...

I envy you, I could never make homemade sourdough, 難しい胃 ne....

Marta said...

Last time I was in Spain, I treated myself to tons of cheese (and put on 3 kilos while at it!)There's so much to choose from in Spain! You're lucky to have access to so many lovely cheeses, and I'm glad you appreciate them and know how to enjoy them with homemade bread :)
Here in Canada finding good cheese is nearly impossible, because there are so many laws controlling raw milk. Basically we just get processed "fake" cheese, the one that tastes like plastic :(

Murasaki Shikibu said...

Marta: Yes I love living in olive country where you can use extra virgin olive oil like water, buy not very processed green olives and have a wide variety of cheeses to choose from. :)