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Torta del Casar

It takes the milk of twenty sheep to make just one wheel of Torta del Casar, so named because of its resemblance to a Spanish torta or cake, and we’re grateful for every last ewe. Using the buds of cardoon thistles, a kind of wild artichokes that grow wild on the rugged terrain of Extremadura, Spain, raw milk from Merino and Entrefina sheep transforms from a rich liquid into a veritable custard of cheese. Undeniably unique--at once floral and gamey, buttery and tangy, with the flavor of briny, lye-cured olives and the aroma of rising bread dough—and difficult to get, Torta del Casar is made by only eight dairies and just 10 percent of its already small production reaches the US. Given its rarity, we like to celebrate its arrival on our cheese boards by carefully trimming away the top rind and scooping out the pudding-esque paste with thick slices of Spanish chorizo and hunks of fresh bread. A flute of fruity cava seems the appropriate celebratory partner.

Just the facts

Country Spain
Milk Type Sheep
Pasteurization Pasteurized
Rennet Type Thistle
Age No
Cheese Type Manchego and Sheepy
Wheel Weight 1 - 1.5 pounds
Pairing Recommendations

Pour a glass of...

  • Farmhouse Ales

    Farmhouse, Saison, Bière de Garde, Lambic, Sour Beer

    Farmhouse ales, instead of being driven by malt or hops, depend on the yeast for their distinctive spicy, floral, and tart flavors. Commonly made by brewers in France and Belgium, farmhouse ales are usually light in color and body and quite effervescent. From time to time, brewers allow wild yeasts to ferment the beer, resulting in a brew that falls somewhere in between pleasantly bright to bracingly sour.
    Pair with: Mushroomy Brie Fermier or funky, bacony Epoisses are matches made in heaven.

  • Riesling

    This food-friendly wine ranges from super sweet to quite dry. Acidity, minerality, and aromas of tropical fruit are almost always present.

    Dry: Characterized by bracing acidity and stark minerality. Tropical fruit on the nose, stunningly balanced flavor overall.
    Pair with: This versatile wine works equally well with a fresh chevre (bringing out acidity) as it does a stinky Alsatian Munster (playing up the sweet/salty contrast).

    Sweet: The other end of the spectrum offers a cloyingly sweet, syrupy wine. Aromas of ripe peaches and tropical fruit dominate, along with floral, perfumed accents.
    Pair with: With something this strong it’s best to contrast the sweetness with something funky or salty: A pungent washed rind like Grayson or a punchy blue like Bleu du Bocage.


  • Chenin Blanc

    Crisp and acidic with light minerality. You may smell stone fruit, apples, pear, quince, even some fresh herbs.

    Pair with: Tangy Loire Valley goat cheese to bring out crisp, mineral qualities in both. Something like Selles-sur-Cher will work perfectly! 

Torta del Casar zoom

Makes a great cheese plate with...