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 Suau de Clua

Catala CheesemongerWelcome back to the Monday Cheese series. Honestly, with my posting history it should probably be called the Monthly Cheese series.

On a trip to Barcelona I visited La Seu Formatgeria, a cheesemonger specializing in Spanish farmhouse cheese. I was hoping to find Cabrales, a blue cheese famed for its spiciness. They didn't have any, so I bought several other varieties instead.

The next day I ran across a small outdoor market where a farmer was selling a goat cheese from Formatge del Montsec called Suau de Clua. He had two types, a young and an aged. Having already bought a fair amount of cheese and limited luggage space, I opted for for just one young cheese. Usually I like to speak with the cheesemonger and learn a bit about them and their cheese. Unfortunately, my knowledge of Spanish and the Catala language is limited to just a few phrases, so the conversation was rather short.

I brought the cheese back home where it sat in the fridge for several days. I really didn't expect much. After all, I had purchased several other cheeses at La Seu Formatgeria and I really wanted to try them first.

The cheese has a fascinating history. High in the hills of the La Serra del Montsec mountain range lies the tiny village of Clua de MeiÓ. After being abandoned for many years, it was re-inhabited by a small group of people in the 1970's. There they became self sufficient, living off the land and away from the big cities. In America they would be called hippies. Over time, buildings were renovated, a good water supply was installed, and electricity and telephone services were added.

After some trial and error with raising livestock, rabbits, chickens, and pigs, it was the goat that could survive the rugged terrain of the mountains. With the goat's milk they made cheese, and a delicious one at that. It's off white, creamy, and fairly mild. If I had realized how delicious this cheese was, I would have bought more of it as well as the aged version, leaving the other cheeses in Barcelona. Yes, it's that good.

Precious little information is available on the th
e net, and none of it in English. I found this video (http://www.tv3.cat/videos/236508607) which has an interview with the very same person selling the cheese at the market. If anyone knows Catala, please contact me. I'd love to learn what he says!

posted by KRASK  January 28, 2010 13:01  Monday Cheese  comments (2)

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