Spain, Southwest of Madrid
This is the godfather in terms of cheese history. Muslims inhabited this land from the 8th to 11th centuries and dubbed it ‘Manya’ which translates as ‘land without water’. Eventually that became translated to ‘Mancha’ and is the region’s name today (La Mancha). Today the Manchega black sheep graze on the stubbly, dry grasslands of the high plateaus of Toledo, Albacete and Cuenca just south-east of Madrid. Despite the harsh conditions of grazing, the milk must have at least 6% fat. The cheese overall has a 57% fat content resulting in its much-loved intoxicating taste. Savour this cheese with membrillo (quince) jelly and a glass of chilled sherry.