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Portuguese Serra da Estrela cheese

A Taste of Portugal

Discover the story behind the exquisite Serra da Estrela cheese, a quintessentially Portuguese delicacy.

When visiting Serra da Estrela, sampling the renowned cheese is a must. This culinary gem, boasting Protected Designation of Origin, originates from local sheep and is crafted using time-honored traditions.

Serra da Estrela Cheese

Queijo da Serra da Estrela, made by the hands of mountain villages hundreds of years ago, is today one of the most famous and most appreciated cheeses in the world. As an artisanal tradition, references to this type of cheese date back to Roman times, and the process of making it was first described in what is now considered the first Treatise on Agriculture*.

Cheese making process

Made predominantly by hand from the milk of Bordaleira and Churra Mondegueira sheep, Queijo da Serra embodies the wisdom of its mountain cheesemakers. Beyond its gastronomic allure, this cheese stands as a cultural emblem of the Beira Interior region.

When asked about the most typical product of their land, any local will undoubtedly mention Queijo da Serra and its derivatives like whey and cottage cheese. This heritage product spans the municipalities of Celorico da Beira, Fornos de Algodres, Guarda, Gouveia, Seia, Oliveira do Hospital, Manteigas, Carregal do Sal, Nelas, Mangualde, Penalva do Castelo, and some parishes in Tábua, Arganil, Viseu, and Trancoso.

Economic Importance

For centuries, Queijo da Serra served as the main source of income for these lands. This cheese held the greatest economic importance for the families who produced it. Even before official exports through major brands, emigrants spread this product globally, either for personal consumption or resale to friends and acquaintances.

Cheese greatly contributed to the region’s economy. Until recently, weekly and fortnightly markets in all the mentioned towns focused on buying and selling Queijo da Serra. Customers from distant parts of the country came to purchase this product. These transactions boosted the regional and family economies, as people also bought other regional products.

Historical Significance and Modern Tourism

Today, Queijo da Serra is crucial for regional development. The high demand for this cheese exceeds its supply. Recognized as a traditional and cultural heritage, Queijo da Serra, combined with tourism and other regional products, offers a unique form of sustainability for the region and its inhabitants.

Over the centuries, several Portuguese kings have recognized the richness of this artisanal product by offering it to distinguished guests. This tradition highlights its significance in our gastronomic heritage. The vast and verdant slopes of Serra da Estrela provide the perfect conditions for producing this cherished Portuguese tradition. Don’t miss out, contact us to create your Tailor Made Tour to Serra da Estrela!

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