If when you think of Spanish cheese, you think “Manchego… and probably others?” it’s not your fault. A 1960s law mandated that Spanish dairies produce at least 10,000 liters of milk per day, which forced smaller cheesemakers to either close or go underground. Many traditional regional cheeses disappeared. When the law was repealed, in the 1980s, it took time to recover the old recipes and traditions.

Now, thanks to hard work and a cheese guru or two, artisanal Spanish cheese is back and better than ever. Here are six you might not have tried, but will love once you do.

Arzua Ulloa


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This oozy little dreamboat is a traditional Galician cheese made with the milk of Rubia Gallega, Frisian, and Alpine Brown cows that graze along the banks of the Ullou River. Arzua looks and squishes like a golden brie, and tastes like the string cheese from your childhood. Traditionally, marvelously paired with a crisp Albariño.

Available from Murray’s Cheese.

Monte Enebro

Monte Enebro is a Spanish cheese.

Monte Enebro is handmade northwest of Madrid by legendary cheesemaker Rafael Baz and his daughter, Paloma. This pasteurized goat cheese is ripened unusually — using Penicillium Roqueforti, otherwise known as the mold used to make Roquefort. Here, instead of using the mold blue veins, cheesemakers apply it to the outside of the cheese, forging a gray-blue rind. The resulting cheese is cakey, lemony, and mineral-driven, and gets punchier as it ages. Try it with your favorite sparkling wine.

Available from Artisanal Cheese.

Quesuco Ahumado di Liebana

This delightful Cantabrian cheese is made by Juan Carlos Martínez Casares and his wife, Maria Carmen, who learned how to make cheese from nearby monks. In keeping with local tradition, this small cow’s milk wheel is smoked over juniper wood for 36 hours, imparting a subtle woodsiness that is wonderfully reminiscent of a turkey club. It’s lovely with a pilsner.

Available from Murray’s Cheese.

Torta del Casar

Torta del Casar is a Spanish cheese

Torta del Casar is unlike anything you’ve ever tasted, and a real love-hate item. This raw-milk sheep’s milk cheese is made using an old Iberian recipe, substituting a thistle-based tea for the traditional animal-based enzyme that coagulates the milk. This seemingly small change makes the flavors of the cheese incredibly seasonal, ranging from buttery green olives to preserved lemon to an unwashed sheep dipped in apple cider vinegar. Buy a wheel, cut the top rind off, and dip your favorite chorizo or toasted bread into its oozy, umami-filled depths.

Available from the Cheese Store of Beverly Hills.


Ombra is a Spanish cheese

This is the closest cheese on our list to Manchego, but is more like Manchego’s love child with Parm. Ombra is a pasteurized sheep’s milk cheese from Catalunya that is grassy and herbaceous in its youth, then butterscotchy and flecked with crystals with age. Excellent on its own, and mind-blowing with your favorite red or white Rioja.

Available from Formaggio Kitchen.

La Peral

La Peral is a Spanish cheese

Most Spanish blue cheeses are known for their pungent bite. La Peral, on the other hand, is creamy, like a Spanish Gorgonzola. Made with cow’s milk and a bit of sheep’s cream by third-generation cheesemakers Esther Alvarez and her husband, Jose Luis Lopez, La Peral is caramelly and mushroomy with a balanced blue tang. Pair with sherry or your favorite chocolate.

Available from Artisanal Cheese.