Discovering Queijo de Manteiga cheese from Brazil

Exploring the Luxurious Creaminess of Queijo de Manteiga

Originating from the verdant landscape of Alagoas, a northeastern state of Brazil, Queijo de Manteiga, also known as Butter Cheese, holds a special place in the connoisseur’s cheese atlas. The first hint of its uniqueness lies in its name, which directly translates to ‘Butter Cheese’ in Portuguese. This indulgent dairy delight, whose name aptly hints at its butter-like texture, encapsulates the rich Brazilian cheese-making tradition within its sunken, barely-solid curds.

An amalgamation of fresh cow’s milk, salt, and rennet, Queijo de Manteiga showcases unparalleled creaminess and complexity that distinguishes it from its cheese kin. The production process starts with the curdling of the milk. Unlike most cheeses, where the whey is drained off, in Queijo de Manteiga this liquid gold is preserved, giving the cheese its distinctive, soft, nearly liquefied texture. The curd mass is then doused with hot water and kneaded until it obtains a velvety-smooth consistency reminiscent of melted butter. The resulting cheese is allowed to rest and mature for a few hours to a few days, over which it develops a mild, gentle flavor that nonetheless packs a luscious dairy punch.

The gastronomic attributes of Queijo de Manteiga extend beyond its mere taste and texture. As versatile as it is delicious, this cheese can be savored in a number of ways:

  • Savor it slathered on warm bread, where it melts to a luscious spread.
  • Enjoy it dolloped atop traditional Brazilian dishes for a luxurious finish.
  • Appreciate its pure, unadulterated taste on a cheese platter, paired with a chilled white wine.
  • Leaning into its lusciousness, use it as a filling in pastries or a topping over pancakes.

The sensation of tasting Queijo de Manteiga unfolds as a journey marked by an evocative cascade of butter-soft texture, gentle tang, and rich creaminess. This cheese is not merely an epicurean delight but a testament to the cheesemaking versatility that keeps the global gourmand intrigued and satisfied.

Queijo de Manteiga - A Taste of Brazil: Test your knowledge

Welcome to our quiz on the unique Queijo de Manteiga cheese from Brazil! Explore the tradition, the technique, and the taste that goes into making this culinary delight. Are you ready to test your knowledge and learn something intriguing about this exquisite cheese? Let's get started!

The Unique Charm of Queijo de Manteiga: Dive into its Ingredients, Properties, and Varieties

Drawing its origins from the verdant pastures of Portugal, Queijo de Manteiga, often dubbed “Butter Cheese”, exhibits an opulence that’s cultivated through time-honored techniques, defining ingredients, and distinct properties. Queijo de Manteiga forms its identity within the creamy interludes of its flavor profile, attesting to its rich and buttery nature. Quite literally, this decadent cheese is a cross between butter and cheese, offering an unmatched gastronomical experience that lingers on the palate, blending the luscious texture of butter with the tasteful sophistication of traditional Portuguese cheese.

The inception of Queijo de Manteiga is owed to raw cow’s milk, rennet, and salt. The cheese’s signature soft, spreadable texture is achieved through the process of heating and stirring the curd until it achieves the consistency of custard, after which, it’s left to drain. Packed into cloth bags, this cheese is then submitted to a curing manipulation that involves being hung and pressed to let the whey drip out. After this phase, it’s moulded akin to butter, revealing an undeniably velvety, glossy, and pale yellow beauty that’s ready to be savored.

Queijo de Manteiga broadly falls into two primary categories: the Mountain Butter Cheese (Queijo de Manteiga da Serra) and Queijo de Manteiga do Rabaçal. The former variety is indigenous to the Serra da Estrela region, boasting a slightly sweet, creamy texture and a raw aromatic complexity that’s simply irresistible. The latter, originating from the Rabaçal region, exhibits a more firm texture while maintaining the classic buttery creaminess. It possesses a uniquely delectable depth of flavor that balances perfectly between sweet and salty.

  • Queijo de Manteiga da Serra: Soft, slightly sweet, with an aromatic complexity. Origin: Serra da Estrela region.
  • Queijo de Manteiga do Rabaçal: Firm, buttery texture, hinting at a perfect balance of sweet and salty nuances. Origin: Rabaçal region.

With a palette as rich and diverse as its landscape, Queijo de Manteiga promises an enchanting foray into the universe of artisanal Portuguese cheeses. Its uniqueness lies not only in its unusual consistency or buttery flavor but also its artisanal creation process that hinges on tradition and meticulous craftsmanship.

Discovering the Tradition of Queijo de Manteiga: A Buttery Delight from Portugal

Portugal, a country known for its rich gastronomic heritage, offers a wide array of delectable traditional cheeses. Among them, Queijo de Manteiga stands out as a true delight for cheese connoisseurs. This exquisite cheese, which translates to “butter cheese,” comes from the beautiful region of Azeitão, located in the Setúbal Peninsula.

Queijo de Manteiga is a soft-ripened, unpasteurized cheese made from sheep’s milk, carefully crafted by local artisans following time-honored methods. The region’s mild and maritime climate, with refreshing oceanic breezes, enhances the rich flavors of the cheese and contributes to its distinctive character.

Produced since the 19th century, Queijo de Manteiga combines the best of two worlds: the creaminess and richness of butter and the unique flavors and textures of artisanal cheese. As a result, it boasts a velvety smooth and buttery interior, surrounded by a delicate bloomy rind that adds a touch of earthiness.

When it comes to taste, the Queijo de Manteiga offers a harmonious balance of flavors. Its creamy center delivers a luscious and mild taste with subtle sheep’s milk undertones, while the rind adds a slightly tangy and mushroom-like complexity. This cheese is often enjoyed alongside traditional Portuguese bread or paired with local wines, such as Setúbal Moscatel or Bairrada reds.

Key Features of Queijo de Manteiga:

  • Origin: Azeitão, Setúbal Peninsula, Portugal.
  • Type: Soft-ripened, unpasteurized cheese.
  • Primary ingredient: Sheep’s milk.
  • Flavor profile: Creamy and mild with subtle sheep’s milk undertones, along with a slight tanginess and earthy notes from the bloomy rind.
  • Pairings: Traditional Portuguese bread, Setúbal Moscatel, Bairrada red wines.

Facts and figures

  • With over 5,000 artisanal cheese producers, Brazil is a powerhouse in the world of dairy products.
  • In terms of per capita consumption, Brazilians consume an average of 3.6 kg of cheese annually.
  • The state of Minas Gerais is well-known in Brazil for its diverse and high-quality cheese.
  • Queijo de Manteiga has its origin in the North of Brazil, particularly in the state of Paraíba.
  • One key ingredient in the making of Queijo de Manteiga is traditionally "coalho," or rennet, an enzyme that curdles milk.
  • Known for its buttery texture and creamy taste, Queijo de Manteiga translates to "Butter Cheese."

A Culinary Journey: Masterful Dishes with Queijo de Manteiga

Queijo de Manteiga, a traditional Portuguese cheese crafted in the Alto Alentejo region, is a delight within itself. Known for its butter-like consistency and mildly sour, yet rich flavour, it marks an incredible blend with several ingredients, thereby producing notably distinct and scrumptious dishes. Let’s delve into two magnificent recipes that sing praise to Queijo de Manteiga’s unique notes.

Queijo de Manteiga Grilled Cheese Sandwich

  • 2 slices of whole grain bread
  • 2-3 slices of Queijo de Manteiga
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • Instructions:

    1. Spread softened butter evenly on one side of both bread slices.
    2. On the non-buttered side of one bread, place the slices of Queijo de Manteiga.
    3. Take the second slice of bread (buttered side out) and place it on top of the cheese.
    4. Heat a skillet over medium heat and place the assembled sandwich onto the skillet.
    5. Cook both sides of the sandwich until they are golden brown and the cheese is adequately melted, turning occasionally.

    This sandwich brings out the gilded richness of Queijo de Manteiga superbly. The bread’s crunchiness and the cheese’s mellow creaminess make this dish a comfort food staple.

    Mushroom and Queijo de Manteiga Pasta

  • 200 g of spaghetti
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 200 g sliced mushrooms
  • 2 cloves of minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup of grated Queijo de Manteiga
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Instructions:

    1. Cook the spaghetti as per the instructions on the package and set aside.
    2. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the sliced mushrooms and sauté until they are tender.
    3. Add the minced garlic to the skillet and sauté for another minute.
    4. Add the cooked spaghetti to the skillet, followed by the grated Queijo de Manteiga. Stir until the pasta is well coated with cheese.
    5. Season the pasta with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Toss to combine everything.

    The creamy and tangy melt of Queijo de Manteiga complements earthy mushrooms superbly, lending the pasta a mouthwatering blend of textures and flavours.

    These two recipes highlight the versatility of Queijo de Manteiga, transforming simple meals into gourmet experiences. This cheese’s unique attributes make it a valuable player in worldwide culinary sketches.

    Exploring the Perfect Pairings: Queijo de Manteiga with Wines and Delicacies

    Queijo de Manteiga, also known as ‘Butter Cheese’ due to its melting consistency, is a traditional artisan cheese from Portugal’s Azores archipelago that has endeared itself to the hearts of gastronomes around the globe. Cured for up to 20 days, it is characterized by an intense buttery flavor, with rich aromas and a velvety texture. Whether served as the star of a cheese platter, a spread on toast, or as a surprise ingredient in Portuguese dishes, this silky delight is sure to satisfy. But to truly enjoy Queijo de Manteiga to the full, consider pairing it with suitable wines and complementary dishes.

    Portuguese Vinho Verde, a light, slightly fizzy white wine with low alcohol content and high acidity, could be an ideal match for the Queijo de Manteiga. The vibrancy of the wine contrasts with the creaminess of the cheese, bringing out luscious flavors. A mature Alentejo red, bursting with deep wild berry aromas, also pairs excellently with this indulgent cheese. Its bold, rounded taste is an excellent counterbalance to the cheese’s rich, buttery nature. Alvarinho or Loureiro, two delightful Portuguese whites, can also be worthy companions. Their aromatic richness marries well with the cheese, presenting a harmonious, layered tasting experience.

    The versatility of Queijo de Manteiga also makes it a superb addition to various dishes. Those longing for a flavorful adventure can try it with:

    • Pão de Mafra: A Portuguese bread known for its softness and slightly sweet flavor. Spreading Queijo de Manteiga on this warm, freshly-baked treasure can tantalize the taste buds with a heavenly fusion of textures.
    • Sausage: Portuguese spicy sausage or any robustly flavored cured meats could provide a welcome contrast to the creaminess of the Queijo de Manteiga.
    • Fruit Preserves: The rich sweetness of fruit preserves, be it fig, apricot, or strawberry, complement the Queijo de Manteiga, making it a splendid dessert cheese.

    Last but not least, remember that food and wine pairing, as well as cheese tasting, are subjective experiences. Feel free to experiment with your preferences and enjoy the gastronomic journey of discovering your own ideal combinations with Queijo de Manteiga.

    Similar Cheeses for Queijo de Manteiga

    Queijo de Manteiga, which translates to “butter cheese” in English, is a traditional cheese hailing from the Alentejo region of Portugal. This cheese is known for its smooth and creamy texture, rich buttery flavor, and a slight tanginess. It is made from cow’s milk and is aged for a relatively short time, typically around three weeks.

    If you are a fan of Queijo de Manteiga and want to explore similar cheeses, here are some options that you should try:

    • Queijo da Serra: Another Portuguese cheese, Queijo da Serra, also known as Serra da Estrela cheese, is made from sheep’s milk. It has a soft and buttery texture, with a slightly pungent aroma. This cheese is aged for a longer period, allowing it to develop more complex flavors.
    • Bries: Brie is a well-known French cheese that shares similarities with Queijo de Manteiga. Both cheeses have a creamy texture and a rich, buttery taste. Brie is made from cow’s milk and is aged for a shorter time compared to other European cheeses.
    • Camembert: Another French cheese that is often compared to Brie, Camembert also has a creamy texture and buttery flavor. It is made from cow’s milk and is aged for a shorter period, resulting in a soft and gooey cheese.
    • Cremoso: Cremoso is a Mexican cheese that is often compared to Queijo de Manteiga. Made from cow’s milk, Cremoso has a smooth and creamy texture, similar to the Portuguese butter cheese. It is perfect for melting, making it a great addition to dishes like quesadillas and enchiladas.

    These cheeses offer a similar taste experience to Queijo de Manteiga, allowing you to explore different flavors and textures while still enjoying the creamy delight that you love. Whether you prefer Portuguese, French, or Mexican options, there are plenty of alternatives out there to satisfy your cheese cravings.

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    About the author: Dr. Wolfgang Sender writes on international careers. He is founder of and

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