Mahon owes its existence to the intervention of a small group of ripener/gatherers who operate on the island of Minorca. They select the best cheeses from the small farms on the island, and give them a proper aging. Without the additional time, the cheese is rather banal, but at a year, the cheese is bold, sharp, and fruity, with hints of citrus and pineapple. This Mahon is made by producer Pedro Pons and has a fiery orange rind due to being rubbed with Pimenton during the aging process. The flavor is generally mildly acidic.
The young version is far more elastic than it’s mature counterpart which may crumble when sliced. Enjoy with any rich fruit jam and bread and of course Spanish wine!
How Mahon is Made
Second only to Manchego as Spain’s most popular cheese, Mahon is produced in a municipality by the same name on Minorca, an agriculturally-devoted island. The most remote of the Balearic Islands, Minorca has been famous for cheese for centuries, and in 1993 the island was designated a biosphere reserve by UNESCO. Pressed cheese made from whole cow´s milk from Friesian, Menorcan and/or Brown Swiss cows, occasionally with a maximum of 5% of sheep´s milk from the Menorcan breed of sheep.
The milk maintains highs standards and has to be clean with no preservatives and a balance between fat and protein so it has the same seasonal characteristics of the milk of the other breeds. The final fat content must never be less than 38% of dry matter. The cheese is molded by hand, wrapped in a square cotton cloth, the fogasser, and hung from all corners. After the whey is removed, the paste is manually pressed and tied. It is then pressed in a machine that imprints the folds of the cloth and the cords on the top.