Queijo Serra da Estrela

The Dão area undoubtedly offers a plethora of delights for your palate!

It wasn’t hard to decide on the dish that the Dão/ Serra de Estrela area is most famous for – both locally and nationally. These small round, pale straw-yellow, strong-smelling cheeses are a source of local pride.

In order to comply with DOP regulations, they have to be made from 100% sheep’s milk. The milk has to come from Ovelha Bordaleira or Churra Mondegueira sheep (two specific local breeds) then add local thistle (a wildflower that grows in the forests that acts as a coagulant) and salt. Nowadays, any salt can be used –  but previously the shepherds harvested fleur de sal.

The cheeses have a soft crust and are cured between 6-18 months. The longer the curing process – the harder the cheese. After 18 months the cheeses start to take on a crumbly parmesan-type consistency.

Locals say the best cheeses are made in December and January when the temperatures are colder, frosts are on the ground and the sheep are fatter.

A Queijo da Serra contains 45-60% fat. Whether you prefer a younger, softer cheese or a more mature version is up to you. Dao residents tend to like the more mature, harder cheeses.

Try one with a good, thick slice of regional sourdough or rye bread and a hearty glass of young, red wine and you, too, might find yourself arguing over the merits of this yummy delicacy!

Lisa Bruno

Lisa Bruno is an English ex-pat living in Punta Mita, Mexico.

With twenty plus years experience as an international interior designer, working on custom residential projects in Spain, USA and Mexico, she now enjoys her "job of a lifetime" as the chief property curator for TRIPWIX.
"All my life I have been a stickler for design detail and luxury - that's why every home is inspected for quality and comfort by somebody with a strong background in the luxury interior design or hospitality industry. We put special emphasis on the quality of the bedding. I believe Tripwix is the only property rental company in the world to rank the bedding in each home."

Lisa is also a frustrated golfer, party princess, avid traveller, and curious about all the good things life has to offer.

She has been a founding partner of Punta de Mita Rentals since 2015 and TRIPWIX since 2016.