This autonomous community is in the center and west of Spain. The climate is continental and its vegetation is quite diverse. Because of the expansiveness of the region, livestock abounds.
This region is first in sheep’s milk production and second in cow’s milk production, so there is a large cheese producing industry here, too. In this community there are plenty of proof of the age old cheese making tradition.
In Castilla, the transhumance was decisively important in the development of the cheese industry. Many towns in this region underwent great development during the time of the Mesta due to the huge amount of transactions carried out in their markets, mostly having to do with sheep and products derived from them, such as wool, cheese, milk and others.
Besides the characteristic cheeses of Villalón, Burgos and Briviesca, there are many others which also delight the palate with their flavor.
In general, these cheeses are hard, made from sheep’s milk and cured for quite some time. The aroma is very developed, with a strong flavor and buttery texture.
These cheeses are produces in almost all the towns of the region. Most notable are those from the
Esgueva valley, Brivieca, Villalón, Nava del Rey and Burgos. León province is located in northwest Spain and borders to the north with Asturias and to the west with Galicia. Its climate is mostly continental with extreme temperatures both in summer as well as in winter. It is notable, as is the case with Asturias, for its mineral resources in the north.
Livestock breeding has always been especially important in the province’s economy, especially in the part which borders with Asturias and Galicia. Old documents found in León testify and confirm that cheese was used in the Middle Ages as currency in bartering and other transactions.
Due to the abundance of livestock in the province, especially in the mountains to the north, cheese production was always very important. The transhumance of the territory influenced this very much. Shepherds from Extremadura would take their flocks to graze in the mountains of León by way of what is still known today as the “Ruta de la plata” (Roman Silver Route).
The cheese industry was at the mercy of shepherds, with more or less talent in cheese making. León cheeses are important not only for the abundant livestock of all kinds, but also for its production tradition. It can be said that cheese is produced in almost all the towns and villages of León, especially in the rural and mountainous areas. Today, there are even important industrial installations, such as the factory at Lácteos San Vicente. Most remarkable are the cheeses from Calostral, Valdeteja, Laciana, Babia, Sajambre or El Bierzo.
Finally, we take a look at the insuperable cheese from Valdeón. Some of those produced here are the best blues or “picon” cheeses of Spain.