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Afuega´l Pitu

ASTURIAS
Milk of Cow
Pasteurized
Taste: Medium
Texture: Creamy
Pasta: Soft
0,3 Kg
Cured
Tinto con cuerpo
DESCRIPTION

This is one of the most popular Asturian cheeses. It is made from fresh or pasteurized milk from the Friesian cow, though it can also be made from the milk of Ratina, Roxa or Carreñas cows. It is cylindrical at the base, but conic at the top. It is white if recently made, but yellow and slightly moldy if more cured. It is a compact cheese, with a grainy texture. The taste is creamy and tending toward acidic, with a very peculiar aroma.

VARIABLES

Depending on the area where the cheese is produced, the definitive form it takes will vary. Thus, we can find cheeses that are cylindrical at the base, but conic at the top in Grado, Pravia, Comellana, etc., and more in the shape of a zucchini, the more traditional shape, in Riosa, Morcín and even in Proaza. The more typical shape of a zucchini is also more common in the red variety, currently called the “rojo del Aramo” due to the fact that it is in this area where the cheese was traditionally produced. Afterward, and mostly due to the cheese competition celebrated every year in Morcín, this cheese has become more important in the market and has begun to be produced in other areas of Asturias. The Asturianos take to the tradition and experience that confirm this extraordinary cheese and continue celebrating a competition in Morcín county every first Sunday following the 17th of January. Dozens of artisan cheese makers show up to compete with either the white or red variety of this cheese. The white variety, small and with a rough rind, can be made in two different shapes, depending on whether the mold was made according to the tradition in Grado or hung from a “fardela” (a small cloth sack), as is done by the majority. The red variety is different from the white, apart from in its color, also in that it has an orangish-red tone without an apparent rind, also in its flavor, since it has been made with paprika. Its strong-sounding name comes from its spreadable texture and strong flavor, which causes it to stick sometimes to the back of the throat.

PRODUCT HISTORY

Afuega´l pitu, in Bable (the regional dialect of Asturias) “to choke the chicken”. A long time ago, to know if the cheese was ready to eat or not, a chicken was fed a piece. If it had a hard time swallowing the cheese, then it was ready. It is also said that the phrase means “to choke the throat”, that is the larynx. When it is eaten very cured and thus it has a high fat content due to the special type of milk used, it produces blockage in the throat. Its area of production covers, Cornellana, Salas, Grado, Morcín, Proaza and Ambás counties, in the central western part of Asturias.

PRODUCTION PROCESS

The liquid obtained from the afternoon milking of the cow is heated and slowly curdled, adding a small quantity of rennet. After at least 12 hours, the paste is cut up and placed in a mold, so that the whey will separate throughout the day. Afterward, the piece is placed in a small cloth sack, called a “fardela”, which will give it is unusual balloon shape. It will be hung from the “fardela” for a few days at most in a well-ventilated, dark cellar. It is during this process where the salt, and in some cases paprika (to produce the “rojo del Aramo” variety), is added. The curing process is prolonged from between 15 days and several months, placing the wheels on wood slats. Its production will be made only from the liquid obtained from the afternoon milking of cows. It is made from fresh milk and is left to curdle at some 22ºC (71.6ºF), adding animal rennet, during at least 12 hours. This way a white paste is obtained that can be placed in the molds and left for the whey to come out all day long. It is salted or paprika is added and it is then placed in the small cloth sacks (“fardelas”) which give it its characteristic shape. The wheels are hung for a few days in a well-ventilated and dry place, changing the cloth a couple of times along the way. At the end of the process the cheese is ready to eat. It is produced all year long, mainly in winter and spring.

BUY CHEESE BOARDS that include this cheese
Spain II (Strong flavor)
QUESOS FROM ASTURIAS
Peñamellera
Taramundi
Cabrales
Afuega´l Pitu
SUGGESTIONS FOR GASTRONOMICAL COMBINATIONS
Afuega’l Pitu is ideal for eating with cider and wood oven baked bread. We recommend eating it with other kinds of cheese, combined with cider if the cheese is of the white variety or a stronger red wine if it is of the red type.