The area where Torta del Casar Spanish cheese has traditionally been produced is located in the centre of south-west Cáceres province, encompassing Llanos de Cáceres, Sierra de Fuentes and Montánchez villages. Torta is a natural cheese, made using traditional methods with raw sheep’s milk from controlled herds, vegetable rennet and salt. Like all cheeses in the world, it was born of the need to preserve the milk, since the only way in which it could be preserved from deterioration in the past was by transforming it into cheese, which allowed it to be consumed throughout the year.
However, due to special climatic conditions in this Spanish area and the use of vegetable rennet extracted from the wild thistle Cynara Cardunculus for curdling, a process occasionally occurred which the shepherds considered accidental and undesirable, since the result was a very soft cheese which, when the rind was not yet fully formed, would sink under its own weight and which they knew as ‘atortaos’, since its atypical shape was more like a flour ‘torta’ than a traditional cheese.
Given that this phenomenon occurred almost exclusively in the regions surrounding Casar de Cáceres, a town located eleven kilometres north of the capital of Cáceres, this cheese has been known for centuries as Torta del Casar, having gone down in history as the cradle of the product and the place from which its traditional method of production has spread to other nearby areas.
The result is a cheese with a light, thin, semi-hard rind. Its main characteristic is its highly creamy texture, which means that at certain times during the maturing process it must be bandaged to prevent the white to ivory-coloured paste from spilling out through the cracks in the still soft rind.
With lactic and vegetable aromas and an intense, developed taste, it is melting on the palate, very slightly salty and slightly bitter, a characteristic that is due to the use of vegetable rennet.
It should be noted that all the cheeses covered by the Torta del Casar Protected Origin Designation come with an exclusive numbered red and gold control label, which is the common element that distinguishes it from any other cheese of similar characteristics, a guarantee of origin and tradition. Torta del Casar can be found in three different formats, from 200 to 500 g., from 500 to 800 g., and from 800 to 1,100 g.