Azeitão Cheese is a DOP protected, unpasteurized sheep´s milk cheese. Producers are mainly from the foothills of Arrábida Mountains. Its produced only in the amazing demarcated municipalities of Sesimbra, Pamela and Setúbal . Arrábida Mountain is also a protected area due
to the unique characteristics of flora, landscape and amazing sightseeing views.
Azeitão besides a village , is a cured cheese with white / yellow semi-soft consistency . Has no holes and it uses the cardoon plant which grows locally and it is used as coagulant . The cheese is cured at least 21 days. Azeitão is a civil parish in the municipality of Setúbal. Its also known by some of the the top winemakers.
History of Azeitão Cheese
In the beginning of 19th century, Gaspar Henriques de Paiva ( farmer ) moved from Beira region to Azeitão . The Estrela mountain in the Beira Region has a similar well known cheese and Gaspar Paiva brought some of the “bordalesa” sheets to Azeitão . He also arranged a shepard to help him to make the cheese, taking in consideration the local ingredients.
Since Gaspar owned few sheeps, his final product has a small size and runs into a lowest production, however with an excellent quality. He developed the cheese with sheep milk, salt and cardoon.
Now days, you will find several producers of Azeitão Cheese and after tasting them, you might discover differences between them.
Top winemakers of Azeitão
José Maria da Fonseca, is a family of wines with almost 200 years and recognized on the Global market. JMF ( José Maria da Fonseca ) exports to more than 70 countries and an area of vineyards of 650 ha. Periquita, Lancers, Alambre Moscatel de Setúbal and BSE are the top brands from this winemaker.
Bacalhoa Wines growth in the end of last century . Made an great investment in new vineyards and modern wineries. They also acquired new properties, besides new partnerships. Now days they have a total capacity of 20 million liters, 15,000 oak barrels and an area of vines in production of about 1,200 hectares, spread in different wine regions.
The wines and cheeses make amazing pairings. In Setúbal region you will find always an excellent wine that you will be able to make a pairing. Most of the winemakers in the region have wine tastings which organizes for small groups.
Food? Sure ! The fresh seafood and shellfish from the region, with origin in Setúbal , but also in Sesimbra, you will love ! More open to the public you have the Livramento Market open 7 days per week.