BARCELONA: A Spanish restaurant has made culinary history by shelling out an astounding 30,000 euros ($32,800) for a single 2.2-kilogram (4.85-pound) piece of handmade cheese, thereby claiming the title of the world’s most expensive cheese.
Annually, during the final week of August, the town of Las Arenas de Cabrales hosts a unique contest where the finest Cabrales cheeses are auctioned off to the highest bidder.
In a stunning turn of events, Llagar de Colloto, a restaurant located in Oviedo, Spain, secured this prestigious title by acquiring the exceptional piece of Cabrales cheese.
This extraordinary cheese, meticulously crafted from a blend of cow and goat milk and aged for several months in the caves of the Los Picos de Europa mountains, was produced by the Los Puertos cheese factory in Poo de Cabrales.
After meticulous evaluation, the expert jury unanimously selected this 2.2-kilogram masterpiece as the finest among the entries from fifteen cheese producers who participated in the contest, making it the most sought-after item in the subsequent auction.
Guillermo Pendás Bada, the talented creator of this winning cheese, shared his thoughts on the achievement, stating, “We knew we had a good cheese, but also knew that it is very difficult to win.”
The winning cheese matured for an impressive ten months in a cave located at an altitude of 1,500 meters above sea level.
Interestingly, Llagar de Colloto has been consistently outbidding competitors for the crown of the finest Cabrales cheese for several years. In 2018, they spent 14,300 euros to secure the winning piece, followed by a staggering 20,500 euros in the subsequent year. Now, they have once again raised the bar by acquiring this record-breaking piece of Cabrales cheese.
Cabrales cheese is renowned for its artisanal production process, crafted by hand using raw cow’s milk or a combination of cow, sheep, and goat milk.
It matures in natural caves nestled within the Picos de Europa mountains for several months, benefitting from the humid conditions that foster the development of penicillin-like molds, resulting in its characteristic blue-green streaks and spots.
This delectable cheese has witnessed a surge in popularity, both within Spain and internationally, with a total of 66,226 kilograms sold in the European Union alone last year.
The record-breaking purchase by Llagar de Colloto not only elevates the status of Cabrales cheese but also demonstrates the enduring allure of artisanal and exceptional food creations.