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Monday, January 15, 2018

RONCAL, EWES' CHEESE WITH 13TH CENTURY RECIPE FOR SMALL CHEESE ROLLS

Roncal Cheese
Photo from: Artizone
The milk used to make Roncal cheese is not boiled or heated. The cheese is a piquant, cylinder shaped slightly blue-grey, brown or black cheese with a hard leathery rind formed by salting, washing and smoking. It is 18 cm in diameter and 9 cm high. It is ripened for one to two months. Then the rind is hard, greasy and cold. Inside it is between ivory and light yellow. It has a strong slightly sharp creamy taste. It has a characteristic aroma.

Roncal cheese is dated from the 13th C as vital to the self-supporting economy of the area. The milk is produced between December and July, the birthing season for sheep. One author states that Nola qualified the cheese to be as good as that of Italians. Nola, however, only states: ‘good cheese from Navarra.’ The electronic source cited claims that Roncal cheese was the first cheese to receive a specific name in Spain but provides no date.

As all cheeses and meats, the flavor is dependant on the animal’s diet. Roncal ewe’s milk has been distinctive since the 9th C. when King Sancho García authorized shepherds from Roncal to take their transhumant herds to winter in pastures of to the meadows of Bárdenas Reales in southern Navarra in the Valle de las Siete Villas between October 15th and May 15th.

Roncal cheese is grated for certain dishes and is buttery making it quite possible that Nola is referring to this cheese when he recommends it for his recipes for Lombard soup, baked cheese, an eggplant dish and onion pottage. It also can be consumed as a snack or dessert.

[Delgado. 1985:198; ES: Roncal. Aug 27, 05; ES: Lord-Williams. “Brufaino.” Feb 5, ’12: “Caciovalo.” Jun 14,’12: “Cebollada.” Oct 1, ’12; García del Cerro. 1990:187; Inventario. 1996:286-288; and Nola. 1989: xxiii-3:xlv-l-5 etc]


Pouring Honey and Butter over “RAFÎS”Photo by: Lord-Williams
RECIPE FOR “RAFÎS” WITH SOFT CHEESE ADAPTED
FROM HUICI’S TRANSLATION OF ANÓN, AL-ANDALUS,
#422. RECETA DEL “RAFÎS” CON QUESO TIERNO
Ingredients

1 c breadcrumbs 
1 c moist soft unsalted cheese
¼ c butter 
½ c honey

Preparation

Cut crusts off of freshly baked bread . Make breadcrumbs from bread . Knead crumbs with grated cheese and 1 tbsp butter. Make qursas, small round, bread rolls, and put them on a serving dish. Melt the rest of the butter and clarify it. Pour this over the qursas with clarified honey.

HUICI’S TRANSLATION OF ANÓN, AL-ANDALUS, #422

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