Spain is known for many things — its vibrant culture, its warmth, its colorful cuisine and its wine. Spain is also getting notoriety for its cheese. There are dozens of types of cheese in Spain, and some are highly regional. Learning all about them is an authentic adventure. Here is our guide to Spanish cheese, of course, an ideal companion for Spanish Iberian ham!


Manchego is the most famous Spanish cheese. This is a semi-soft cheese made with sheep’s milk, a specialty of La Mancha. Most Manchego ages for at least two months, but the most flavorful spend up to two years in a dark cellar — Manchego’s flavor intensity is unbeatable. This cheese is compatible with fancy Spanish Iberian ham such as Pata Negra.


Cabrales is Spain’s own blue cheese. The moldy cheese with green and blueish specks is pungent, to say the least, but its intense aromatics make it irresistible. Cabrales is made traditionally in Asturias, on Spain’s Northern Atlantic shore, and is often made with a combination of goat and sheep milk.

Queso Zamorano

Straight from the province of Zamora, the law has protected this sheep milk cheese since 1992, as producers must make it with milk from particular breeds of sheep. You can identify this semi-hard cheese for the zigzag pattern in its rind. Zamorano ages for at least six months, so it’s really flavorful and creamy.

Queso Tetilla

The unique shape of this artisan cheese from Galicia resembles a breast, but that’s not the only special feature of this specialty; it’s made with local cow’s milk and aged for just a few days to gain a buttery flavor and a creamy mouthfeel. Mild and delicious, this is the perfect cheese to pair with Iberico ham, as it will let the flavor in the jamon Iberico shine through.


Idiazabal is remarkably like Manchego, but this delicacy comes from Basque and Navarra in Northern Spain. What makes this cheese special is the quality of the sheep milk gathered in the area — it becomes a silky semi-hard cheese with intense flavor and a smooth palate. This cheese comes in large cylinders, and it melts beautifully.

Queso de Burgos

You’ll find this spreadable fresh cheese in Castilla y Leon, in Central Spain. This is strictly unpasteurized cheese made with cow’s and sheep’s milk. The milky cheese is easy to add to salads and sandwiches as its gentle flavor is compatible with many foods. Queso de Burgos is incredibly refreshing.

Caña de Cabra

As its name suggests, Caña de Cabra is a sheep’s milk cheese with a soft, pearly white rind. When young, this cheese is spreadable and delicious with figs and honey, but earthier examples exist, as they’re a bit more aged. Try this delicacy with citrus-scented white wines and savory Iberico ham.

Queso Iberico

Now, if it’s a hard cheese you’re looking for, try Queso Iberico. This firm cheese is made with a combination of cow, sheep and goat milk, and it has a nutty flavor redolent of Manchego but butterier. This is the type of cheese you dice for a cheese platter — you can grill it too!

January 03, 2023 — franco salzillo