Pando Cheese Tasting

Pando Restaurant @PandoSevilla in San Eloy Street has been running a series of excellent “Gastronomic Schools” – educational tastings – of which the latest was this week’s cheese tasting, hosted by Diego Ruiz de Terry of Pando (Grupo San Eloy) and presented by Antonio Rodriguez Vacas of cheese distributors TGT group.

We tasted three very different cheeses, one goats’ cheese, one sheeps’ cheese, and one dairy cheese, accompanied by different wines.

Queso Ibores is a surprisingly mild and creamy goats cheese from the Extramadura region, with none of the harsher overtones of some goat cheeses. We had the natural version, but it also comes flavoured with pimentón, which gives the cheese a deeper yellow-orange colour. Delicious served with a light white wine.

Queso Roncal is a typical strong mature (minimum of 4 months ageing) sheeps cheese from the Navarra region of northeast Spain that has been produced in the traditional way for hundreds of years, and was the first cheese to have a Denomination of Origin (1981). Serve with quince jam and grapes and an earthy red wine to bring out the full flavour.

Queso Mahón is a dairy cheese (a relative rarity in Spain) from the island of Menorca, named after the port which was its point of export. The version we had was an aged variety (it also comes fresh or semi-cured), hard and flaky in texture, with a yellow-orange colour and a strong, rather salty, flavour. Excellent with a nice red wine.

Thanks to Pando and TGT group for putting on an enjoyable event.

Gourmet Club Sherry & Food Pairing


Another day, another sherry tasting. Which is not a bad thing, of course. This one was held last week at the Gourmet Experience Duque in El Corte Inglés, which has become an important venue for such events since opening in December 2013 . The featured bodega was family-run Emilio Hidalgo, with three of its special aged dry sherries, in pairings with Riofrio Caviar, mojama (cured tuna) and melva canutera (frigate tuna) from quality fish processors Herpac, and hand-made Zamorano cheese from Vicente Pastor.

hidalgo collageFirst up was La Panesa, a fino from a solera that is bottled sparingly, and has consequently aged longer than a standard fino, paired with two varieties of caviar. Both of these had a delicate, subtle buttery flavour that worked well, neither masking the other. Next was a pairing of much stronger tastes. El Tresillo 1874 is a well-aged amontillado, complex and full-bodied, with a particularly excellent “nose”, that added its richness to the strong flavours of the fish. The last pairing brought together an aged oloroso sherry, Villapanés, and an artisanal cured Zamorano sheep’s cheese. I think this was my favourite of the three pairings, with an exceptionally rounded, full flavoured sherry that was perfect for the quite chewy, salty cheese.

I have to say that I think this was one of the best tastings I’ve been to, very well organized by sommelier Silvia Flores, with the excellent sherries and exquisite food products introduced and explained by their respective owners. Many thanks for the invitation, Silvia, and I look forward to future Club del Gourmet experiences.