Cheese with Attitude on Tenerife, Benijos Semi-Curado

We finally attacked the round of semi-curado goats’ cheese from Benijos, way up in the La Orotava Valley, that had been taunting us from the safety of the fridge for days.

The cheese, looking seriously tasty in its smoky paprika overcoat, had been sitting there for about a week, maturing nicely. But as it hadn’t yet been photographed in various stages of undress – in full wrapping, wrapping off, a neat little triangular slice cut out of it so that it looks at its best etc. (this is the process some food stuffs go through in our house) – it couldn’t be touched.

A couple of days ago temptation got the better of us and we attacked it over lunch, seeing off half of it and leaving the poor thing in a less than photogenic state. I thought I’d better take a photo of it though, before we set about it again.

Benijos Cheese, Tenerife

Benijos cheeses are award winners and the more curado they are, the more they should appeal to serious cheese fiends. This one was hard; so hard it made Jason Statham seem rather effeminate. Even my knife whimpered as I tried to cut through it (or maybe that was me because of the effort it required).

When we order semi-curado at the cheese counter in our local supermarket, the response is always a hopeful ‘¿en trozo?’ (in one piece). They really don’t want to be cutting those hard guys into slices.

And as for the taste? It sort of roughs up your mouth a bit before tearing off down your throat singing bawdy songs. It”s got bags of attitude and flavour and is definitely not for people who like their cheese to taste like lightly flavoured butter. We love it.

Accompanying it in the photo is some of our home-made spicy peach chutney which acts like a benevolent prison guard, calming the cheese down a bit. Put them together and the savoury sparks really fly.

Unfortunately for most people, the chutney is unique and only available in our house. But I’d still strongly recommend tackling Benijos semi-curado anyway… if you think you’re hard enough.

Benijos cheeses are available from most good supermarkets on Tenerife and a small round costs between €4 and €6.

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