Pitú afuegal cheese . Afuega’l pitu cheese is a type of cheese that is made in the Principality of Asturias , Spain .
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- 1 Production area
- 2 History
- 3 Gastronomic Contests and Salons
- 4 Status
- 5 Elaboration
- 6 Features
- 7 varieties
- 8 Producers
- 9 Sources
It is one of the most extensive exclusively cow’s milk cheeses in Asturias, it was made on small farms, called farmhouses, scattered throughout the central Asturian valleys and the mountainsides between the Narcea and Sella rivers. The current production is concentrated mainly in councils such as Salas , Grado , Pravia , and Tineo ; being the biggest producer the council of Degree. Other municipalities included in the geographical area of the Protected Designation of Origin are: Belmonte de Miranda , Candamo , Cudillero , Las Regueras , Morcín , Muros del Nalón , Riosa, Santo Adriano , Soto del Barco , Tineo , and Valdés . It is a region with an oceanic climate , characterized by abundant, persistent and soft rainfall throughout the year, moderate solar radiation and high cloudiness. This climatology favors the rapid development of the excellent quality prairie species present in the abundant natural meadows and pasturesexisting in the area, which allows, in addition to food resources based on fresh forages, throughout the year, a collection for the days when the weather conditions are adverse. Animals can remain outdoors, practically throughout the year. It is an area with steep slopes located within the short distance between the coastline with very low levels, and the watershed at high altitude levels. This encourages livestock farming to be more suitable than agriculture as a land exploitation activity.
It is considered one of the oldest cheeses in Asturias . It appears documented since the eighteenth century as a currency for paying taxes , although until the nineteenth century , naming it as quesu de puñu or cheese of Afuega’l Pitu. At the end of the same century, Félix Aramburu y Zuloaga described it as the “primitive cheese of puñu or of afuega the pitu that is current in almost all the councils of Asturias”. In approximate dates the work Asturias by Octavio Bellmunt and Fermín Canellainsists again on the extension of these cheeses, naming them as “the currents everywhere called de afuega the pitu or by other names”. Its etymological origin is uncertain. Afuega’l pitu is a name in Asturian that translated into Spanish can mean “drown the chicken”, although it most likely means “choke the throat”, given that the word “pitu” has two different meanings: On the one hand, the pitu are the chickens, and finally the pitu is also the throat or specifically the larynx. The meaning given to the expression is diverse. There are those who understand that strangulation is referred to in thisfrom the neck of the bag where you want (lantern). The most widespread legend on the internet says that the name refers to the fact that in the past, cheese was given to chickens and when it was cured, chickens drowned. Undoubtedly, it is a pure legend that ignores the social reality of Asturian agriculture until Spain’s entry into the EEC in 1986, characterized by very small peasant farms (with very few cows, at most two or three), with very few economic resources in which neither the cheese could be wasted giving it to the chickens, nor these were killed that way to eat them. The reality is simpler and more utilitarian. The name, most likely, is due to the fact that many of the processors (this cheese was made with the temporary surplus of milk that was produced in those farmhouses; the calf was sold shortly after birth in order to obtain financial resources with which to meet the purchase needs of the house and farm, milk was consumed fresh, made butter or turned into Afghani pitu cheese) since it is a lactic curd cheese, the fat tends to be separated from the curd and above it, and that fat was removed and converted into butter that was downloaded weekly to the markets of the villas to sell, since It was not kept fresh, and was one of the usual income of these farmhouses. The cheeses, in some areas (the one closest to the mining valleys of the Caudal and Nalón basins, to the east of the Sierra del Aramo) were left to dry in hanging cloths and were “trapu” cheeses; while in the valleys to the west of the Sierra del Aramo the curd is left to drain in clay molds, in the form of small cauldrons or frustoconical vessels, with many holes, made by the potters of Miranda, Llamas del Mouro or Faro, and a Once the curd had already lost most of the water, either they were eaten fresh with fruit or apple candy, or they were left to dry in the north-facing part of the granaries, where they remained until consumption. The “afuega’l pitu” who had their butter removed (which was the vast majority for two reasons: economic, butter quickly became an income; and for technological problems, the women who made the cheese they had no knowledge of cheese technology) when they matured they were much drier and more pasty, so when swallowing them, the pasta tends to stick to the bottom of the palate-beginning of the larynx-throat, hence “the pitu afogase” and its consumption was always associated with that of the cider, especially in the spikes with which the first ones were tasted ciders of the year towards spring, that is to say, when the cheeses made with the surplus milk from the end of autumn and beginning of winter, were already very ripe. As for the existence of the Afuega’l pitu reds, more traditional in the mining valleys of the Caudal region, attached to the Sierra del Aramo, the false legend has also spread that these are cheeses that were probably going to go wrong and the processors added paprika to make them passable. Nothing is further from reality, This legend supposes to attribute to the cheese makers a technological knowledge that they did not possess to know when the cheese would come out right or wrong, something that even today most artisan cheese makers are still unaware of. Another reason that has been used to justify this fact is that paprika is an excellent preservative and that is the reason. There are two reasonable doubts to accept this version, and that is that the “afuega’l pitu rojo” was only produced in the past in the mining valleys, not in the western and coastal zone of the Sierra del Aramo; On the other hand, in the rest of the cases in the world of cheeses in which the paprika is used to preserve them, the paprika is only used in the rind to prevent the cheese from drying out, in no case is it added to the curd and knead. Nobody knows exactly what was the cause or the reason for this strange and curious red cheese, although it is most likely due to a completely fortuitous event, since the ‘afuega’l pitu’ cheese was made in the same rooms and in the same tables where sausages (sausages and blood sausages from the famous Asturian fabadas and stews) were made during the pig slaughter season. Probably and by chance a part of the curd was stained with paprika, and since the cheese was very valuable and could not be wasted due to this fact, it continued its production process; as the result was not unpleasant but quite the contrary, without a doubt, what was initially a coincidence was done deliberately, since in less mature cheeses, paprika hides the strong acidity of the «afuega’l pitu» more tender.
Gastronomic Contests and Salons
- Afuega’l Pitu Cheese Contest, Morcín
Since 1981 , the Afuega’l Pitu cheese competition has been held in the municipality of Morcín (La Foz), attended by all the producers in the area. It is organized by the Brotherhood of the Probe.
- Afuega’l Pitu Gastronomic Hall, Grado
Since 2007 , the Afuega’l Pitu Gastronomic Salon has been held in Grado , highlighting this cheese as a reference ingredient for haute cuisine and promoting its use in elaborate dishes, in contrast to its traditional consumption as table cheese. The 2007 edition included the publication of a book of 30 recipes prepared by prestigious chefs from all over Asturias and one from Madrid, highlighting among them restaurants such as Casa Conrado, Paladares Restaurant, and Casa Gerardo. The 2008 edition followed the promotion of Afuega’l Pitu in haute cuisine with an open tasting of recipes for “gourmets” skewers from Afuega’l Pitu prepared by Pedro and Marcos Morán, from Casa Gerardo. From 2009 This Gastronomic Hall has not been held, going to the Afuega´l pitu Skewers with Cheese Contest in collaboration with the hospitality establishments of the town and surroundings.
- Skewers with Afuega´l pitu Cheese Competition, Grado
Held since 2009 in collaboration with hospitality establishments in the town and surroundings.
In 2002, the Government of the Principality of Asturias encouraged processors to apply to the European Union for registration in the Community register of Protected Designations of Origin and, while it was decided by the European Commission , it was temporarily protected by the Regulations. the protected designation of origin “Afuega’l Pitu” approved by Resolution 6 of August of 2003 , the Ministry for Rural Affairs and Fisheries of the Principality of Asturias , ratified by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food of Spainby Order APA / 1983/2004, of June 7.2 The request has been published in the DOCE of 10.11.2007, thus opening a period of six months during which statements of opposition can be made.3 In DOUE L198 of July 26, 2008, your protection has been published as DOP. Now that this period of opposition has passed, the “afuega’l pitu” already has DOP protection fully in force.
The milk used to make the protected cheeses is that obtained from cows of the Friesian and Asturian breed of the valleysand their crosses. In the past, milk was raw, although since the Administration required artisanal processors in the early 1980s to obtain the sanitary registration of their productions and facilities, and given the problem of lack of sanitation in the Asturian cattle herd, pasteurization of milk was imposed to make the “afuega’l pitu”. Currently, the improvement in the quality and guarantee of the health of the milk, the modernization of the cheese installations, and the incorporation of young cheese masters with specific training in cheese technology have allowed the recovery of milk “afuega’l pitu” raw, as in the case of those marketed under the brand “Rey Silo”, with the power of flavor, aromas and textures that these cheeses had in the past and that were nothing like those that had been commercialized until now. Cattle feeding responds to traditional practices, based on the use ofmeadows by grazing dairy herds throughout the year and supplemented with fresh grass, hay and silage obtained from the farms themselves. It is made throughout the year. This cheese is made from cow’s milk and heated between 22 and 32 ° C, to which liquid rennet is added so that it coagulates, and in the cases that are required, of lactic ferments if the milk is pasteurized. After 15 to 20 hours, the curd is poured into a perforated mold to drainfor about 12-24 hours. They are salted, either sprinkling it on the curd when it is in the molds, or it is salted later by rubbing when they are removed from the mold. They are left to rest in perforated trays, for the initial drying, to then pass to the ripening chamber. For ‘afuega’l pitu rojo’ cheeses made with the addition of paprika, the curd is removed from the mold, the paprika is added, they are kneaded by hand or by machine, they are poured back into the mold with or without cheesecloth, and when the process of desuerado finishes, they are removed from the mold and salted by rubbing, if the salt has not been added at the same time as the paprika. In the case of the “afuega’l pitu de trapu” variety, salt will be added during kneading and paprika may be added, in a proportion of approximately 1%, in which case it will give rise to the “trapu roxu” variety. Subsequently, the kneaded pasta with or without paprika, will be deposited in gauzes (the traditional lantern), where it will be left to drain for another twenty-four hours. Depending on the degree of maturation, going from fresh cheese to matured, the permanence in chambers will vary between five days and six months.
It will have a minimum dry matter content of 30%, as well as a minimum content of dry fat and protein extract of 45% and 35% respectively. It is a fatty cheese can be fresh or matured, made from milk raw whole or skimmed pasteurized cow , soft paste obtained by lactic coagulation , white or reddish orange well if you add paprika . This cheese has a frustoconical or zucchini shape , with a weight between 200 and 600 grams, depending on the degree of maturation, a height between 5 and 12 cm approximately, a diameter between 8 and 14 cm measured at the base, and a rindNatural of variable consistency depending on the degree of maturation of the cheese and the addition of paprika. In the case of the “afuega’l pitu” of raw milk and matured for more than 30 days, the rind is characterized by the appearance of the mold “geotricum candida” that comes from the milk itself, this mold popularly known as “toad skin »Is the one that begins the refining process in the maturing chambers or cellars. The consistency of the pasta is more or less soft, losing this quality, as its maturation becomes more noticeable. In the “afuega’l pitu” of less than 30 days of maturation and pasteurized milk, they have a slightly acidic taste , little or nothing salty, creamy and quite dry, accentuating this strong and spicy flavor in red cheeses. It gives off a soft aroma, increasing with maturation. In the cured and raw milk “afuega’l pitu”, they present a cow, mushroom and forest aroma; As for its flavor, it is creamy and dry, with an intense taste of fresh dairy, with hints of toasted hazelnuts, wild flowers and butters, without any acidity. In the “afuega’l pitu rojo” the addition of paprika, if these are of excellent quality, accentuate its slightly spicy flavor, without the paprika hiding and surpassing the rest of the flavors of this cheese.
There are four traditional mentions, but with similar final characteristics:
- atroncau blancu: frusto-conical shape, without kneading and white in color, since it does not contain paprika;
- atroncau roxu: frustoconical shape, kneaded and red-orange color, with paprika;
- trapu blancu: zucchini shape, kneaded and white in color, without paprika;
- trapu roxu: zucchini shape, kneaded and red-orange in color, with paprika.
- Depending on the healing state, they can be:
o Cured o Semi-cured o Tender
Afuega’l Pitu cheese is offered to the consumer in pieces of between 300 and 500 g, depending on its state of maturation, and always with the Regulatory Council back label that certifies its origin and quality. The producers of Afuega’l Pitu Cheese with its founding date are