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One of the relics of milk from Asturias is found in the councils of Ponga and Amieva. A small and rough cheese, whose texture and inimitable color hides a jewel difficult to fake.
Despite not having a designation of origin, the cheese of the Beyos is at the height of any other that has been officially named. Your denomination does not need labels. The solera of an unparalleled landscape and a whole mountain culture give semantic richness to its name and gastronomic value to the pasta of which it is made. At all times it moves away from the industrial standards as few cheeses in Asturias. Its strictly craftsmanship and the dedication of a few families in its development makes it a scarce souvenir and an object of worship. This flirtatious work of art does not usually exceed 15 centimeters in diameter, its weight ranges between a quarter and a half kilo. We dare to change the popular saying a bit and assure: "if the good is small ... well twice good". And it's good at all times. With its farinous texture lends itself to all occasions: from an appetizer, in salads, in a kitchen for cachopos or sauces and for dessert with a bit of quince jam.
He has his own party in his honor from 1984. Every year since then, the first Sunday of December, is celebrated the Beyos cheese contest. The celebration has autochthonous signs of identity embodied in the form of folklore and more parallel gastronomy with products from the garden, honey, liqueurs and amagüestu de castañes in the nearby stalls. The music sounds, the young men and women dance and among the controlled noise of an authentic village, San Juan de Beleño, we approach the points of sale. They are few and small in harmony with the cheese. The product appears somewhat disparate, but only just. There is no total accuracy in dimensions or tonalities although it shines with its own light homemade essence and the total absence of uniforming labels.
Tenaciously, it resists cataloging. It is somewhat acidic in this sense, also in taste. The milking of the morning is joined to that of the afternoon and both coagulate during the night, slowly, in the heat of the fire. The process provides a bitter touch that is already guessed with the smell.
A tip: to choose a good copy is better opt for the freshest ones. With an excessive curing they hardly gain in flavor, they lose the bitter touch that characterizes them and the pasta no longer has a tendency to crumble or to present that buttery result.
We taste a bite and the cheese tends to recreate in the mouth. It seems that it is going to embarrass, but it does not, and at the right moment it melts wet and leaves a trail of unmistakable flavor. It is that wake of authenticity that is guessed previously while we go into the councils of Amieva and Ponga. A land of unrepeatable forests, mountains decorated with exuberant nature and whitewater everywhere. The cheese takes the name of one of the gorges, that of the Beyos, which does not leave anyone indifferent and which is "beyo" like few others. Steep mountain speckled with tiny rural cores without noise in its architecture or in its urbanism, almost medieval. The small flocks of cows, carts and rabbits coexist with sheep and goats. The narrow corridor that makes us ascend little by little seems to imitate the tasty rise of the cheese that we are going to look for.
Today, more than 40 varieties of cheese are made, some of the best known and most popular ones we present to you, if you want to discover more about the cheeses of Asturias.Text: © Ramón Molleda for desdeasturias.com