Published: 11/01/2006 - Updated: 08/14/2019
Author: Dra. Loredana Lunadei
Castilla-La Mancha is a region consisting of five provinces (Albacete, Ciudad Real, Cuenca, Guadalajara and Toledo), located in south-central Spain. Its area is 79,226 km2 and is bordered by Castile and León, Madrid, Aragón, Comunidad Valenciana, Murcia, Andalusia and Extremadura.
Basically, this land is a vast plain, but no shortage of mountain landscapes, such as the Cordillera Central (north), the Iberian (northeast), the Sierra Morena and Montes de Toledo, south. Castilla-La Mancha is home to three national parks and many areas of ecological interest. Its climate is Mediterranean with a continental trend dimmed, with little rain, some cold temperatures in winter and hot in summer.
Food production is one of the engines of the regional economy and within it, the productions are covered by a quality mark recognized by the European Union (PDO, PGI, TSG, organic food, etc.).
Since ancient times, the inhabitants of La Mancha have been devoted to grazing sheep and the preparation of tasty cheeses.
At the end of 1995, the Ministry of Agriculture recognized the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) Manchego cheese, which covers the production of pressed cheese, made with milk from sheep of the breed of cylindrical shape with substantially flat sides, a height of between 7 and 12 cm, a diameter of between 9 and 22 cm and a weight of between 1 and 3.5 kg.
The rind of these cheeses is hard, yellow, featuring the casts or impressions of the litigation in the area and side of the flower in the flat. For its part, the paste is firm and compact, varying in color from white to ivory yellow: small eyes may file unequally distributed.
The area of production and development of Manchego cheese is made up of the municipalities in the provinces of Albacete, Ciudad Real, Cuenca and Toledo, which constitute the region of La Mancha.
The maturing of the cheeses has duration of not less than 60 days after the date of the molding, during this period the apply the practice of dumping and cleaning necessary until the cheese reaches its peculiar characteristics.
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Montes de Toledo Oil
The cultivation of olive groves in the Montes de Toledo was introduced by the Phoenicians and Greeks, but was enhanced with the Romans. There are references to the cultivation of a large quantity of documents from the Muslim domination until the eighteenth century, with the dominance of production for self-sufficiency. The main differentiating feature of the oils in this area is coming exclusively from the variety Cornicabra, whose cultivation occupies almost all of the area with olive trees.
In 2000, the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) Montes de Toledo was finally recorded, which covers the production of the counties in the southwestern province of Toledo and northwest of Ciudad Real, with the central axis mountain formation of the Montes de Toledo. Since 2003 has the only recognized Tasting Panel Spain for olive oils.
From an organoleptic oil of this variety, it has a great sense of density, in the mouth is fruity and aromatic, while average values of bitterness and spicy flavor with a very balanced whenever is the optimal degree of maturation.
The color varies, depending on the time of collection and the location within the region, from golden yellow to green. In addition, Montes de Toledo is known for its high content of oleic acid and low linoleic acid, possessing a high content of polyphenols, which gives it a marked stability.
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Campo de Montiel Oil
The Denomination of Origin of Campo de Montiel oil covers twenty-six municipalities belonging to the agricultural county Mancha and Campo de Montiel Pastos in Ciudad Real. The area of olive cultivation is 49,498 hectares and the area of processing and packaging line with the production. They are also groves of high ecological value and natural, with production primarily traditional. OJ only recognizes the production of extra virgin olive oil, made mainly of varieties of Cornicabra and Picual, but also admitted the Manzanilla, Arbequina and the Local.
The Denomination of Origin Alcarria oil covers the production of virgin olive oil produced with the olive of Castellana variety (Verdeja). The predominant color of this oil is lime green, more or less intense depending on the time of harvest and the degree of ripeness of the olives. From the organoleptic point of view, the oils of this variety are very fruity and aromatic, its strong smell and sometimes spicy flavor in the mouth. The area of production, processing and packaging includes 95 municipalities in the province of Guadalajara and 42 of the province of Cuenca. Located in the northeast of Castilla-La Mancha, occupying the southwestern counties of the province of Guadalajara and the northwestern part of the Basin.
The Alcarria is a land that has always distinguished by the quality of its honey. In 1993, the Ministry of Agriculture gave the green light to the DOP Alcarria Honey. The settlement area of hives involves different towns of the agricultural Alcarria regions, which spans the provinces of Cuenca and Guadalajara, forming a triangle bounded by the fertile imagination of the rivers Tajo and Henares north and south by the foothills east of the Iberian. This difference makes three types of honey: monofloral rosemary, monofloral lavender and multifloral. Honey has the organoleptic characteristic of the floral origin, in particular, in terms of aroma and flavor.
The honey comes from registered hives. Harvesting of honey begins when it has reached the appropriate degree of ripeness. Given it, is the rise of the tables filled and replacing them by empty boxes, making sure the provision of the honey is left in the hive. The tables contained in the hive are for the honey extraction and centrifugation through them. The area coincides with the packaging production.
Once extracted, honey is filtered out for the fragments of wax, bees and other impurities. The honey is then subjected to sedimentation in ripener to remove air bubbles and leave standing the product. Settling time can vary from a few days to a month, this time the air bubbles go to the surface and emerge as wax particles or foreign bodies. Cleaning honey is ready for sale which may be in liquid or crystallized.
Saffron of La Mancha
Saffron is a bulbous plant, part of the historical and cultural heritage of this region. Emerge from each bulb one to three flowers, popularly known as saffron roses. As a spice, saffron comes from the stigmas of these flowers together with its corresponding Style. In 2001 the EU acknowledged the Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) Saffron of La Mancha, which protects the production of the La Mancha region of the provinces of Toledo, Cuenca, Ciudad Real and Albacete. Planting bulbs is traditionally the second half of June until the first of September. When the plant flowers, between October and November, the flowers are collected daily to prevent wilting. Over a period of 20 to 45 minutes, saffron is roasted in the heat produced by coals of fire, stove or any other source that provides a suitable indirect, constant and uniform heat and do not communicate outside tastes or odors. Toasted saffron is weighed and stored in containers that isolate its contents from moisture and sunlight and stored until it is delivered in clean, cool and dry. The packaging is done in packages whose closure system ensures the preservation of the product stored in clean, dry, ventilated areas where the temperature is below 25 ° C.
The rice production of Castilla-La Mancha is concentrated in the province of Albacete. Much of that production is covered by the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) Calasparra rice, which share with Murcia.
This name was born in 1986 to cover the production of rice varieties from Balilla X Sollana and bombs, it is indigenous. Once harvested, the rice goes to processing industries or cooperatives in which is to be drying (removing water) and milling (removal of cuticles until the grain is white).
Within the PDO, Calasparra rice production is also integral. To produce this rice, they remove only the husk, leaving the coated rice pericarp. In the process of milling, the rice is introduced in approved containers and place the labels.
The sheep has been the strength of the Castilian-La Mancha livestock. In 1999, they recognized the Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) Manchego sheep, which was launched four years earlier. The area of exploration and production of sheep of the breed Manchega to obtain suitable channels to be protected by the PGI spans the region of La Mancha, Manchuela, Central and Almansa, Albacete; Mancha, Campo de Calatrava and Field Ciudad Real de Montiel; Manchuela, Mancha Mancha Baja and Alta and La Mancha in Cuenca, Toledo and Mount Sagra of Toledo Yebenes. It also extends the protected area to the neighboring counties with the previous ones.
Manchego Lamb is sacrificed when has 60 to 90 days and the meat is pink. The meat is of great tenderness and juiciness, with a beginning infiltration of intramuscular fat level that adds a very nice characteristic bouquet. The channels are identified with an indelible stamp of food that makes use of the initials "CM" (Cordero Manchego), which runs through the leg, shoulder and ribs on both sides of the channel. They also carry one of the legs in a numbered sticker with the logo of the IGP.
In turn, each individual unit of beef (whole pieces in pots, trays or the like) must be identified with an individually numbered label with the logo of Manchego lamb, as the case may be.
The collection, which begins in July and ends in November, takes place in several stages following irrigated fields. Once unsafe or defective eggplants are discarded, these are intended to retain only the fresh fruit and tender from registered plots.
The development process consists of between 5-20 minutes to cook the eggplant, put it to a fermentation process in large containers, which contain the characteristic dressing (vinegar, vegetable oil, salt, cumin, garlic, paprika and water) and pack the product in cans or glass bottles. In the markets you can find three types thse: Alina, pasta with sausage and chopped peppers.
La Pedroñeras purple chili
The Las Pedroñeras chili is a local variety which is grown mainly in the region of La Mancha Cuenca, although in recent years has spread to other provinces of the Castilian-La Mancha region, especially Albacete . Apart from its color, this chili is different because of its strong odor, taste spicy and have an average size, being composed of between 8 and 10 "tooth" shaped croissant and white-yellow meat. In 2001, the Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) of “Ajo Morado de Las Pedroñeras” was done which covers the production of this from 225 municipalities in the region's natural La Mancha, Mancha, Mancha Alta Mancha Baja, and Manchuela Center.
Handling and packaging of it may be made only by certified companies. In the reception of the items are checked bulbs, ensuring that it fulfills all the characteristics required by the rules of marketing.
Completing the work of handling, the product is packed and stored at room temperature until September 30th. Meet that deadline, the chili must be kept in cold stores, in packages stamped with the logo of the IGP.
Melon of La Mancha
Castilla-La Mancha dedicated to the cultivation of melons nearly 13,637 hectares, 37% domestic production and 35% of the area. In May 2003, they established the Association for the Advancement of Melon de La Mancha, made up of cooperative enterprises, which has been the catalyst in the current Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) Melon of La Mancha. The legislation provides that only can defend with the IGP mark melons variety "Saccharinus" of native cultivars, characterized chiefly by their ellipsoidal or ovoid shape. The bark of these melons can be smooth or slightly rough, with an average thickness of between 0.6 and 0.8 cm.
Predominantly, the skin of the melon is light green with dark spots of medium size, evenly distributed, becoming at maturity towards yellow. However, in the area of the "bed", which is where the fruit is in contact with the ground, the color is more yellowish. The flesh of the melon toad skin is white, throwing a cream. In the central cavity, relatively small compared with other varieties, is found in the placental zone which has the seed. The IGP Melon of La Mancha will only be hosting melons Category I meetings, with a sugar content of at least 11 ° Brix and weighing between 1.8 and 4 kg. The area of production, processing and packaging of the melon is in the natural region known Mancha, in the northeastern province of Ciudad Real.
Marzipan from Toledo
Marzipan of Toledo is a traditional sweet that in 2002 won recognition as Protected Geographical Indication by the Junta de Castilla-La Mancha.
Legislation called Marzipan from Toledo to a fine and compact mass that is obtained by mixing or kneading of raw almonds, peeled and mashed, with sugar in their various classes, and used as the basis for a variety range of traditional cakes. This paste has a sweet and intense almond taste, with a distinct flavor to this fruit and a dry, soft, smooth and compact texture. Although not required, the kernel that is used to prepare the Marzipan from Toledo is Spanish because the fat percentage is much higher than that of foreign almonds.
All marzipan displaying the logo of the IGP should be developed by manufacturers based in the province of Toledo and placed under the control of any of the product certification bodies. The product should be presented in packages, shall carry the distinctive characteristic of the IGP and the certification body, so it is not possible reuse. The various presentations of marzipan from Toledo (Fill-in, coated, Figurines, Eels, Delicias, Marquesas, Empiñonadas, Yema Cakes, Cakes and Gloria almond paste soup), is achieved through a process of hammering or molded by hand or mechanical mass of marzipan, followed by baking or cooking, until the required dimension in each case. Similarly, the mass may contain filler coated or made of other confectionery products.
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