Afuega’l pitu is an unpasteurised cow’s milk cheese from Asturias, one of four Asturian cheeses (the others being Cabrales, Gamonedo cheese, and Casín cheese) to have been recognised with Protected Designation of Origin (Denominación de Origen, DO) by Spain and the European Union.
The name comes from its tendency to stick to a person’s palate (“pitu“). It is considered to be one of the oldest Spanish cheeses. The name ‘Afuega’l Pitu’ also symbolises one of the Spanish legendary custom ‘drowning the rooster’ referring to cheese producers feeding a piece of the freshly made cheese to a rooster.
Production is centred on the municipalities of Grado, Las Regueras, Morcín, Pravia, Riosa, Salas, and Yernes y Tameza with the municipality of Grado having the largest production and being the headquarters of the council of Denomination of Origin. The cheese is produced all year long although principally in spring and winter due to the elevated fat content in milk in the spring and winter months.
The cheese comes in different types that are recognised by its form/shape, the ingredients added and the aging period. And hence, each type is known with a particular name.
- The type that resembles the shape of a bishop’s miter or inverted flowerpot is called ‘Troncado/Atroncáu’ (Trunk).
- If the cheese block is round and resembles a shape of cloth bag, then it is called ‘Trapo/Trapu’ (Rag/Cloth).
- Moreover, if paprika (red chilli or bell pepper powder) is added while making the cheese or the cheese is rolled in paprika taking its red colour, then it is called ‘Roxu/Rojo’. This type of Afuega’L Pitu has very strong, spicy flavour as it is always eaten when matured. It is tasted as a “tapa” or dessert, generally accompanied by bread.
- If the cheese is made without adding paprika, then it remains white in colour, and so, is called as ‘Blanco/Blancu’. This variety of Afuega’L Pitu has soft, white, light, sticky rind which is usually mouldy.
- In addition to these types, the length for which the cheese has been aged also defines its varieties such as Cured, Semi-cured or Soft.
The flavour is slightly sharp, and just lightly salted or even bland. The texture is creamy and fairly dry. The red cheese has a strong, piquant flavour, which becomes pasty and astringent as it is swallowed (‘pitu’ is a colloquial term in the Asturian dialect for the pharynx). The aroma is characteristically mild, becoming more marked with ripening. The consistency of the paste starts off being soft and spreadable but, with ripening, it gradually becomes harder and one of main characteristics of this cheese is its crumbliness, making it impossible to cut clear through it.
Substitutes for Afuega’l Pitu Cheese
- We currently do not have information relating to substitutes.
OTHER SPANISH CHEESES:
- Dehesa De Los Llanos – Curado
- Dehesa De Los Llanos – Gran Reserva
- El Trigal Manchego
- Queso del Tietar
- Queso Iberico
- Dehesa De Los Llanos – Media Curación
- Don Bernardo Manchego
- Flor de Guia
- Cana de Cabra
- Cana de Oveja
- La Peral
- Monte Enebro
- Picos de Europa
- Queso de Murcia
- Sarró de Cabra
- Finca Pascualete Mini Torta
- Flor de Guia
- La Serena
- Queso de Afuega’l pitu
- Queso del Montsec
- Torta del Casar
Fresh Soft Cheese
GLOSSARY INDEX – CHEESES