Urgelia: A Lunch Cheese from Spain

September 22, 2010

Urgelia is a cheese that I had not heard of before our purchase, yet it seemed wholly familiar at the cheese counter.  This cheese has the everyday appeal of Monterey Jack, with an appearance closer to Havarti.  This Spanish cheese offers more interesting flavor than either of those American standards.

Urgelia

Urgelia is a washed rind, semi-soft cheese from the Catalan area of Northern Spain.  It is made from pasteurized cow’s milk.  It is also sold as L’Alt Urgell or Urgell.

Urgelia has a hard, orange-brown rind that looks as if it has been coated in flour.  The interior paste is butter yellow and has uneven holes.  The rind smells sweet and peanutty.  The paste’s aroma is milky.  To the touch, Urgelia is spongy and a bit greasy.

Urgelia has a nice combination of flavors.  It is nutty, yet also has a sour, bitter fruit flavor similar to grapefruit.  The cheese finishes with a bitter fruit flavor that lingers lightly in the mouth.  This cheese is smooth and creamy.

We all liked this cheese and would purchase it again.  One of my juvenile tasters asked for the remainder of Urgelia for his lunchbox the next day.  Urgelia would make a nice everyday cheese, or one for a picnic or a casual meal.  There is nothing fancy about this cheese, but it is quite tasty and is relatively inexpensive.

Notes on purchasing:  We purchased Urgelia at Whole Foods (San Francisco).

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