If you like cheese, congratulations! You have come to the right place!
In Sasamón, just 10 minutes away from Villalibado cheese is made. It has been awarded three times, twice with a silver medal and once with a bronze one, in the World Cheese Awards, considered the ‘Oscar Awards’ for cheese.
‘Quesos de Sasamón’ not only makes different types of cheese, but also cuajadas (junket), wine, honey, mantecadas (shortbread), biscuits, rosquillas (ring shaped pastry)…
The good thing is you can buy the cheese straight away from the manufacturer. Julio, one of the owners, is usually behind the counter. He is always ready to tell you about their products, let you taste their tasty cheese and if there are no customers, show you around the premises while explaining passionately the process of making cheese. This is what happened during our last visit and it was certainly a revelation.
The factory is small, clean, fresh and flawless. We were surprised by the fact that despite its simple appearance, somehow between modern and homely, it can elaborate and distribute enough cheese to fulfill the demand of all its points of sale all over Spain. Nevertheless it does and more and more successfully everyday.
I have to admit that what I liked best of this impromptu and nice visit was going through the room where Peña Amaya cheese mature, undoubtly the most awarded and celebrated of their cheese. The process of making it is absolutely traditional, using raw sheep milk. Its flavour is irresistible and, if you allow my saying so, even addictive. Thousands of small cheese with yellow rind lie in perfect lines on shelves.
Julio told us there is a person, the same one since everything began back in 1982, whose job is turning the cheese, one each time, every eight to ten days. This man adores his job and that’s the reason why he does it so lovingly and with such devotion. And this is the impression you get when you talk to Julio while visiting the facilities, Everyone there loves their job. They are proud of their products and take care of each step of its manufacture so as to keep and justify this pride to their customers.
Whoever likes strong cheese shouldn’t miss ‘Don Pepito’, matured for a year in pots of clay, the way the romans used to do. It tastes heavenly.
To conclude the visit, we went to the visitor interpretive centre in the shape of a castle, by the side of the factory. There we could see, among other things, a video about the company and the making of their cheese.
In short, you cheese lovers have no excuse not to go to Sasamón. You will undoubtedly find something you’d like among their products.
Their timetable is very suitable too, as it’s open in the mornings on weekends.
If by any chance, you happen to arrive there and it is closed, do not worry. Cheese are on sale also at the petrol station in Sasamón. There are usually some sample trays for you to try before you buy.
Cheese prices vary from 8,95€ -mantecoso- to 13,80€ -Don Pepito. (Prices taken form their own Web page).
I would also suggest you try the delicious junket made with sheep milk. Last summer the price was 1€ each.
A confidence: the cheese with a small flaw in the shape are sold cheaper. You can only fond them in the factory. Locals know it, so there is a big demand. While you are there ask for them, as they are not on display. If you are lucky, you’ll save some money.