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History

Serra da Estrela Cheese

Its appearance is earlier than the 12th century, being the oldest and the most famous Portuguese cheeses around the world.

Columella, a Roman army officer that was born in the Iberian Peninsula around 2000 years ago, narrates about the production of this cheese in the first “Treaty of Agriculture” known. Even so, it was Gil Vicente who wove torn compliments.

However, the first major academic approaches on the Serra da Estrela cheese only began in the late 19th century with Ferreira Lapa, Wenceslau da Silva and many others.

Nowadays, the production of this cheese is still made in a traditional way, honouring what has been done for hundreds of years. So, it is up to the shepherds to leave with the flock in the morning and return late in the afternoon. On the other hand, there are the women who prepare the cheese according to what their predecessors have taught them.

The grassland of the Serra da Estrela feed the “Serra da Estrela” and  “Churra Mondegueira” breeds, which are considered as the best dairy fitness.

The “Queijo da Serra” was appointed, in 2011, as one of the 7 Wonders of Portugal gastronomy and we, undoubtedly, have this luxury and fine product to offer. 

 

The route of transhumance 

In ancient times, with the approach of the harsh winters, the shepherds of the Serra da Estrela went down to the Cova da Beira, Castelo Branco, Idanha-a-Nova in search of better pastures. However, with the approach of the summer, these journeys were made in the opposite direction. These began in November, with the displacement of “Alavão” flock, more sensitive to cold and lacking in food, to, among other destinations, Campinas of Idanha, or Cova da Beira, in the region of Castelo Branco, in order to find a warmer climate and vast plains. They remained here until April.

In this way was born the pastoralism of the region of Beira Baixa.

In turn, the production of the cheese appeared, almost spontaneously, as a form of exploitation of a resource provided by the cattle, which, for the reasons already stated above, turned, for some periods, in Campinas of Idanha.

Although the origin of the cheeses produced in Beira Baixa point to the Serra da Estrela mountain, many other factors were determinants in winning high-quality and renown cheeses, with unique and singular features. We talk about the microclimate of Cova da Beira, Castelo Branco and Idanha, which presents pastures with an unquestionable quality – Warm Spring and great protection from the Atlantic winds, as well as the granitic origin or schist-clay hillside soils, deep and well drained.

These cheeses have been evolving and improving themselves incessantly in both innovation and adaptation to consumer tastes and to the new demands of the market, going forward to the highest level of tasting, where all senses are combined in a delicate way.

 

Segredos da Beira Sausages

The sausages «Segredos da Beira» Gourmet are a genuine ex-libris of the gastronomy of this region. They are entirely handmade and retain the richness of the taste that many thought that was lost.
Our origins, our recipes, our tradition......Serra da Estrela/ Beira Baixa.
There in Beiras and in all up-country of Portugal, pork always had a very important heft in the economy of local populations, where almost every family raised pork for their livelihood.
Made from the finest meats and condiments, we achieve unparalleled quality products and delightful flavours.

The aguardente of «Serra da Estrela» (Firewater)

The Arbutus unedo tree, also called Strawberry tree, native to the Serra da Estrela, develops in the woods, bushes and in rocky areas. It presents itself as a bush or small evergreen tree. Its fruits (3 cm in diameter) appear in green sprigs giving colour to the tree. They are yellow at the beginning and turn red after a period of time.