Eat and Drink Nibble some queso in New York City this fall By MELISSA KRAVITZ Updated October 9, 2014 3:40 PM Print Share fbShare Tweet Email When it comes to artisinal cheeses, frommage and formaggio aren't the only imported varieties-- we're all about Spanish queso this season. "About 75% of our customers request manchego on their cheese plates," Murray's cheesemonger Rachel Freier said. "But there's much more to Spanish cheese than just manchego!" While we'd never turn down this popular classic, a tasting of Spanish cheeses proved that indeed there is much more to cheeses from Spain than the average American knows. Check out our guide to putting together the perfect Spanish cheese plate. Andalé! To learn more about Spanish wine and cheese, visit Murray's for a class; more info at murrayscheese.com. Young Manchego Photo Credit: Murray's Cheese Easily the most famous Spanish cheese to dairy-loving New Yorkers, this cheese of La Mancha definitely hits a sweet spot. Manchego is a pasteurized sheep's cheese, with a buttery flavor in its young stages. It's delicious on its own, but also great for melting, and pairs well with pretty much any kind of wine. A staple book club cheese, you really can't go wrong with manchego. Aged Manchego Photo Credit: Murray's Cheese Sharper and nuttier than its younger version, Aged Manchego rests in the caves from six months to a year, adding sharper flavor and a hint of richness. Aged manchego can be used like pecorino, shaved over pasta and salads, and of course, also works on a cheese plate. Garrotxa Photo Credit: Murray's Cheese Garrotxa is cheesemonger Rachel's go-to for manchego aficionados. "It becomes a new favorite Spanish cheese to people. It's one of my favorites-- no offense to manchego," she says. This Catalunian semi-firm cheese is made from goat's milk, but its velvety, mild flavor is perfect for those who often shy from goat's milk. Garrotxa is a bit fruity, naturally nutty and not too strong or salty, acting as a perfectly versatile addition to salads, mac and cheese or as a snack on its own. Queso Idiazabal Photo Credit: Murray's Cheese Idiazabal, a raw sheep's milk cheese from the Basque region packs a lot of flavor. This smoked cheese inherited its traditional smoky flavor from being stored near the fireplace in Spanish homes, where the smoke would dry it and add flavor. Today, producers smoke it purposefully with birch and oak, and darker rinds indicated a smokier flavor. The 2 to 3-month aged cheese has a toothsome texture, and tastes almost like bacon or smoked meat. This savory, gamey flavor works well in sandwiches or melted into fondue. Pair it with a spicy red wine! Roncal Photo Credit: Murray's Cheese Also from The Basque region, where cows don't have much room to graze, this sheep cheese is often compared to a stronger version of Manchego. VRoncal is flaky, sharper and gamier than its Spanish cousin, and can be shaved onto pasta or other dishes to add flavor. Mahon Curado Photo Credit: Murray's Cheese Like a good wine, Mahon is great both young one and aged (curado). After two to six months, this Mallorcan raw cow's milk cheese is drier and absorbs more of the paprika flavor rubbed on the rind, to both protect the wheel and give it an extra kick. This flaky cheese is salty thanks to the Mallorcan sea breeze on the blades of grass the cows ingest. "I call it a beautiful version of the muenster you grew up on," Rachel says. This orange-rimmed cheese is great to snack on, but can also be added to dishes for a hint of spice and saltiness. Valdeon Photo Credit: Murray's Cheese What's cow, goat and blue all over? Valdeon! This cow milk and goat milk bleu cheese is traditionally wrapped in sycamore leaves for a rustic, earthy flavor. "People are familiar with spicy and strong Spanish cheese, but this is not that-- it's not spicy at all!" Rachel clarifies. Valdeon has a nice butteriness from the cow's milk and a tang from the goat's milk, balancing the saltiness typical to bleu cheese. It's the perfect addition to a cheese plate, but its ability to easily crumble also makes it a great topping for a steak or a burger. As a dessert, enjoy Valdeon with a nutty sherry. By MELISSA KRAVITZ Share on Facebook Share on Twitter More on this topic Yes, cheese is seasonal! Murray's explains...We sat down with Murray's expert cheese mongers to learn about summer dairy products. Comments We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.