La Serena (also known as Torta La Serena), a sheep’s milk cheese from the Extremadura region of Spain, is a wonderful lesson in the unique influence that thistle rennet’s have on the flavor and character of a cheese. Wild Cardoon Thistle is used as the source of of the coagulating agent, and from it comes the distinct — but pleasing, at least to some palettes — bitterness and tang. La Serena at its peak is a scoopable, custardy wheel, aged in a cheesecloth girdle (similar to a bark-wrapped cheese like Winnimere), and can be served by lopping off the top and digging in with a spoon or bread.
The aroma has overtones of sour milk and an acid tone; In flavor it is earthy, full, floral and vegetal with the distinct fruity bitterness and tang of a thistle rennet.
The Australian cheese evangelist Will Studd, in his TV Series Cheese Slices, visited a producer of La Serena in Spain. I dont think it’s on YouTube but you can purchase the DVD’s at cheeseslices.com or at cheesemaking.com.
Purchased at Murray’s Cheese.
Do you follow cheesenotes? You should. He eats all the cheeses. Also insider tip for our friend! Just got a bunch of new Italian stuff in that is outta sight. If you liked the La Serena try Fiacco di Capra! Killer.