San Simon da Costa is made from milk of the Galician Rubia, the brown Alpina, and the Friesian breed of cows. The origins of this cheese date back to the Middle Ages and are attributed to the Celtic peoples who populated the mountains of the Sierras de Carba and Gistral. At that time, it was of high monetary value and was commonly used as payment for tithes.
The pear shape (larger version), or the “dunce cap” (smaller version), is achieved by pressing the cut curds into a mold for three hours and salting them with brine. The cheese then matures for thirty to forty-five days, during which time they are regularly turned and then naturally smoked over birch wood.
The finished appearance of San Simon is a glossy, golden brown cone. The interior is firm yet quite creamy. The aroma is meaty while the flavor is smooth with a mild and mellow smoky note. San Simon melts and works very well on grilled vegetables (think bacon with potatoes!), or on the cheeseboard as the impressive ‘smoked option’ with the bonus of added interest by virtue of the unique shape. Pair with a Cotes du Rhone, a terroir appropriate Valdeorras, or a Chardonnay.