The most important etiquette rules on how to serve and eat Manchego. Tips to be the ideal host or the perfect guest at the dining table.

queso manchego

What Manchego etiquette is

Manchego etiquette is the set of rules to properly serve and eat Manchego. Such rules help avoid behaviors that can disrespect hosts or guests, or make you look unpolite.

If you are hosting, follow Manchego etiquette to serve it to your guests appropriately.

If you are a guest, respect Manchego etiquette rules to properly eat and enjoy it.

What you should know about Manchego

Queso Manchego is a semi-soft cheese from Spain. It is typical of the La Mancha region. 

Manchego is made from sheep’s milk. Its aging must be between 30 days and 2 years. It is buttery and firm in texture and white to light yellow in color. Manchego has a characteristic aroma, slightly piquant.

The texture, color, and flavor can vary mostly depending on the aging. Younger cheeses, such as Fresco and Semi-Curado, tend to be milder in flavor and creamier in texture. While aged varieties, such as Curado and Viejo, have a more complex aroma. 

How To Serve And Eat Manchego

Etiquette tips to serve and eat Manchego

1) How to store Manchego

Store Manchego in the fridge. Unopened, it can last for 2 or 3 months.

After opening it, wrap it in plastic or in aluminum foil. Keep any surface of the cheese protected from the air. Ideally, place the cheese in a sealed container too. Properly stored, Manchego can last for up to 3 or 4 weeks.

In the freezer, Manchego can last for about 6 months. However, freezing affects the taste and texture of the cheese. Thus, freeze Manchego only if you plan to use it for cooking. 

Store dishes with cooked Manchego in the fridge. They can last for up to 3 to 5 days. 

2) How to clean Manchego

You do not need to wash Manchego.

If you notice mold on its surface, slice it and discard the slice that has gone bad. 

3) How to cook Manchego

Manchego is ideal for many preparations.

You can fry it or grill it. It is popular marinated or melted in a cheese sauce.

Manchego melts well. Thus, it is ideal to be added on top of burgers or baked vegetables. Such as potatoes, brussels sprouts, or tomatoes. 

You can add Manchego to baked recipes. Such as quiches, savory pies, casseroles, or soufflés. 

Manchego is also a popular ingredient for sandwiches. 

4) How to serve & present Manchego

Serve Manchego in small slices. Alternatively, you can present it in a large piece. Do not remove the rind before serving.

Manchego can be served as an appetizer. It is largely popular in tapas, often served with charcuterie.

Another option is to include it in a cheese course. After the meal and before the dessert. It can fit well on a cheese platter. 

Serve Manchego at room temperature. Take it out of the fridge between 30 minutes and 2 hours before serving. 

Accompany it with bread or crackers.

5) Food and wine to pair Manchego with

Manchego pairs well with charcuterie from Spain. Such as Chorizo or Serrano ham. It goes well with burgers or eggs. Do not pair with fish or seafood.

Manchego goes well with potatoes, dry tomatoes, olives, or peppers. With fruits, such as pears or figs. With nuts, such as walnuts, hazelnuts, or almonds.

Ideally, pair Manchego with wines from Spain. Red wines, such as Rioja or other wines made from Tempranillo grapes. White wine, like Verdejo or Albariño. Alternatively, pair with sparkling Cava, or with a fortified wine like Sherry.

6) How to eat Manchego

Discard the rind or skin. Use a knife to remove it.  

Slice Manchego into bite-sized pieces or cubes. Then, use your fingers to bring the cheese to your mouth. Alternatively, place it on a piece of bread or a cracker. 

Using a fork is perfectly acceptable too.

manchego etiquette mistakes

Manchego etiquette: the worst mistakes

The Rude Index identifies and ranks negative behaviors. 

A high score (8-10) means that the behavior has the potential to trigger a conflict with others. A medium score (4-7) means that the behavior risks making you look inelegant and unsophisticated. More about the Rude Index and its methodology here.  

Avoid the worst Manchego etiquette mistakes. 

  • 9/10. Serving spoiled Manchego.
  • 3/10. Pairing Manchego with fish or seafood.

Additional information for properly serving Manchego

How many calories per serving?

Counting calories is important to stay healthy and to correctly plan a menu.

The calories in Queso Manchego vary depending on the aging time. Aged Manchego can contain 468 calories per 100 grams. A single serving is around 30 grams, which contains 140 calories.

How to buy the best Manchego

A crucial factor in Manchego etiquette is to serve the best product possible to your guests.

Season and availability 

Manchego is available all year round. 

Choose the best

The best Manchego must come from Spain. More specifically, from a few designated areas in the provinces of Toledo, Ciudad Real, Albacete, and Cuenca.

It should have a PDO (protected designation of origin) seal on its packaging. The seal guarantees that the cheese was produced in the La Mancha region, and that the cheesemakers respected all the quality requirements. 

Alternatives to Manchego

The ideal substitute depends on how you plan to use the cheese. If you need a melting cheese to cook, choose anywhere between Gouda, Fontina, and even Mozzarella or Scamorza.

Instead, if you are looking for a sheep’s milk cheese with a similar taste profile, try Castellano or Zamorano.