How much are you willing to pay for the strongest blue cheese? Would you be willing to spend TWO HOURS fighting over an artisanal blue cheese?
Cabrales cheese is one of the most important and recognised blue cheeses. On 26 August 2018, €14,300 was paid for 5.78 lb (2.62 kg) of a cheese from the Valfríu cheese factory.
Fifteen different restaurateurs from across Spain bid for one of the strongest blue cheeses in the world.
“It was fantastic to see everyone continually raising their hands and the price was rising,” said a Valfríu cheese factory spokesperson.
“There seemed to be no limit to the bidding, and it lasted for almost two hours. The audience was very lively and applauded incessantly. The peak moment was when the figure of €10,000 was surpassed, which was when we realised that we were on the way to the record.
“We thought it was a good idea to investigate and see if it was the most expensive cheese in history. That's how it all started, and luckily it ended well.”
Cabrales Regulatory Council (DOP Cabrales) then contacted Guinness World Records to see if there was a record set for the most expensive cheese sold at auction. There was no current record title and so a new title was created by the Cabrales cheese.
Perhaps you’re wondering what makes this cheese so special for somebody to pay more than €14,000 for it?
Cabrales maturates within the caves of Picos de Europa. In natural form, ideal parameters are given for the formation of penicillium, a fundamental characteristic of this blue cheese. Most of these areas cannot be reached by car, requiring shepherds to walk about two kilometres carrying cheese on their shoulders. The cheese spends roughly between three and six months in the caves, with weekly care, rubbing and turning to encourage the maturating process.
The winning restaurant, Llagar de Colloto, has become the best possible ambassador for Cabrales cheese. Not only has Iván Suárez, the Restaurant Owner, bought the winning cheese, but they have started working with the Valfríu cheese factory and orders from them every week. He has an exclusive display for Cabrales cheeses available for purchase and recommends them at all meals.
The Cabrales Cheese Competition is a very special day for people living in the Picos de Europa, attracting a big crowd. The next competition takes place on Sunday 25 August with more bidders expected following last year's success. After setting a new record last year, there are high hopes for it to be broken again in 2019.