In the Vall de Llémena (“Llémena Valley”), located in La Garrotxa, Pablo Garcia makes high-quality cheese from raw cows’ milk. He collaborates with livestock farmers who are near him to ensure the use of organic, freshly milked milk in his cheeses, and therefore, keep all its infinite good properties. The fact of working with raw milk gives the cheeses a more enhanced flavour, because it has bacterial flora from the environment where the cows are bred. And the most important thing is that the cows are calm, they let the farmers milk them, because animal welfare is basic and principal to get good cheeses.
For Pablo, making cheese has always been his passion. First, it was a hobby for him, and then finally it became his profession, and he has been fully committed to his business. Initially trained in his country, he was able to put into practice all his knowledge acquired at Torre Marimon in an intensive course, in Ardèche, and later in the Abondance valley, in France (in the French Alps).
He is making three kinds of cheese at the moment: the Fermió, the Golany (both soft paste cheeses) and the Baldat (which is a mature cheese). The first cheese comes in a small format, with a mouldy rind and a lactic character, and it is presented in the shape of a plain cylinder with rounded corners. The rind, which is natural, is homogeneously covered with a white-ivory mould layer which is completely edible, and which also provides an important part of the cheese organoleptic richness.
The Golany has a mixed rind (mouldy-clean) which is edible. Made with vegetable rennet, it is a square-shaped piece with a creamy texture which, as it matures, it can melt. It has a complex flavour between the aromatic strength of the rind and the elegant and balanced notes of the paste.
And the Baldat, inspired by the large format maturing cheeses which are typical in the Alps, where they have plenty of milk. A Gruyere cheese made in big pieces of 12 or 20 kg which matures slowly in a drying room, and which is matured on a weekly basis with water saturated with salt. The rind is created with this erosion effect. The elastic paste gets brittle, and its colour may change depending on the feeding of the livestock.
The cheese factory La Balda makes part of the traditional cheese producers that we can find in Catalonia, a market which is in full expansion. In his workroom they follow the cheese traditions from here and there, increasing the diversity of traditional cheeses made with raw milk.
Thank you very much, Pablo, for receiving us and welcoming us so warmly.