Pa amb Oli with cheese from Mahón

Pa amb Oli is one of the most typical and easy ways to prepare dishes on the islands. A slice of bread, toasted or not, with local ramallet tomato (a special type of thin-skinned tomato only found on the island) squeezed over it along with a dash of olive oil and a pinch of salt (some people prefer it rubbed in garlic) topped by all varieties of sausages or cheese, from Mahón or Mallorcan.

Mallorcan cheese ceased to be a novelty long time ago. Under the Moorish rule it was much esteemed, but it was during British influence when its production rised. It's a box-shaped cheese with rounded corners made with cow milk. A piece of linen or cotton cloth, the so-called fogasser is the reason why the cheese has this special form. The rind is yellow or orange because it's smeared with oil or butter for its perfect preservation. The cheese itself has a consistent texture with an ivory yellow colour. The herbs used in the cheese-making process provide every cheese with a different taste and aroma.

There are four different types of cheese from Mahón; tender, semi-cured, cured and preserved in oil, weighing between 2 to 4 kg apiece. The type of cheese depends on the ripening time: The tender one has a ripening period of 6 weeks; the semi-cured -which has a consistent texture and is easy to cut- between 2 and 5 months; the cured one -much harder and with a stronger taste- has a ripening period over 5 months. The other type is the cheese preserved in oil, a delightful pleasure.

Mahón cheese obtained its own Designation of Origin in 1985 and it is the most common on the Balearic Islands. You'll find it easily in restaurants, shops and supermarkets.

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