Cabrales: This is probably the best-known Spanish blue, with a pungent flavor and an appealing creaminess. It is cave-ripened, and as it ripens it becomes heavily blue veined.
Garrotxa: Americans are not as used to semifirm goat's milk cheeses as are Europeans, and Garrotxa is a good one to start with. It has a washed rind and rich mouthfeel and is only mildly acidic.
Iberico: This three-milk cheese (cow, goat, and sheep) is covered with a characteristic black, stamped rind. The semifirm cheese is mild and pleasing.
Idiazabal: Produced in the Basque region, this lightly smoked sheep's milk cheese is hard and fairly sharp. It combines the flavors of sheep milk, nuts, and just a hint of smokiness.
La Leyenda: This creamy sheep's milk cheese is similar in flavor, texture, and appearance to French Brie. Like Brie, it becomes runny and delicious as it reaches room temperature.
La Serena:This soft, creamy, full-flavored sheep's milk cheese pairs well with bold Spanish red wines.
Leonora: A fresh, mild, and soft goat's milk cheese, this is made in Leon.
Mahón: Aged Mahón cheese has a washed, molded rind and is a mild, semifirm cow's milk cheese produced on the Balearic Islands. In the United States, Mahón is more commonly available as a milder, fresher cheese.
Manchego: Perhaps the most famous Spanish cheese, the sheep's milk cheese originally was produced in La Mancha, where the animals roam the endless, arid fields of Don Quixote. Manchego is now available in many varieties, including aged, rosemary covered, and brandy rubbed. It is a dependable, semifirm cheese with a subtle nutty flavor.
Montenebro: This soft goat's milk cheese is coated with ash and allowed to develop a deep yet subtle flavor and a luscious creaminess. It is sold as a flattened log.
Murcia al Vino: This mild goat's milk cheese is wine cured and has a flavor that is reminiscent of Muenster cheese.
Nevat: This goat's milk cheese is creamy and chalky and has a bloomed rind.
Pitu: From Asturias, this soft sheep's milk cheese is pleasingly piquant and is available plain or flavored with paprika.
San Simon: This conical cow's milk cheese is mildly smoked, and its creamy texture conveys the fresh flavor of the pasture.
Tetilla: This semisoft cow's milk cheese is fashioned in a traditional conical form. It is mild and creamy and pairs well with the spices in any number of cured meats.
Urgelia: Produced in the Catalan region from cow's milk, Urgelia is semisoft with a rather pungent flavor and aroma. The cheese pairs well with dry red or white Spanish wines, especially the effervescent Txacolina.
Valdeón: This lesser-known Spanish blue cheese characteristically is wrapped in chestnut leaves while it ages, which results in a nutty flavor and creamy texture. It is unmistakably reminiscent of Roquefort without the briny aftertaste.