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Souvenir: Tetilla from Spain

Souvenir: Tetilla from Spain

These Galician cheeses have survived scandal and are now a favourite among tourists and locals

Amit Dixit
August 04 , 2017
01 Min Read

If you think the only cheese to have emerged out of Spain is manchego, you are, of course, wrong. There are over 20 cheeses that are unique to this cow-blessed land. There is cabrales, the blue from Asturias. There is idiazabal, crafted from unpasteurised sheep’s milk in the Basque Country. From the island of Minorca comes mahón, a white cheese made of cow’s milk. And then there is tetilla, a Galician cheese named for its breast-like shape, although the prudish liken it to a Hershey’s kiss or a pear (hence, its other name, perilla). In Santiago de Compostela, capital of Galicia and one of the holiest sites of Christian worship in Europe (the alleged relics of the apostle James lie in the cathedral here), cheese mongers’ shelves bend under the weight of these delicious, creamy offerings. The story goes that when Gothic additions were made to the cathedral, in depicting a famed scene at the Pórtico de la Gloria, where Daniel smiles at Queen Esther, the sculptor created a somewhat well-endowed queen. Scandalised, the church authorities ordered the size of the breasts to be reduced. In protest, the Galicians decided to craft some of their cheeses in the shape of a breast with a prominent nipple. Naturally, tourists can’t wait to lay their hands on a tetilla or two, and they’ve been flying off the shelves ever since.


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