Official Journal of the European Union

C 16/23

Publication of an application pursuant to Article 6(2) of Council Regulation (EC) No 510/2006 on the protection of geographical indications and designations of origin for agricultural products and foodstuffs

(2008/C 16/06)

This publication confers the right to object to the application pursuant to Article 7 of Council Regulation (EC) No 510/2006 (1). Statements of objection must reach the Commission within six months of the date of this publication.




EC No: ES/PDO/005/0443/15.12.2004

PDO ( X ) PGI ( )

This summary sets out the main elements of the product specification for information purposes.

1.   Responsible department in the Member State:


Subdirección General de Calidad y Promoción Agroalimentaria. Dirección General de Industrias Agroalimentarias y Alimentación. Secretaría General de Agricultura y Alimentación del Ministerio de Agricultura, Pesca y Alimentación. España


Paseo Infanta Isabel, 1, E-28071 Madrid


(34) 91 347 53 94


(34) 91 347 54 10



2.   Group:


Quesería Castelo de Brañas SL


Acceso al Mercado Ganadero s/n. Pedrafita do Cebreiro (Lugo)


(34) 982 367 163


(34) 982 367 163



Da Ma del Carmen Arrojo Valcárcel (Quesería XAN BUSTO)


Nullán. As Nogais (Lugo)


(34) 982 161 020


(34) 982 161 020



Producers/processors ( X ) Other ( )

3.   Type of product:

Class 1.3: Cheese

4.   Specification:

(Summary of requirements under Article 4(2) of Regulation (EC) No 510/2006)

4.1.   Name: ‘Cebreiro’

4.2.   Description: Cheese made from pasteurised cow's milk which, following a production process encompassing the stages of coagulation, cutting of the curd, draining, kneading and salting, moulding, pressing, maturation and, where appropriate, curing, acquires the following characteristics:

Physical characteristics:

shape: mushroom-shaped, or in the form of a chef's hat, consisting of two parts: a cylindrical base of varying diameter and no greater than 12 cm in height, and a hat which has a diameter 1 to 2 cm larger than the base and which is no greater than 3 cm in height,

weight: between 0,3 and 2 kg.

Organoleptic characteristics:

when fresh, the cheese does not have a differentiated rind. The mixture is white, granulated, soft, clayey to the touch, sticky and melts on the palate. Its flavour and smell are reminiscent of the milk from which it derives and slightly acidic,

when cured, the cheese has an only slightly differentiated rind; its paste can vary from yellow to intense yellow and sometimes has a hard consistency which is always more firm than buttery. Its flavour is somewhat metallic, piquant and milky, with a characteristic aroma.

Analytical characteristics:

moisture content: varies depending on the degree of maturation, but always less than 50 %,

fat content: minimum 45 % and maximum 60 %, calculated on the dry extract,

protein: content greater than 30 %.

4.3.   Geographical area: The area for producing the milk and making the cheeses covered by the Protected Designation of Origin ‘Cebreiro’ comprises the geographical area which includes the following municipalities, all of which are in the province of Lugo: Baleira, Baralla, Becerreá, Castroverde, Cervantes, Folgoso do Courel, A Fonsagrada, Láncara, Navia de Suarna, As Nogais, Pedrafita do Cebreiro, Samos and Triacastela.

4.4.   Proof of origin: Only milk obtained from farms listed in the relevant register may be used to make the cheeses covered by the Protected Designation of Origin ‘Cebreiro’.

Similarly, only cheeses made and, as appropriate, cured, in the dairies and curing premises listed in the registers of the inspection body may obtain the protection of the Protected Designation of Origin ‘Cebreiro’.

In order to ensure compliance with the provisions of the specification and of the quality manual, the inspection body will keep registers monitoring the livestock farms, dairies and curing premises. All natural or legal persons holding assets listed in these registers, the facilities and their products, will undergo this check in order to verify that products bearing the Protected Designation of Origin ‘Cebreiro’ meet the requirements of the specification.

The checks will be based on inspections of farms and facilities, a review of documentation and an analysis of the raw material and the cheeses.

If it is found that the raw material or the cheeses made have not been obtained in accordance with the requirements of the specification, they may not be marketed with the Protected Designation of Origin ‘Cebreiro’.

Cheeses covered by the Protected Designation of Origin will bear a numbered secondary label, checked, supplied and issued by the inspection body in accordance with the rules laid down in the quality manual.

4.5.   Method of production: The cheeses are made from whole natural milk from Galician blond, brown Swiss and Friesian cows and their crosses. The milk contains neither colostrum nor preservatives and must generally meet the requirements laid down by the applicable legislation. In addition, it may not undergo any form of standardisation and must be correctly stored at a temperature of not more than 4 °C in order to prevent the development of micro-organisms. Before the manufacturing process starts, the milk undergoes pasteurisation during which it is kept at 62 °C for 30 minutes if pasteurisation takes place in a vat, or at 72 °C for 20 seconds in it takes place in a pasteuriser.

Production of the cheese involves the following procedures:

Coagulation: this is induced using animal rennet or other coagulation enzymes authorised in the quality manual, at temperatures of between 26 and 30 °C, using the application rates of rennet needed to ensure that the curdling time is not less than 60 minutes.

Cutting of the curd: the curd is cut into 10 to 20 mm blocks.

Draining: after an initial draining process in the vat itself, the curdled milk is put into cloth bags, which remain hanging for between five and ten hours so that a second draining process can take place.

Kneading and salting: once draining has taken place, the curdled milk is kneaded until it yields a uniform paste which is clayey to the touch, and at the same time salted with sodium chloride.

Moulding and pressing: the mixture is transferred into moulds, which undergo final pressing for varying amounts of time, depending on the pressure applied and the size of the cheeses. The cheeses are then removed from the moulds and placed in cold stores at a temperature of between 2 and 6 °C, where they mature for at least one hour. Once that period has elapsed, the cheeses marketed as fresh can be released for sale.

Curing (optional): if curing is carried out, the process takes place in premises with a relative humidity of between 70 and 80 % and a temperature of between 10 and 15 °C. The minimum period for curing is forty-five days. Cheeses which have been cured must indicate this on their label.

In order to safeguard the quality and traceability of the product, the protected cheeses should generally be marketed as whole cheeses, in the packaging authorised by the inspection body.

However, the inspection body may authorise marketing in portions, including cutting at the point of sale, provided that an appropriate monitoring system has been established for this purpose that guarantees the product's origin, quality, perfect conservation and correct presentation to the consumer, avoiding all possibility of confusion.

4.6.   Link:


These cheeses are said to have originated with the first monks who settled in the village of Cebreiro, the point of entry into Galicia of the main pilgrim route to Santiago, El Camino francés, to serve in the hospital built at the end of the 9th century to meet the needs of pilgrims. As the centuries passed, the pilgrims tasted the cheese in the mountains of Cebreiro and made it known throughout Spain and Europe.

The documents preserved in the National Historical Archives and in the General Archives of Simancas reveal curious details of the annual consignment of cheese from Cebreiro for consumption by the Portuguese royal house during the reign of Charles III. The cheese was made at home by the villagers of the district (mainly women) from November. The deliveries always consisted of two dozen cheeses, always made in the final two weeks of the year, taking advantage of the seasonal cold weather to ensure that they would keep better, and then presented as a gift to the Queen of Portugal during the first two weeks of January.

In addition, there are numerous documents from the 18th and 19th centuries attesting to the fame of Cebreiro cheese at that time.

More recent works, for example, the ‘Geografía General del Reino de Galicia’ (General Geography of the Kingdom of Galicia) (1936), provide information on Cebreiro cheese, its characteristics and method of production.

More recently still, in the 1970s, Carlos Compairé Fernández, an expert in Spanish cheeses in general and Galician cheeses in particular, published a number of works containing a detailed study of these cheeses, with chemical and bacteriological analyses. These can be cited as the first scientific studies of Cebreiro cheese.

In the ‘Inventario Español de Productos Tradicionales’ (Spanish Inventory of Traditional Products), published by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food in 1996, the chapter on cheeses provides detailed information on Cebreiro cheese, including its characteristics, its method of production, its history and its economic importance.


The area covered by the PDO ‘Cebreiro’ has a mountain ocean climate, with strongly reduced maritime influences and heightened continental characteristics. This seriously restricts agricultural activities. A large part of the area, lying more than 1 000 metres above sea level, experiences temperatures that can be described as ‘very cold’ compared with the norm for Galicia, with less than five frost-free months each year.

These unfavourable environmental conditions mean that cattle farming plays a vital role in the area's economy, since this sector can cope better with the climate, soil and mountainous terrain than can the arable sector, taking advantage of the good natural meadows and fodder available in the mountains and cattle adapted to the rigours of the climate.

The impact of the geographical environment on the specific characteristics of the cheese

The geographical area in which ‘Cebreiro’ cheese is produced is characterised by numerous valleys surrounded by mountains, in which meadows and grazing land form an important part of the landscape.

This unique environment contributes to the distinctive characteristics of ‘Cebreiro’ cheese in various ways:

Firstly, as already stated, the geographical environment is favourable to the growth of abundant high quality fodder.

Additionally, milk is produced on small, family farms, using traditional herd-management methods. Animals of indigenous breeds still make up a significant proportion of herds and feed comes mainly from fodder produced on the farm, supplemented, when weather permits, by grazing.

Only small quantities of concentrated feedingstuffs are bought in as a supplement to cover the cattle's energy requirements. This traditional model, in which the use of inputs bought in from outside the farm is kept to a strict minimum, contributes to the economic viability of these small family farms.

The characteristics of these farms make the milk produced on them ideal for cheese-making. It has been scientifically proven that these more natural systems of production and methods of feeding the cattle improve the nutritional qualities of the milk by increasing the CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) content and the omega-3 fatty acid content of its lipid profile, since the more herbage the cows eat, the more the content of these dietetically beneficial fats increases, influencing the qualities of the cheese.

Finally, the region's farmers are the inheritors of a long tradition of producing this cheese, with its unique characteristics, such as its peculiar and traditional ‘chef's hat’ shape, which immediately identifies it, and their product has gained well-merited prestige and renown among consumers.

4.7.   Inspection body:


Dirección General de Producción, Industrias y Calidad Agroalimentaria


San Caetano, Santiago de Compostela


(34) 981 54 47 77


(34) 981 54 00 18



4.8.   Labelling: Cheese marketed with the Protected Designation of Origin ‘Cebreiro’, after being certified as conforming to the specification and the relevant rules, must carry a numbered seal, label or secondary label, approved and issued by the Regulatory Board, bearing a sequential alphanumeric code and the official logo of the Designation of Origin.

The words ‘Denominación de Origen Protegida Cebreiro’ must appear on both the label and the secondary label. In addition, on cured ‘Cebreiro’ cheese, the word ‘curado’ (cured) must appear prominently on the label.

(1)  OJ L 93, 31.3.2006, p. 12.