7.3.2022   

EN

Official Journal of the European Union

C 108/2


Publication of an application for registration of a name pursuant to Article 50(2)(a) of Regulation (EU) No 1151/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council on quality schemes for agricultural products and foodstuffs

(2022/C 108/02)

This publication confers the right to oppose the application pursuant to Article 51 of Regulation (EU) No 1151/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council (1) within three months from the date of this publication.

SINGLE DOCUMENT

QUESO DE ACEHÚCHE

EU No: PDO-ES-02621 – 14 July 2020

PDO (X) PGI ( )

1.   Name(s)

’Queso de Acehúche’

2.   Member State or Third Country

Spain

3.   Description of the agricultural product or foodstuff

3.1.   Type of product

1.3.

Cheeses

3.2.   Description of the product to which the name in (1) applies

‘Queso de Acehúche’ is a cheese made exclusively from raw milk obtained from goats of the Murciana-Granadina, Florida, Malagueña, Retinta and Verata breeds, or crosses of those breeds, from holdings located within the geographical area defined in point 4. It is obtained by enzymatic coagulation and matured for at least 40 days.

When mature, ‘Queso de Acehúche’ has the following characteristics:

a.   Physical

Shape: cylindrical, with substantially flat faces and plano-convex sides

Size:

Diameter: at least 7 cm

Height: no more than 50 % of its diameter

Weight: 200–1 200 g

b.   Physico-chemical

Fat in dry matter: at least 45 %

Total dry extract: at least 50 %

pH: at least 5,0 and no more than 6,0

NaCl: no more than 4 %

c.   Organoleptic

Rind: naturally waxy yellow to dark ochre in colour and slightly rough. A characteristic smear may form during maturing. The cheese may be presented for sale as it is or coated in paprika or oil. Cheeses made using the ‘sobao’ washing technique have a smooth rind and rounded edges.

Paste: white to ivory in colour, with a compact, uniform structure, without cracks. It may have a few small, roundish holes unevenly distributed across the cut surface. It is semi-hard and elastic in texture. The mouthfeel is soft, slightly melting, not very crumbly, fatty, sticky, moist and not very grainy.

Smell: medium to high intensity, lactic (goat’s milk) and other (putrid) aromas.

Flavour: low saltiness, moderate acidity, low bitterness and low pungency, more pronounced in the more mature cheeses, with a medium to high overall persistence.

3.3.   Feed (for products of animal origin only) and raw materials (for processed products only)

a.

Registered herds of goats must be fed in accordance with traditional practices which make use of the natural resources of the geographical area through extensive or semi-extensive farming. Supplementary feed based on fodder, straw and compound feed consisting of cereals, legumes and seeds may be used during periods of maximum need, such as birth and lactation, and when feed is scarce because of adverse weather conditions, such as periods of drought.

The maximum stocking density for a farming system to be considered semi-extensive is 1,8 livestock units per hectare (LU/ha). As an adult goat is equivalent to 0,15 LU, the maximum stocking density for the least stringent permissible farming system would be a maximum of 12 goats per hectare. This maximum stocking density ensures that there is sufficient food throughout the year and that feed sourced from outside the geographical area always remains below the limit set by EU legislation in terms of dry matter on an annual basis.

In addition to the natural vegetation associated with extensive or semi-extensive farming, the geographical area also provides hay, straw, cereals, alfalfa, vetch or oats grown from seed, which can be used for grazing or, after the harvest, as either green or dried fodder. The crop stubble can also be grazed.

b.

The milk used to make ‘Queso de Acehúche’ must be the natural product obtained by milking goats from registered holdings and must:

be raw, whole, non-standardised, clean and free of impurities;

have a fat plus protein content of at least 7 % and a protein content of at least 3 %;

have a pH of between 6,5 and 6,8.

3.4.   Specific steps in production that must take place in the identified geographical area

The production steps that must take place in the area are:

milk production, as set out in point 3.3;

cheesemaking, which includes coagulation, cutting, moulding, pressing, salting and maturing, including the ‘sobao’ technique if it is used.

3.5.   Specific rules concerning slicing, grating, packaging, etc. of the product the registered name refers to

There is a free choice of packaging as long as it preserves the integrity and final quality of the product.

The cheeses may be cut into half- or quarter-sized portions by the operators for dispatch, in which case each portion must bear a certification label to ensure that each one is fully identifiable and to ensure traceability.

‘Queso de Acehúche’ may be cut into portions of any size in retail outlets provided that cutting takes place in front of the consumer at the time of sale.

3.6.   Specific rules concerning labelling of the product the registered name refers to

The final labelling of ‘Queso de Acehúche’ must consist of the operator’s commercial label and the certification label, which must be placed inseparably and indelibly on every certified cheese or portion of cheese. Ultimate responsibility for the correct use of these labels lies with the certified operator.

The certification label for each whole or cut cheese must bear a unique alphanumeric serial number, the words ‘Denominación de Origen Protegida Queso de Acehúche’ [Protected Designation of Origin ‘Queso de Acehúche’], the word ‘sobao’, if that technique was used, and the product logo shown below:

Image 1

The final labelling of each whole or cut cheese must also display all other particulars specified in the relevant legislation.

4.   Concise definition of the geographical area

The geographical area in which the milk is produced and ‘Queso de Acehúche’ is made is located in the province of Cáceres, which forms part of the Autonomous Community of Extremadura (Spain).

It is in the central-western part of the province, covers an area of approximately 396 000 ha and comprises the following municipalities in the districts of Tajo-Salor-Almonte and Valle del Alagón: Acehúche, Alcántara, Brozas, Cachorrilla, Calzadilla, Cañaveral, Casas de Millán, Casillas de Coria, Casar de Cáceres, Ceclavín, Coria, Garrovillas de Alconétar, Hinojal, Holguera, Mata de Alcántara, Mirabel, Monroy, Navas del Madroño, Pedroso de Acím, Pescueza, Piedras Albas, Portaje, Portezuelo, Riolobos, Santiago del Campo, Serradilla, Talaván, Torrejón el Rubio, Torrejoncillo, Villa del Rey and Zarza la Mayor.

5.   Link with the geographical area

5.1.   Specificity of the geographical area

a.   Natural factors

Orography. The production area is a peneplain with low relief formed as a result of a long process of erosion. It is crossed from east to west by the Las Corchuelas, Santa Catalina, El Arco, Grande, Solana and Garrapata mountain ranges. The area has an average altitude of 350 m, with some areas at 250 m and the highest point at 825 m.

The river Tagus and its tributaries the Alagón and the Almonte, which meet in the geographical area, form its backbone and have led to the formation of valleys with watercourses which, owing to the uneven erosion of the terrain, have in some places resulted in the characteristic phenomenon of entrenchment. This created conditions favourable for the construction of the Alcántara dam on the river Tagus, raising water levels in the three rivers to 220 m and flooding an area of over 10 000 ha. Other notable rivers are the Árrago, which is a tributary on the left bank of the Alagón, and the Rivera de Fresnedosa, a watercourse which flows into the river Tagus along its right bank and is dammed by the Torrejoncillo dam and then by the Portaje dam. Before it was regulated, it suffered from very low flows, with barely any water left in the deepest areas. The area’s hydrographic system also includes numerous streams and gorges, small river basins whose watercourses are also very irregular.

Vegetation and natural environment. The geographical area’s vegetation is principally Mediterranean and xerophyte. The pseudo-steppe peneplain, where the vegetation consists mainly of rockroses, mastic trees, heather, broom, topped lavender and thyme, differs from the ‘dehesa’ (oak savannah) peneplain, where the vegetation consists mainly of holm oaks and herbaceous plants, although there may also be other trees, such as cork oaks and wild olive trees, along with sparse but high-quality pastures. The flora also includes alder, poplar and willow groves along the watercourses, and the remnants of mountain forests. It should also be noted that several municipalities in the geographical area lie within the Monfragüe National Park and its area of influence, as well as within a number of zones classified as Special Protection Areas (SPAs) for birds.

b.   Historical and economic factors

The districts that make up the defined geographical area have a long tradition of subsistence farming and keeping goats by grazing them on the local pastures and making use of agricultural by-products, as the natural factors described above obliged the peoples that settled there to make the most of any available resources to sustain their economies. ‘Queso de Acehúche’ is thus an essential and genuine local product, as shown by the prizes and awards won by the area’s cheese dairies at specialist fairs and competitions.

It should also be noted that, at the initiative of the municipal council of Acehúche, the village that gave the cheese its name, and with a view to safeguarding the traditional production method and promoting quality, the ‘Feria Ibérica del queso de cabra de Acehúche’ [Acehúche Iberian Goat’s Cheese Fair] has been held in Acehúche since 2004, and is dedicated exclusively to makers of raw-milk goat’s cheese.

c.   Human factors

Human factors, in the form of the local producers, are crucial for preserving the specific character of ‘Queso de Acehúche’, as their specialist knowledge, essentially acquired by experience, is vitally important not only for the production of ‘Queso de Acehúche’ but also in terms of passing these skills on to future generations.

In particular, it should be appreciated that, during the production process, the cheesemakers manage multiple variables that are rarely controllable and use techniques that are largely based on experience gained while working alongside other skilled cheesemakers. Working with raw, non-standardised milk produced at different times of the year means that the composition and bacteriology of the milk can vary considerably, affecting the entire process. Knowing when to cut the curd also requires knowledge and experience in order to obtain the right grain size and drainage, as this is determined both by the composition of the milk and the amount of rennet used and by environmental factors such as the temperature and humidity in the cheese dairy. Filling the moulds and pressing by hand are also processes which require an exact knowledge of how much curd to put in each mould and how much pressure to apply to attain the required moisture content.

The many environmental changes that occur over the course of the year and affect the milk and the production process, as stated above, also affect the maturing of the cheeses, which means that the temperature and humidity conditions need to be constantly monitored and the cheeses need to be cleaned and turned manually to make sure that they are developing correctly. It is during this stage of production that the traditional ‘sobao’ technique is used. It is specific to this cheese and was sometimes used by local producers to clean the smear and shape the ‘Queso de Acehúche’ to give it a better market presence.

5.2.   Specificity of the product

The specific characteristics which distinguish ‘Queso de Acehúche’ from other goat’s cheeses are the result of its production exclusively from raw milk, along with its low degree of draining, which produces a paste that has a rather soft and sometimes melting texture, and its smeared and sometimes rather bulging rind, which produces a slightly putrid aroma. The ‘sobao’ technique is also specific to this cheese.

5.3.   Causal link between the geographical area and the quality or characteristics of the product

The geographical area, whose natural characteristics are set out in section 5.1, produces few resources, so the inhabitants have historically centred their economy around livestock farming, specifically goats, as they are well adapted to the geographical environment. They are reared for meat, milk and cheese production.

The variable weather conditions over the course of the year and the different types of terrain and soils support a diverse ecosystem. These specific local conditions promote the growth of the characteristic vegetation described in point 5.1.a, which is grazed by the extensively or semi-extensively farmed goat herds.

The flora of the ‘dehesa’ and the pseudo-steppe peneplains, which consists of a rich variety of species, contributes to the quality of the milk fat, due to the way in which it is digested in the rumen, resulting in short- and medium-chain fatty acids and characteristically shaping the microbiota of the milk, which is made into cheese without heat treatment.

The traditional way of producing ‘Queso de Acehúche’ also relies on the human factor. The cheese produced by the local producers is a high-moisture cheese, as less whey is drained off after the cutting of the curd, which results in a slight bulging of the sides and gives the cheese a soft texture in the mouth. The production technique used produces a smear on the rind during maturing, which gives the cheese its mildly putrid aroma. The use of the ‘sobao’ technique on cheeses during the maturing process is also an age-old practice linked to the local producers and consists of using hands wetted with water to wash the top, bottom and sides of each cheese when the rind has already started to form. This is done in order to ensure that the rind is smooth and even, with rounded edges.

Consequently, the deeply rooted and long-standing goat-farming tradition in the geographical area, which makes use of a wide variety of native plant species that grow at different times of the year and produces a unique milk, combines with the way the cheese is made, without any heat treatment by local producers using traditional skills and techniques, to produce the distinctive shape, texture, aroma and flavour characteristics that distinguish ‘Queso de Acehúche’.

Reference to publication of the specification

http://www.juntaex.es/filescms/con03/uploaded_files/SectoresTematicos/Agroalimentario/Denominacionesdeorigen/Solic_PliegoCondicionesQuesoAcehuche_.pdf


(1)  OJ L 343, 14.12.2012, p. 1.