Asiago vs. Manchego: The Best Cheese for You?

If you’re like most people, you don’t know what the difference is between Asiago and Manchego. Sure, they are both types of cheese–but what’s the difference?

And how do they taste?

This article will answer all your questions about these two cheeses.

Asiago cheese is a type of Italian cheese that has a semi-hard, smooth, slightly elastic texture. It is made from cow’s milk and has a nutty flavor. Read full description.

Manchego cheese is a type of Spanish cheese that has a semi-hard, flaky, granular texture with herringbone rind. It is made from sheep’s milk and has a balanced earthy, zesty, and also sheep’s milk aftertaste.

The Mexico-style Manchego in dispute doesn’t taste the same as the actual. It’s made of cow’s milk, milder flavor, and is more affordable.

Flavor Profile and Feature

Asiago is a swiss-style alp cheese with a creamy but slightly milder flavor than Manchego. It can be found in grocery stores in chunks or shredded form. Asiago melts good enough to be used in dishes that require melting (like lasagna). Often used as a good parmesan substitute.

Manchego is made from sheep’s milk and has a more dense flavor than Asiago when eaten alone; Therefore it’s often paired with bread, fruits, and wines, which balance the flavors and create a great combination. Manchego is bought as wheels or discs of cheese usually aged for 6 or 12 months. 

Texture

Perhaps the most notable difference between Asiago and Manchego, at first sight, is their textures.

Asiago has a similar semi-hard texture but that’s somewhat smooth and elastic (like Fontina cheese) whereas Manchego has a rather granular texture with its signature zigzag pattern.

It’s because the traditional Manchego was molded and aged in plaited (esparto grass) baskets, nowadays replaced with plastic molds embossed with that pattern.

Also, the Manchego will typically rub or cover with olive oil to soften and preserve moisture. Some producers also use paraffin wax, but the rind will be inedible.

Age

Both Asiago and Manchego are considered “young” cheeses. They are both can be aged for 2-18 months but typically sells at 2-6 months.

Production

They both produced essentially similar to most other cheeses, but the Asiago and Manchego are also using the following:

  • Raw unpasteurized milk
  • low-cooking the curds (Asiago is higher at ~47ºC; Manchego is lower at ~40ºC)
  • Pressing the curds for several hours

During low-cooking, Asiago curd is at a higher temperature of 45-49ºC whereas Manchego is at a lower temperature of 40ºC. Also, Asiago is pre-salted before curds molding and pressing, while Manchego is not.

The use of Efaecium in the starter culture of Manchego (1) is one reason why you may find a similar smell and characteristic in feta but absent in Asiago.

The Serve and Use

Asiago and Manchego are both served in similar ways or substitute each other in many recipes. They are both typically shaved or grated and used as a topping on dishes. Asiago is often used as a milder substitute for Parmesan cheese, such as in pasta dishes, pizzas, and salads.

Manchego is used in Spanish tapas. It’s best enjoyed as a table cheese with nuts like almonds, wines like Pinot Grigio or Tempranillo, any baked bread recipes, or use in a dessert. You can find many creative Manchego recipes on the web.

Nutrition

Nutrition-wise, both cheeses provide a good amount of calcium and protein. Read the nutrition benefits of Asiago. Asiago has more sodium than Manchego Murray’s, so it translates saltier.

They both also provide a considerable total fat content of 11 grams per ounce.

The Price

Manchego cheese is slightly more expensive than Asiago in the US market. Per pound of Imported Asiago is usually sold at $15-$20 per pound while the Imported Manchego is sold mostly above $20 per pound.

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