Cheese heaven in Madrid

by mary on October 14, 2012

Great cheese is not so easy to find in Spain. There often isn’t much variety, only variations on Manchego, and even the quality of the Manchego can vary greatly. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t spectacular cheese being produced out there, just that the great cheeses of Spain are not appreciated as much as they deserve. Artesanal cheese stores such as Poncelet have long offered these great cheeses but now diners can now enjoy the first cheese specialty restaurant in Madrid: Poncelet’s Cheese Bar.

It’s a far more elegant establishment than the name would suggest, though there is a sort of bar space up front, and there is an actual “cheese bar” way in the back, where you can watch the staff preparing the cheese plates. The service is very very good and in line with the fairly high prices for Madrid.

There is a regular menu, with all sort of dishes based on cheese, starters, soups, salads, tartars, pastas, as well as main courses. It also includes a fun selection of fondues and raclettes. We tried quite a few of the starters and they were all quite good….in fact, it was hard to resist ordering too much, as we were really there for the cheese plates.

The impressive selection of cheese, all aged in special rooms on site, is well over a hundred, and hails from all over Europe. There are thematic cheese plates, but you can also customize yours…..the menu lists all the cheeses, with all the relevant details, provenance, aging, type of milk, strength, necessary to help you choose. It’s heaven….and oh so hard to choose! In the pictures you can see the all-Spanish plate I assembled, with some of my favorites such as Monte Enebro and Valdeon.

The wine list is lovely, heavy on whites, sparkling, fortified and sweet wines, perfect for cheese matching. We had the Louro do Bolo Godello from Valdeorras….really fresh acidity, stone fruit, a touch of oak smoke, mouth-filling….perfect with most of our cheeses. The wine list varies in price, can be high, but the wines they offer by the glass, are also well priced by the bottle.

Love this place! If you love cheese and want to taste the best Spanish cheeses with some great wine in a top notch place, there is nowhere better than Cheese Bar in Madrid.

 

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