If you had a blast armchair traveling with us last week as we visited Madrid’s drool-worthy Do Design home décor boutique, and if you can’t think of a snack more divine than a wedge of fromage and a glass of wine, and if you’re ready for another bite of Euro fabulousness, you’re going to love our next stop in Spain. This amazing space is Quesería Conde Duque, a spare, beautifully presented cheese shop in the center of Madrid that specializes in small-batch, flavor-packed, unforgettable artisanal cheeses.
Founded by Rubén Valbuena and Álvaro Corral, Quesería Conde Duque is so serious about its artisanal approach, it not only lists the type of cheese, region, and dairy on its placards, but also trumpets the names of the individual makers themselves. And since the owners have forged partnerships directly with the dairies, thus eliminating middlemen and distributors, the prices are very reasonable for handmade, carefully crafted cheeses.
Quesería Conde Duque represents about 20 cheesemakers and specializes in Spanish cheeses, with a few from England, Holland, Italy, and France tossed into the mix. We found beautifully crafted, well-known varieties like Brie, Reblochon, Cheddar, and Manchego, as well as more obscure (to American audiences, at least) Spanish specialties such as Puigpedrós, Pasiego, and Cebreiro. For about $35, we walked away with almost 3 pounds of cheese: a wheel of aromatic Puigpedrós, plus wedges of sharp Comte, smooth and creamy Pasiego, and the sweetest, nuttiest Parmiagano-Reggiano we’ve ever tasted. Add some flatbread crackers and slices of membrillo (quince paste), and we’ll be snacking happy for several months, thankyouverymuch.
Quesería Conde Duque also has a classroom in back where they offer workshops and tastings, so if you’re headed to Madrid, make sure you follow them on Twitter to get the latest scoop on special events and limited-time-only cheeses. And if you’re now hankering for a hunk of cheese, check out our recipes for all-grown-up Edamame Pesto & Vine Tomatoes Grilled Cheese and Herbed Goat Cheese, Fig, and Cucumber Sandwiches.