Mantequilla de l'Alt Urgell y la Cerdanya PDO
Butter produced in the Alt Urgell and la Cerdanya districts (Catalonia) from pasteurized cows’ milk.
Intense overall flavor and aroma on entry. Fine, smooth, slightly acid flavor reminiscent of hazelnut, the result of the natural fatty acids in the fresh cream and of the diacetyl formed after the long ripening of the cream by the action of specific lactic starters.
Solid and smooth in consistency, it is very easy to spread, melts quickly and does not stick to the palate. The color is an even bright yellow which varies depending on the time of year because of its high natural carotenoid content (pro-vitamin A).
Production / Processing method
The milk is first skimmed and the cream obtained is pasteurized and finally any air is removed.
The pasteurized cream is then cooled so that the ripening phase can begin by the action of specific mesophyllic (acidifying and aromatizing), heterofermentative, lactic starters, comprising Streptococcus lactis, Streptococcus diacelylactis and Leunostoc citrovorum.
The process of incubation and growth of these lactic bacteria begins with the preparation of the medium in which they are to develop, namely, cows’ milk from L’Alt Urgell and La Cerdanya. This process takes place for 20 hours at 22º C. After this period, acidity is checked to ensure it is between 80 and 100ºDornic, to prove that growth has been correct. The cream is then inoculated, at a proportion of 2-3% of starter for every 100 liters of cream.
This process takes place at a temperature of 16-18ºC during 48 hours, to give the right degree of ripening and acidity of 40 to 50º Dornic. The use of colorants or any other additive is strictly prohibited, as is the presence of any residue of antibiotics or fermentation inhibitors.
The cream is then beaten to the right grain size, that of a standard grain of rice. After draining off the buttermilk, the butter grains are washed, then worked to give a compact block of butter, ready for packing.
Geography / Relief and climate
These are two districts in the north-east of Spain, to the south of the east-central Pyrenees. They are protected by the Cadí and Pyrenees mountains and are linked by the Segre river basin.
The strip they form comprises a considerable number of valleys at medium and high altitudes, with streams and rivers leading to the Segre and its tributaries, the largest of which is the Valira, which links them with the Andorra basin.
The predominant climate is mountainous sub-Mediterranean, which is relatively cold and dry, with clear skies and plenty of sunshine. These natural conditions are ideal for the plant species growing on the pasturelands which serve as animal feed.The climate is dry and cold in winter, rainy in spring, hot and dry in summer and mildly wet in autumn.
The cows whose milk is used to make this butter mainly eat forage, which accounts for about 70% of their daily feed. The forage comes from the production area itself, and is fed to the cows fresh, as hay and as silage. The forage mostly comes from natural meadows where the grass is first cut in late April when its quality is at its best, being flowering time for cocksfoot, fescue, bromegrass, ryegrass, and other Gramineae.
This first crop is usually made into silage to preserve its excellent nutritional qualities. Subsequent crops are usually turned into high-quality hay, made possible by the good climate. During the summer, the animals graze on growing, preferably young, grass on parts of the natural meadows whilst the quality is optimal.In the south of the L' Alt Urgell district, the feed is mostly maize silage, although there is also alfalfa, which is used for hay.
The remaining 30% of the cattle feed comprises barley, wheat, maize, etc., most of which are grown in the south of L’Alt Urgell and in the sunnier parts of La Cerdanya.The quality and specific characteristics of this butter are mainly due to the region’s flora and natural vegetation, as well as careful production.
Consejo Regulador de la DOP Mantequilla de l' Alt Urgell y la Cerdanya
C/ Sant Ermengol, 37
25700 La Seu D'Urgell (Lleida)
Tel: (+34) 973 350 025
- Spanish Ministry of Agriculture
Intense overall flavor and aroma on entry. Solid and smooth in consistency, it is very easy to spread, melts quickly and does not stick to the palate.