In Fuerteventura, there is a delicacy that everyone is going to recommend you try: queso majorero cheese. An exquisite cheese, with a flavor that is strong in its curado or cured varieties and mild in its tierno or tender varieties.
But where does the milk come from to make such an extraordinary cheese? Well, from an animal that you are going to find wherever you go from the island: the majorera goat. This native animal is everyone’s favorite, and it is much more important to this small archipelago than you could imagine.
When did this goat appear?
Tracing the history of goats in Fuerteventura is very complicated, especially with the majorera goat. The conquistadors arrived in the Canary Islands in the 15th century, and at that time there were already plenty of these animals.
In fact, archaeological excavations trace their history on the island, then known as Maxorata, back more than 3000 years. It has been shown that the origin of the breed is a result of the crossing of the Aborigen goat with the African breeds Nubian and Maltese. In recent years, a smaller variant, called the Costa Majorera goat, has been discovered, with a shorter and smaller head.
Goats in Fuerteventura
The majorera goat is, without a doubt, one of the symbols of this tourist destination. You will be hard-pressed to walk around the island without encountering one of these animals. Plus, in many shops you will find many souvenirs for tourists, whether in the form of figurines, pendants or paintings, in which these animals are depicted.
It is true that the majorera goat can also be found on other islands, but it is already firmly established that it is originally from Fuerteventura, where they are lovingly cared for and where they practically run the place.
On this island, they are bred exclusively for milk production, which is then used to make one of the most famous local cheeses: queso majorero cheese. This breed shares its territory with three others, the palmera goat and two tinerfeña breeds, but the majorera has the highest milk production out of the four. It is characterized by its long and slender legs, long ears and peculiar bow-shaped horns.
Its fur is very short and very soft to the touch. They require a lot of care, and they usually live on large farms and are milked once a day. In the past, the milk was collected in vessels with a wide spout known as tofios. In some areas, they still use this unusual technique to store it because they say it greatly enhances the flavor of the cheese.
Queso majorero cheese
You will find that they have this type of cheese in many restaurants, and now you know that it is made from the milk of the majorera goat. This cheese is produced in six municipalities of the island, with designation of origin since 1996.
Queso majorero cheese is prepared in small cylinders, with a rind that is molded with palm leaves. This rind is rubbed with oil, paprika or gofio, a flour made from toasted wheat or maize that is typical of the archipelago. There are both tender and cured varieties, with a flavor that has become the hallmark of the island.
You simply cannot leave the island without having tried the majorero cheese—it would be a crime and a shame. And it will be hard to find a restaurant or bar where they do not offer it in different types of dishes.