We couldn't contain ourselves any longer, and simply HAD to taste our Manchego! It's been aging for three weeks.
We sliced off the bottom inch or so of the wheel, and then cut it into little wedges. Dana and I couldn't remember exactly what store-bought Manchego tastes like, so we picked some up at Whole Foods. I was hoping to find a younger Manchego, for a more direct comparison, but apparently the foodies there only have the "good stuff." We "settled" for a 12-month Manchego, of course made from Sheep's milk.*
Doing a "blind" taste test (see above photo), we could definitely taste a difference--but they were still strikingly similar. The most notable differences were the age (ours, at three weeks, is much less mature, less robust) and the type of milk. When compared side-by-side, we could definitely taste the difference of the cow's milk vs. the sheep's milk, particularly in the aftertaste.
Overall, however, ours really did taste like Manchego! It had good texture, was somewhat creamy, and maybe a little drier than the one from Spain.
So, for this particular batch, we need to let the rest age for another 11 months, and taste it again! But I don't think we'll wait that long...
* We also "settled" on some Quince Paste to go with the Manchego. It was a tough call between the Quince Paste and the Fig Spread, but cooler heads prevailed. MMMmmmm!