The beginning

History and tradition

History and tradition

The history of cheese-making on the island goes back a very long time, including prehistory, according to archeological finds of ceramic tools used for its production and dating back to 3,000 B.C. There exists documentation written in the 5th century A.D. that refers to cheese consumption on the Island. There also exist Arabic documents dating back to the year 1,000 that praise the excellence of Menorcan cheese.

Exports of the cheese were already significant in the 13th century.  However, it was during the British domination that a considerable boost was given with the origin of the name Mahón, the name of the port from where it was shipped. In 1985 it obtained its Protected Guarantee of Origin and Quality and a regulatory council was formed.

Subsequently in 1997 the protected name was extended to the present  "Mahón-Menorca".

The "formatjat" or production process of Mahón-Menorca cheese has remained unchanged for a very long time in all the Menorcan "llocs" (farm-houses) where very old practices have been followed. Overall it is determined by a series of procedures that have been handed down from father to son and the correct application of these procedures define and are the source of authentic Mahón-Menorca cheese. Recently, some advisable modifications have been incorporated as a result of technological advances. The maturing process of Mahón-Menorca cheese is carried out in the maturing cellars, where the cheese is subjected to the traditional rind treatment, consisting of a series of turning the forms over and spreading oil and/or pepper over the forms.