Place of Origin
Manteca is a cheese of ancient origins typical of the province of Bari, in particular of the town of Gioia del Colle.
The name comes from the Spanish "mantequilla" which means butter. It started to be made, probably, for the need to preserve butter during warm days. The butter, in fact, enclosed inside the cheese, was isolated from the air, and thus it could be stored for a longer period.
It is a fresh and short matured cheese, white in colour with a heart of butter of yellow colour and a sweet taste. It has a pear shape, with a small head and a weight around 400 grams.
For the preparation of Manteca the milk, after being brought to temperature is mixed with calf rennet.
Once reached the correct acidity the cheese is stretched in boiling water. Later it is shaped and butter inserted into it. The cheese is then salted in brine.
Manteca is a table cheese to serve with fresh vegetables such as celery and fennel. It is very good on slices of bread or on hot toasted bread.
Before being consumed it must be left at room temperature for at least 20 minutes.
Manteca cheese pairs well with white wines such as Martina Franca Bianco DOP, Ostuni Bianco DOP or a rosé like Salice Salentino Rosato DOP.