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Portuguese Cheeses on Stamps

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This set of postage stamps is dedicated to the different sorts of cheese produced in Portugal.

Cheese is perhaps the oldest man made processed food. After that hunting, fishing and fruit and vegetable collecting times were bygone, and after man had learned to master the secret of fire, Cheese appeared. Historic documents place its genesis in the valley between two rivers and in Egypt, around 3 500 B.C. In Portugal, cheese has certainly been produced since Neolithic times.

Cheese making, whichever the cheese, is an art. At least that is the case with hand-made cheese, intuitively worked by experienced hands, where knowledge is passed down from the mother to the shepherd's daughter who attentively follows every details: The temperature of the hand, the curdling time, the turning of the cheeses and the changing of the bands, the pastures of broom or other graminaceous plants of the higher lands which greatly influence the flavour of the final product.

As a tribute to the shepherds, to their wives and to all the people who still work in the traditional Portuguese cheese-dairies, the Portuguese Post has released this commemorative stamp issue, made up of two series, portraying all the Lusitanian cheeses with POD and geographical indication (GI), leaving the description of the cheeses to Master Jose Quiterio.

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