Description of the Reference Region
The Cordilheira Central is a longitudinally oriented (northeast-southwest) mountain range in the centre of the Iberian Peninsula. In Portugal, its highest point is the Serra da Estrela (1993 m).
The delimited Reference Region includes forests, transitional forests/shrubs, sclerophyllous vegetation, natural grasslands and heterogeneous agricultural areas. Grasslands, alone or in mosaic, are the most represented land systems in this region and constitute an essential resource for the value chain.
Selected Value Chain
The selected value chain (VC) is Serra da Estrela Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) cheese, a traditional sheep’s milk cheese made locally. It is developed from traditional knowledge on cheese manufacture techniques, using only milk from two autochthonous sheep breeds (Bordaleira da Serra da Estrela and Churra Mondegueira), thistle flower (Cynara cardunculus) and salt.
This cheese is characteristic of the region where it is produced and is highly connected to land use. Currently, in the geographical production area of Serra da Estrela PDO cheese, there are 27 small to medium PDO cheese production plants, about 125 dairy farms producing Bordaleira da Serra da Estrela or Churra Mondegueira milk, and a cheese producers cooperative (EstrelaCoop).
Multi-Actor Platform (MAP) members
The platform is involving actors from diverse areas of activity, directly or indirectly linked to the Serra da Estrela PDO cheese VC: shepherds of the Bordaleira da Serra da Estrela sheep breed, associations of commons, cheesemakers, nature tourism agents and representatives of the PDO cheese producers’ cooperative and public bodies.