Buy Portuguese cheese for Christmas. This is the appeal from the country’s cheese producers today who have seen the effects of the pandemic decimate habitual sales.
In a year when production has been high, customers have reduced by as much as 70%, largely due to the prohibition on fairs and markets as well as the nationwide restrictions on mobility. Say regional producers, the situation now is “dramatic”.
Thus the appeal, buy regional cheeses with the ‘seal of origin’ for presents: they’re authentic, delicious, the ‘best you can buy’ in Portugal and they will help family businesses that otherwise are looking at the future with trepidation.
Explained Luís Ferreira of the Estrelacoop cooperative that sells the cheese of around 100 family concerns in the Serra da Estrela, the lack of customers this year has meant that supplies have ‘piled up’ in warehouses to the point that there is now nowhere left to put any new produce.
Yet goats and sheep “don’t do isolation”. They’re out in all weathers and their owners have no option but to continue making cheese.
“We need the Portuguese people to help us and let Serra da Estrela cheese be the star of Christmas”, he told Expresso. “If everyone ate just a little bit of cheese it would help a lot of us…”